Note from the editor: Suey and Christina have a beautiful little girl who’s a part of the foster care system and in accordance to the rules for foster care in NY her face cannot be shown.
TNF: How did you start your family?
SUEY: When we met just under 5 years ago, one of the first conversations we had was about children. We both knew that we wanted kids, and we both knew that we wanted to carry AND adopt. So after a few years of being together, we decided we were ready to start trying. We went to a fertility clinic and got everything sorted out, and after 7 IUI’s at the clinic with an anonymous donor, 3 tries at home with a known donor, and finally a round of IVF later (16 months total), we were pregnant with twins! We truly became parents the first time we welcomed a 6 year old little girl into our home through foster care, and hopefully we will be adopting her in the near future. That was about 3 months before we found out Christina was pregnant.
TNF: Did you always want to have kids?
CHRISTINA: That’s all I’ve ever really wanted. I’ve known from a really young age that I wanted to be a mother. I used to love playing with other people’s babies when we were at the park. I’ve had baby sitting jobs since I was 10. Then I worked as the director of a childcare center for 15 years, so being surrounded by children is something that I’m very familiar and comfortable with.
SUEY: NO! I did not always want kids! I thought they were cute and sweet and fun, but the best part was giving them back at the end of the day. I also worked in daycare and that was enough interacting with kids for me, but that started changing as I found myself in a significant relationship and wanting to take our love to the next level, so it definitely was different after that.
TNF: How has marriage equality affected you (if at all)?
SUEY: We’re really fortunate to live in a state that supports same sex marriage. We got married about 2 months before our boys were born. Christina was 26 weeks along and VERY pregnant. I was concerned that the boys would come any day (she had a complicated pregnancy) and I would not legally be recognized as the other parent and not be able to make important choices should things not go according to plan. So we went to City Hall, filed our paperwork, and had a judge come to our home to marry us. Good thing, because the boys came a month early, and before we left the hospital, we filled out all of the required paperwork, and 2 weeks later, we picked up birth certificates with both of our names on it. Thanks to marriage equality in NY (where we live) and CT (where Christina gave birth) we are both legally recognized as Levi and Noah’s moms.
TNF: Where do you live?
SUEY: We live in the city of New Rochelle, which is about 30 minutes north of New York City. It’s where Christina grew up. We actually live about 3 buildings over from where she lived as a kid. Her parents still live there! It’s great having them so close. New Rochelle has some of the best schools in the country AND it’s a really diverse community. We really love it l, and love raising our kids here.
TNF: What is the greatest (and the toughest) thing about being a parent?
CHRISTINA: There are so many things! I think just watching them learn and grow is the greatest part. Even with twins, watching each of them develop to be their own person, watching them flourish, that’s the best thing. The worst thing is the sleepless nights. The exhaustion is debilitating sometimes. And it’s not just with the twins, it’s also worries and fears about our daughter, and the things that she will face and have to deal with in life because of being in foster care and adopted. Those sorts of things keep me up at night. There’s a lot of worrying when you have kids.
SUEY: The best thing to me about being a parent, especially a non-gestational parent, is seeing myself in my kids. The little things like how they sleep, or the sprinkle of freckles on their cheeks, the sound of their laughter being similar to mine. Our daughter, she’s fearless! She’s an adrenaline junkie! That’s just like me! It’s nice to know that sometimes it’s totally nurture and not nature. Oh, and kisses! Lots and lots of kiddie kisses! The worst part is having limited time to spend with my wife. Sometimes, I wish we had a few more minutes to cuddle, or to be able to sleep in on Saturday morning and have breakfast in bed. Sometimes, I’m surprised by how much I miss her even though we haven’t spent more than 10 hours apart in the year and half since we’ve been parents. We’re lucky that we have a great “village” who help is care for our three kids, so every once in a while we get time just for us, but I wish there was more of it. That’s definitely the hardest part for me.
TNF: Does your family feel adversity?
SUEY: We haven’t experienced any yet. Most of the time when we go out as a family, we are greeted with smiles and attention and questions. We don’t mind the questions, because most people don’t say things or ask questions to be offensive, they’re just curious. We don’t mind educating people a little on the dynamics of our family. There are some things we don’t really get into, but for the most part, when we walk by, babies in carriers, our daughter in the middle of us holding our hands, we get smiles and “What a beautiful family” almost every time.
TNF: Do you have any advice for LGBTQ youth?
SUEY: Not to sound cliche, but follow your heart. Don’t let other people’s ignorance and intolerance become the reason that you don’t live your life to its fullest. The truth is, you only have one life to live, so you better make it count. Be true to yourself, be happy with yourself, be kind to yourself.
TNF: What’s one life lesson you want to teach your children?
SUEY: We both agree that being kind to others is one of the most important things our children, and any child really, can learn. Being kind is easy. We follow the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. We all want to be respected and loved and treated fairly. The world would be a much better place if more people followed this one simple rule. We feel like we are doing our part, raising kind kids who care about others. Hopefully, it will ripple out into the world…
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us!