Rebekah Henson

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I am a consultant and subject matter expert on families formed by adoption, the experience of being adopted, social justice issues in adoption and child welfare, and the global movement for adoptee rights. My experiences growing up as an adopted child shaped me into an avid public educator about the under-acknowledged, underreported marginalizations adopted people experience throughout our lives—including health care disparities, legal inequalities, and toxic cultural stereotypes.

I actively advise adopted people, adoptive parents, and hopeful adoptive parents in virtual support groups; raise public awareness for adoptee rights and justice issues that have very little visibility; and independently research and write about the history and cultural attitudes that have shaped adoption policies and practices over the past century. I am especially interested in how the language we use to talk about adoption shapes cultural perceptions, misconceptions, and prejudices towards adoption triad members—adopted people most especially.

If there's one thing that being adopted has taught me, it's that the experience of family doesn't have the strict definitions or artificial boundaries that Western culture likes to suggest. My family extends beyond legal definitions, shared experiences, and shared DNA, and if more people understood that, I believe it could improve child welfare and adoption policy for so many families and children.

Recent Quotes
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  • “When we talk about women ‘choosing’ adoption, what we’re really talking about is a woman choosing between raising her own child or giving [them] away permanently so she can survive. No one should ever be in a position where they need to make a choice like that, and it’s absolutely unconscionable to me that we so blithely allow it to continue.” —The Nation, Dec. 7, 2021

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