Henry Tells His Adoption Story

When I was very little my father died, and my mother turned me over to a family who put me to work.  I got up at dawn and picked vegetables, pulling a donkey in the hot sun.  I lived in poverty, surrounded by drugs and alcohol and violence.  So one day I ran away, and I was placed in a foster home.  That’s when I first went to school.  A teacher told me that the only way I could succeed was through education.  But I knew that would never happen in Colombia.  Being an orphan, I would be on my own at 16 – and then what?  You don’t want to know.

Kidsave came to my rescue when I was chosen for the Summer Miracles program!  That summer I started building a relationship with my host, Rick.  By the end of the summer, I was sobbing that I wanted to stay in America. Henry

Back in Colombia, I waited.  One day Rick called and asked me if I wanted to be adopted.  I said “yes,” but I didn’t really believe it would happen.  Then Rick came to visit me – this meant it was for real, he was going to be my dad.  And he is.

The transition has sometimes been rough.  I did not have any love in my life and then suddenly, like a light switch, I did.  I have great friends, family, wonderful teachers and coaches.  I have determination and dreams, and a scholarship to a great school.  I try not to think about the past, but sometimes it sneaks up.

Last year I went to a student leadership conference in Texas, and something amazing happened on the last day.  A kid spoke about being thankful to our parents, and something hit me.  I got up in front of everybody and found myself saying that I forgive my mother for giving me away — she did it because she wanted a better future for me.  And that’s what I’ve got.  I’ll always be grateful to her.  To all my parents.

View a video of Henry speaking at a Kidsave Event about his adoption story:  VIDEO