Does your heart go pitter patter every time you see a tiny creature? Maybe your internal clock is ticking (loudly)? If you dream of caring for a little critter, but a baby (or even a puppy or a kitten) seems like too much work, try a tree. Some people find that arboreal bonds can be quite strong.
There are quite a few ways to adopt trees these days. Adoption options vary from the absentee parent type, where you hand over a check and go on with your business, to full-on parental responsibility for watering and care. Here a few of my favorite programs:
• Keep it easy. Adoption programs like this one in Thousand Oaks let you write a check, and if you give enough you can even get your picture with your adopted tree. It's a low risk sort of thing you can just feel good about.
• You could try a 'you give and you get' program, like this one in Italy which allows you adopt an olive tree and get olive oil in return.
• Slightly deeper on the commitment scale is something like this living christmas tree program. This is more along the lines of being a parent who doesn't have custody — except for holidays. Your adopted tree comes to visit every December for about 7 years before your tree has to spread his or her own wings and leave the comfort of the nursery. (I.e., It gets too big and has to go establish its own forever home.)
• The most nurturing and involved prospective tree parents should look to programs like Greenovate Boston or NYC parks stewardship. When you adopt your baby tree (aka sapling), you are committing to water it, clean up after it, and nurture it until it becomes established. The organizations behind these programs help to guide you through parenthood, and some even give points and rewards for doing a good job (too bad that doesn't exist for human babies and puppies!). You can even have a chance to meet other tree-parents, or if you are available, you can provide a little extra TreeLC to young-uns in needs. The options are endless.