Out in the Open

When you're childless by choice, you are looked at as a 'couple' and not a 'family'

Cami Uchoa and her husband are childless by choice. But they consider themselves a family that includes their dog, Ty, of course.
Mike, Ty and Cami (Courtesy of Cami Uchoa)

Cami Uchoa is one part of a three-part family. The second part is her husband, Michael. The third is their dog, Ty.

But Cami says no one ever refers to her family as a family.

"I don't think anybody on this planet thinks it's a family. People refer to Mike and I as a couple. And whenever they see me, they don't say 'Hey, how's your family?' It's more like 'Hey, how's Mike?'"

When she tells people she's going home to her family, people wonder if she has kids.

​"I don't think it's judgement at all, it's just convention, if you will. I think it's what people are used to. And then, the second I present a different, you know, definition of family, it sounds really weird. Especially when I explain there is a dog involved in the family."

To Cami, a family is what you want it to be. 

"It doesn't matter to me exactly how you define it.

"It doesn't have to be, you know, two people and kids...I think that's a little bit what used to be a very conservative way to think about family. But you know, I think it's okay to redefine those things. So, even if we didn't have the dog, we happen to have the dog, but even if we didn't —Michael and I are still family."

Cami says people don't have to understand her definition of family, she just asks that people respect it. 

"I wish, in general, people would understand when certain things are important to others and respect that."

This story originally aired on September 17, 2017. It appears in the Out in the Open episode "Modern Family".