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Adoptive mom's 'newborn' photo shoot with 13-year-old son brings attention to older kids in foster c

1:37 am - 02/14/2013

The face is angelic, the lighting soft and the subject is napping peacefully – just the way a newborn photo shoot should look. It took 13 years, but Latrell Higgins finally has his baby photos.

“Here's my sweet not so little newborn! His name is Latrell and weighs 112 lbs.,” his mom Kelli Higgins proudly announced on Facebook, where the boy’s simple wish created an online sensation.

Higgins and her husband adopted Latrell and his sister Chanya two years ago, welcoming the siblings to their home in Crestview, Fla. The family already had five biological children, with a sixth one on the way, but Higgins felt she had more love to give, especially to kids who would have a harder time finding a home because they were older. In the past decade, more older children have become available for adoption, experts say.

“These children, once they get past a certain age, they don’t find homes and they age out of foster care,” Higgins told TODAY.com.

“They have to figure out the world on their own and there’s no one to go back to as an adult. Where do you go for Christmas? It’s just horrible, it’s heartbreaking.”

Then one day, social services called: Latrell and Chanya, then 10 and 5, were looking for a family. “Let’s just go for it,” Higgins recalled her husband saying. A few days later, the kids moved in. The Higgins were the only ones to submit paperwork to adopt the pair, the family found out.

The siblings are growing up happily, but wounds from the past sometimes surface unexpectedly.

The family was sitting around the dinner table last month, when Higgins – a professional photographer – mentioned that she was preparing for an upcoming baby photo session. Latrell mentioned that he wished he had baby photos of himself.

Higgins’ 12-year-old daughter asked, why not “recreate” a newborn photo shoot just for Latrell? The family had a good laugh thinking about him in all the newborn poses.

“I thought it was funny and that it would be a good idea,” Latrell told TODAY.com.
His mom found the notion bittersweet.

“I was very sad too because I didn’t have any photos of him either," Higgins said. "I think it’s really hard to have children and not know what they looked like when they were younger.”

Higgins and Latrell went into her studio the next day, both laughing hysterically the whole time, she recalled.

While some people have raised concerns that Latrell would be embarrassed by the photos, he told TODAY.com that he likes the results and that everyone he has showed the photos to thinks they are funny. Meanwhile, positive reaction is overflowing on Higgins’ Facebook page, where the photos have been shared thousands of times and prompted hundreds of comments of support.

"This is such a beautiful thing to do!" one person wrote. "I know so many people who adopted older children and don't have ANY pictures of their infancy. What a spectacular way to remedy that... after all, he'll always be your baby."

Higgins is particularly excited to start a conversation about adopting older kids.

“The one reaction that is really humbling and I’m really excited about is there have been a lot of parents that come to me telling me that they were thinking about adopting a baby, but after seeing those photos it’s changed their minds and they want to adopt an older child,” Higgins said.

There were more than 104,000 children in foster care who were waiting to be adopted in 2011, the last full year for which government statistics are available. The median age of a child waiting to find an adoptive home was 7, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Over the last decade, I’m seeing more older children available to be adopted and more people who are interested in adopting them,” said Gloria Hochman, a spokeswoman for the National Adoption Center.

People who adopt older kids tend to already have children and have experience dealing with pre-teens and teens, she said. There’s more help available now to families through post-adoption services, she added.

Back in Florida, Higgins said the lesson Latrell taught her is simple: We are never too old to want -- and deserve -- love, security and parents.

source: Today

Facebook photo
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shadwrayvn 14th-Feb-2013 07:23 am (UTC)
Aww this is really sweet
crucified 14th-Feb-2013 07:26 am (UTC)
Aw that's so nice.
tsu_ 14th-Feb-2013 07:32 am (UTC)
i love this ;_; ALL MY FEELS!<3
romp 14th-Feb-2013 07:44 am (UTC)
very sweet--I hope this results in more older-kid adoptions
mercystars 14th-Feb-2013 07:44 am (UTC)
The family already had five biological children, with a sixth one on the way, but Higgins felt she had more love to give, especially to kids who would have a harder time finding a home because they were older.

bless you, bless you
hermyfan 14th-Feb-2013 08:07 am (UTC)
Aw, this is so cute.
dumpweeds 14th-Feb-2013 08:15 am (UTC)
aw this is cute
abiding 14th-Feb-2013 08:20 am (UTC)
So sweet, omg.
jwaneeta 14th-Feb-2013 08:21 am (UTC)

No, no

I once had a conversation with a woman who told me that if she found out that her babies were switched at birth, she would reject the child she'd raised.

