Community

VillageQ Community: Creating Family through Adoption

Next up in our VillageQ community, let’s meet Crystal.  There is so much to like about this interview! Beyond the overwhelming love she has for her family which exudes through the text, this may be my favorite adoption day story.  

To participate in our series, please email clare@villageq.com for more information. 


Photo Credit:  Tiny Lights Foundation

Photo Credit: Tiny Lights Foundation

Name: Crystal

Age: 36

Hometown: Toronto

Social media handles: Facebook, TwitterInstagram
Number and ages of kids: 1 – 4 year old Lily (adopted); currently working towards adopting again
Number (and type) of pets: 1 – puppy Lola, a french bulldog/boston terrier
Day job: Community Recreation Programmer
Relationship status: Married
Favorite children’s book: This is too hard! For me personally, Anne of Green Gables and A Pocket For Corduroy; for Lily – And Tango Makes Three, Guess How Much I Love You,
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Chocolate Peanut Butter
How did you create your family?
My wife and I have chosen to build our family through adoption.  I had struggled with infertility/incompetent cervix previously and my wife has no desire to carry a child, so adoption was a perfect fit for us. Our daughter Lily was adopted through Toronto CAS in 2011 and we have an open adoption with her birth parents, which has been an incredible learning experience for all of us and has really taught us that more love is always better. We are currently working with Toronto CAS to update our homestudy in order to bring a sibling (or two) home. We would love for our family to get much bigger.
What challenges have you faced as a queer family and how did you overcome them?
We’ve been lucky enough to not face any true hardships around family make-up, but we have noticed that with a child, and especially one with Down syndrome and many medical issues, we do feel like we are constantly coming out, that each time we meet a new support person/therapist/doctor, we have to start the conversation explaining that we are both Lily’s parents, as opposed to a mom and just this random person who comes to all of our appointments. It’s never a question that a hetero couple would be asked – if anything, people just assume that if a man and woman are in the appointment together that they’re both parents, but it’s an explanation we always have to give. We just try to deal with it with humour and patience – it very rarely is coming from a place of anything negative, and once people understand it never comes up again, and often they’re embarassed that they didn’t figure it out themselves, so humour and kindness ususally goes a long way.
How do you keep the love alive?
We learned quickly after adopting Lily that in order for our relationship to survive, let alone thrive, that we would have to make an effort to focus on each other. Parenting a child with special needs can take a lot of energy somedays and it’s easy to allow that to become the focus of your world. We try to spend most nights together and limit the number of nights that we’re out doing other things so that we have that time together. We also arrange sitters or sleepover dates so that we can have some actual alone time together, even if we do nothing else but enjoy the silence.
Who else provides childcare? It takes a village. Who’s in yours?
We have an incredible group of people around us to support our family – immediate family, friends, extended family. It can be hard to have other people provide childcare because of Lily’s special needs; she is currently dependent on a feeding tube and that can be a bit overwhelming for people to deal with, but people have also been very eager to learn in order to give us that extra support. We have a close family friend who is our go-to woman anytime that we need an extra set of hands – if Lily is sick, or we need time away, she’s the first person to show up and take over for a bit. And beyond that, our “Lily” family is also made up of therapists and teachers who have been with us since Lily first came home; they’ve celebrated her milestones, been a source of comfort when it’s been harder and always make us laugh.
Describe your favorite family moment. 
The day that we finalized Lily’s adoption was the most incredible day of our lives. We had our closest friends and family around us and the air was filled with excitement; I didn’t think that anything could top it. When we walked into the courtroom though, the judge surprised us. He started by telling us that this particular day was special for him too, as he was actually the judge who was there the day that Lily’s birth parents had chosen to terminate their parental rights. He said that, so often, he only gets to see the sad parts of these types of stories, but today he got to see the happy ending.  It just made the day perfect.
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2 Comments

  1. Crystal— thank you so much for sharing your beautiful family with us!

  2. Good luck with the process the second time around! Hope you’ll be coming back to tell us great news about Lily’s sibling!!

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