We’ve been omitting Crystal from her own narrative long before this year’s State of the Union address.

(Photo by Steinar Engeland)

Her name is Crystal. She is 35 years old. In December, she was homeless and addicted to heroin. She was also 8 months pregnant. “I know what a horrible person I am and what a horrible situation I’m in,” she told the CNN reporter. She also recalled a song her parents used to sing to her:

“I’m Crystal. I’m adopted. I’m loved, loved, loved.”

That’s all we know about her. That’s the only part of her story the reporter and his editor chose to tell. Police Officer Ryan Holets and his wife are the real focus of this narrative—the badge…

Because helping kids begins with supporting their families.

(Photo by Larm Rmah)

A desire to adopt is often born from a desire to help vulnerable children. But did you know that most vulnerable children in developing countries already have a family? A family that can care for them if connected with the right resources.

I was adopted as an infant, but I had a mother who wanted to take care of me herself. She just needed some help from her family and community. About one percent of single mothers in the U.S. find themselves in a similar reality each year.

Worldwide, hunger, poverty, and a lack of economic resources lead families to…

“Why would you ever want to meet the people who rejected you?”

(Photo by Emily Morter)

There are certain narratives our culture likes to tell about adoption. Adoption is salvation from a terrible past, for instance. Adoption is a win-win fix for abortion. Adoption is a gift for infertile couples. Adoption rescues unwanted kids. Adoption is love, and love is all that matters.

Hi. I’m someone who’s adopted. And I’m here to tell you that cultural narratives don’t always match reality.

These are some of the things people have said to me because they only understand adoption through the narrow lens of movies, tv shows, and national news stories that over-represent the dramatic sides of adoption…

I only told my story because my mom shared hers first.

(Photo by Caleb Woods)

I didn’t tell anyone my story until I was 16, because that’s when my mother told me hers.

We were canning applesauce in our kitchen, our annual fall tradition. While I reduced a pot of apples and cinnamon on the stove, we discussed a strange piece of mail that arrived that day—a change of address notification from my third grade teacher.

He was a weird man, quiet, portly, and lonely. His family lived in Indiana. He lived by himself in a rented house in South Jersey. …

I wasn’t a parentless orphan. Neither are many other adoptees.

(Photo by Kai Pilger)

Yesterday was Orphan Sunday, a day when churches across the country turn their attention to orphan care, nurturing efforts to adopt the world’s children who need homes and families.

I grew up in the evangelical church, and while none of the congregations we belonged to observed Orphan Sunday, I became a point of interest for many church people when they heard I was adopted. Suddenly I wasn’t a person anymore; instead, I was a living, breathing metaphor of God’s redemptive salvation.

“How sad to be abandoned,” they’d say, “but how beautiful to be saved by your wonderful parents! …

It’s time to clear up some emotionally-charged rhetoric.

(Photo by Jimi Filipovski)

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month, and for the past week or so, there’s been a lot of buzz about the GOP potentially eliminating the adoption tax credit.

As an adopted person, I really need to clear up a lot of emotionally-charged rhetoric and straight-up wrong assumptions that have been circulating in news stories about this—namely, the idea that private infant adoption, international adoption, and adoption from foster care are all the same thing.

First, the original purpose of the adoption tax credit was not to fund private or international adoptions, but to encourage more people to adopt from foster care

Rebekah Henson

My story isn't just my own. Here are the voices of my 6 siblings on how separation by adoption feels: http://bit.ly/1GX6RDg. Personal website: bekhenson.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store