The last step

Junior changes his last name to match his adoptive family


Photo provided by Dylan Benson

Benson (pictured right) poses for a family photo. His family was on a summer vacation.

He stepped up to the counter, exchanging his ID for a form. To anyone else, it may have just been a slip of paper, but to junior Dylan Benson, it was the final step in being an official member of his family.

Benson moved in with his aunt, uncle and two cousins when he was just a baby. Coming from a broken family, his aunt and uncle decided it was best for Benson to move in with them in hopes for a brighter future. Although Benson has always considered himself as part of the family, only one thing was missing: changing his last name.

“My aunt and uncle have the last name, Benson,” Benson said. “I just want to have the last name to become part of the family officially.”

Changing his last name from Smith to Benson was not an easy process. In order for Benson to change his name, he had to be 18 years old. Benson said that while he knew he belonged with his aunt and uncle, having the last name Smith reminded him of his real parents.

“I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the past several years [of] being with my family,” Benson said. “It took me a while to understand that God put me with my aunt and uncle to give me an opportunity and to open me up to the world.”

Benson does not have contact with his birth parents. In fact, he has not even met them. Benson said he is grateful for his aunt and uncle because they took him in when his parents did not.

“As far as I know, I’m glad I’m not with them,” Benson said. “I do want to meet them, but with the information I do have, I don’t have much respect for my father. But someday, I would really like to meet my mom.”

Less than a month ago, Benson turned 18 and was finally able to change his last name to match his aunt, uncle and cousins. Benson said he is excited to have his name match his family’s, and that he can’t wait for what lies in his future.

“I get asked about it a lot at school,” Benson said. “But I think what people don’t understand is that my name may be different, but at the end of the day, I’m still the same Dylan I used to be.”