At 15 years old, Crystalanne had given up on family.
In the five years since her mother delivered her to a hospital saying she could no longer care for her, Crystalanne had been moved through a series of foster homes, group homes, treatment facilities, crisis homes, and hospitals. She believed the worst: that she would never have a family again.
Until a family in Texas spotted her profile on adoptuskids.org, and everything changed.
Crystalanne describes the transformational experience of finding her adoptive family and having the adoption legalized on her 17th birthday below.
Were you surprised when you learned that a family from another state was interested in adopting you?
My first thought was: They picked me, out of all those kids? They saw my file and they still chose me?
After all of those years in care I had a pretty big file that was full of descriptions of bad behaviors. The kind of things that would scare people away. But they saw that behavior was not me. It was me reacting to hurt and the pain I felt. I was starved for love.
What was it like getting to know your future parents, Kim and Lori?
I was living in Oregon, and Kim and Lori were in Texas. We didn’t meet in person for a while. We got to know each other the old fashioned way—by writing letters.
In the best letter I ever got—I still have it—Kim said, “I believe in you, Crystalanne.” I was jumping up and down when I read it. No one had ever said that to me before.
We had our first phone call on my sixteenth birthday. Kim and Lori flew to Oregon and for a visit at my group home two months later. That first meeting was magical, like a movie but more. We were so happy to be together.
You were adopted on your 17th birthday, in June of 2015. What has your life been like since then?
I didn’t really know what adoption meant until that day. Would it just be signing a paper? But now I know. Being adopted means not worrying about where I will go next. It means having someone who will help me learn all of the things I don’t know yet. It means having hope again.
Other people grow up with people to call their own. I finally know how that feels.
What would you say to people thinking about adopting a teen?
Teenagers are kids too! We need homes, love, patience. Don’t overlook us because of our age, or the labels that someone else has put on us. All we want is the love that we should have been given our whole lives.