Crystal King: Fostering special needs infants
Crystal King is one of those people who lives and breathes compassion for others. A foster mom for special needs infants, she provided love and care in her home for over 35 children over the years.
It was a youth group leader from her middle school days that inspired her to help vulnerable children. After seeing this mentor foster pregnant teens and their babies, Crystal knew from an early age that she would help the world in a similar way and she began fostering in 2003. When the first baby placed with her ended up in the hospital for nine days, she found herself in the trenches learning what it means to care for a child whose mom had abused drugs during pregnancy.
One of the many things that made Crystal a good foster mom was her ability to form cooperative relationships with birth parents. She says she would always tell biological parents “I am honored and privileged to take care of your child for as long as needed.”
Not only was it important for the kids to see a united front, but by being kind and open to the parents, she was able to pick up on information that ultimately helped the children she was caring for.
Crystal and her husband Cory had two children at the time they began fostering – Brendon and Ashlyn. Little did they know that when a medically fragile infant was moved from Pueblo to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, their family would grow.
“Nobody had come to see him by the time he was 11 days old…” she said about Triston, her 32nd foster placement. “My husband and I never really talked about it but we fell in love with him.”
Just a year later, the couple received a phone call that Triston’s sister had been born.
“They said she wasn’t gonna make it and I said I’ll be there any second… So I would go home, put my kids to bed, drive back to Pueblo and sleep with her in my arms.”
In 2006, Crystal and Cory adopted both Triston and Kaitlyn.
“My kids are awesome. People always say ‘You’re such a blessing,’ but you have no idea how cool it is to be on the receiving end of the adoption.”
Crystal has taken a couple years off from foster care and is now serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in El Paso County who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. She’s currently on her second case and is helping the courts figure out the best placement options for a sibling pair that have been victims of domestic violence.
As if CASA and being mom to four kiddos of her own doesn’t keep her busy enough, Crystal also runs an in-home daycare.
How does she do it all?
“The one person that deserves a lot of the credit is my fabulous husband,” she said. “He’s a total team player and is always supportive. I couldn’t do any of it without him.”