Cris Beam was a high school English teacher in 2000, when a former student came to her desperate for a place to stay. The student, Christina, had moved to a different school where other students threatened to kill her when they found out she was transgender.
Beam let Christina stay on her couch for a couple of nights, which led to Beam’s becoming her foster parent and eventually adopting her. This summer, Christina turned 30.
“I don’t think I’m old enough to have delivered a baby girl who could hit such a milestone,” Beam wrote in The New York Times. “In my case, it’s true: I’m only 41. I didn’t give birth to my daughter. I became her mother when I was 28 and she was 17. Call it an unplanned delivery, very late term. Christina was one of the 135,000-plus teenagers nationwide in foster care, most of whom are abandoned when they age out of the system between 18 and 21.”