I have a friend who is trying to get pregnant at 50. She's bought a house so that her nagging inlaws can take care of the baby, and her husband, at 43, has already had a heart attack. When I asked her why she didn't try to adopt, she replied:


So... I guess I'll chew on that for a while.
mastadge 14th-Feb-2013 11:16 am (UTC)
Both of those anecdotes leave me speechless.
et_tu_lulu 14th-Feb-2013 08:40 am (UTC)
Awww, I love this! I'd love to adopt an older child.
wowsolovely 14th-Feb-2013 08:50 am (UTC)
If I had money to support a family I would adopt older. I remember feeling screwed while my family never gave me up they neglected me but social services knew no one would adopt me as old as I was so I was just supposed to figure out how to deal with it until I could get away from them. So I would love to help children who had the same situation I had.
johnjie 14th-Feb-2013 09:59 am (UTC)
This is hilarious and super sweet at the same time
lolcatielol 14th-Feb-2013 10:18 am (UTC)
This just made me good cry.

The pictures are hilarious, Latrell likes them & isn't embarrassed, and it may bring attention to the fact that most people only want to adopt infants when there are so many older kids who just want a family too.
tabaqui 14th-Feb-2013 11:53 am (UTC)
That is so awesome. I've never understood this insistence for people to want a *baby*. What's wrong with an older kid?

At the most cynical, selfish level - no diapers! I'd have skipped diapers in a heartbeat.
thelilyqueen 14th-Feb-2013 12:44 pm (UTC)
I think there are a few reasons. There are people who simply want the experience of caring for a baby/toddler, and others are concerned that an older kid will have emotional/mental difficulties related to why they're up for adoption (neglect or abuse, for ex.) that they won't be able to work with successfully and they'll wind up having done more harm. Don't much like either of those attitudes but I can understand them. The people who earn a major Lily-side-eye are the ones like the Duggars who seem to believe that adopted kids will carry on their bioparents' 'sins'.
wrestlingdog 14th-Feb-2013 12:24 pm (UTC)
callmetothejedi 14th-Feb-2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
This story made my morning. :) I want to adopt children one day.
lone_concertina 14th-Feb-2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
This story rips me up. My husband and I are a couple years away from starting the process of adopting older, probably a sibling group. Every couple of weeks I end up on the Texas Waiting Children website and get really upset that we're not ready to be a family for them yet, but I know we'll be there soon and I'm excited for when that day comes.
everstar3 15th-Feb-2013 12:14 am (UTC)
Oh gosh, good luck :D I hope it goes smoothly when the time arrives!
astridmyrna 14th-Feb-2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
clevermanka 14th-Feb-2013 02:37 pm (UTC)
What is this warm feeling in my heart? I am unfamiliar with this sensation.
mollywobbles867 14th-Feb-2013 02:44 pm (UTC)
This is the best thing to read in the morning ever. Hearts in my eyes.

I know that if I ever decide I want kids, I will adopt an older kid because I do think I'd be a good mom, I just don't want to give birth.
castalianspring 14th-Feb-2013 03:06 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet and hit me right in the feels today. What a wonderful family. ♥
toastieghostie 14th-Feb-2013 03:38 pm (UTC)
gahhh ;---; <333 this is so cute. I was planning to adopt in the 5-8 age range when I'm eventually ready, though I don't really know how popular that age is. Maybe after some time I would adopt an older child. I have a ton of time to figure it out though~
mingemonster 14th-Feb-2013 03:47 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet, and hilarious at the same time
poetic_pixie_13 14th-Feb-2013 03:54 pm (UTC)

I've known that I want to adopt (and I want to have a big family) since I was a child myself. I've already decided I'll try and adopt older kids and siblings. Cause everyone needs love. These photos make me so happy.
tamingheadfauna 14th-Feb-2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
This made my morning. Everyone deserves a loving and attentive family. <3
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