Embracing Liminal Identity : Uncovering Hidden Diversity : Celebrating Cultural Mobility

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The Importance of Family. Part III of III — Spotlight: Marnie Benson and the Beauty of Adoption

Family. One word. Six letters. Many stories. As talked about in Part I and II of this three-part series, diversity and family bring many people together. In Part I, Lia Nelson-James’ story highlighted the cultural aspect and traditions of the family. Part II featured Smoochie Setzke’s diversity growing up as well as commentary on raising her children. Now is the time to shed light on the life of Marnie Benson and her family.

Marnie Benson, her daughter, and birth mother. Photo rights: Marnie Benson.

Marnie Benson, wife and mother, lives in Northern Colorado. She and her husband are both white and were born and raised by lower-middle-class families in Southern California. Her parents had her in their late teens and early 20s. And despite the hardships, they worked very hard to provide for their daughter.

“They instilled a good work ethic and self-reliance,” Benson said about her parents.

Like Setzke, Benson had to work hard to make money and become the person she is today. What makes Benson and her husband stand out though, is the fact that they have an adopted daughter. As previously stated, she and her husband are both white, but their adopted daughter is African-American. At first glance, people always have many questions for them as to why or how this could be. I asked her what her favorite thing to tell people about herself is. She replied, “My favorite thing would be about our wonderful open adoption. I enjoy shedding light on the beauty of open adoption. We chose to pursue open adoption because we felt the open relationship was the healthiest for all three parties.” By this she means, they still maintain a relationship with their daughter’s birthmother, and she remains very happy and grateful that they chose to do it that way.

“They instilled a good work ethic and self-reliance.”

With the importance of family being the topic of this series, this story is just about to get better. With open adoption, the Benson couple was chosen by the birth parents of their daughter. They communicated with each other before their daughter was born, and met the day of her birth. Their daughter’s birth mother was already parenting her three-year-old son, so she knew the love and responsibility that came with being a parent. Therefore, she decided to give her daughter up for adoption. Benson said, “she wanted both children to thrive, so she felt that placing our daughter with us was the most loving decision. We are forever grateful for her maturity at such a young age.” She did not give her up because she did not want her, she gave her up because she wanted her to live the life she deserves, which is exactly what she is doing with the Bensons. The Bensons have been blessed with creating a family with their daughter, but have also formed a close and special bond with her birth mom. In a way, they have gained a new family beyond just their daughter, which they will be forever grateful for.

“We are forever grateful for her maturity at such a young age.”

Marnie Benson, her husband, and their daughter have such an amazing life ahead of them. They have wholeheartedly accepted their daughter into their world along with her biological family. This right here, shows how special family bonds are and that even if you are a different color in the midst of the same, you belong and always will.

Benson family. Photo courtesy of: Marnie Benson.

By: Aidan Loughran

Aidan Loughran studied Liberal Arts and Communication Studies at Colorado State University. She has a strong passion for the world and the people that surround her each and every day. When writing for Culturs, she wants her readers to believe in everything she writes as well as relate to it. She writes with passion for the world, cultures, and life in general. Third-culture kids along with all other individuals of unique ethnicity, race, culture, and tradition all have a story to tell - a story that she wants to be a part of.