ONTD Political

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
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:

"IF WE WANTED A DOG WE COULD JUST GO TO THE HUMANE SHELTER."

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.
hikerpoet 14th-Feb-2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
I agree those anecdotes are atrocious, but implying her husband shouldn't have kids because he's had a heart attack (or, if that isn't what you mean, how on earth is it relevant?) is also pretty icky.
jwaneeta 15th-Feb-2013 12:48 am (UTC)
I certainly didn't mean to imply that, of all things. :(
bellichka 14th-Feb-2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
How are either of these stories relevant to this post, or support your initial comment of "no, no"?
politicette 14th-Feb-2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
lol seriously
wrestlingdog 14th-Feb-2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
For real.
girly123 14th-Feb-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
mmmmyeah, wondering that myself
the_physicist 14th-Feb-2013 05:55 pm (UTC)
Was trying to wrk that one out too :-/

I thought maybe it was a nooo, this is too cute! thing. But the last sentence ...
cozmic_oceanz 14th-Feb-2013 07:38 pm (UTC)
this. I'm so confused.
rebness 14th-Feb-2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
This. I found the 'no, no' thing annoying because it seemed like the poster was disagreeing with this post -- only for it to segue into two completely irrelevant stories. :|
jwaneeta 15th-Feb-2013 12:49 am (UTC)
I'm sorry. I'm just fucked in the head lately.

I was trying to say, this is wonderful, such a loving contrast to some of the shit I've seen.... obviously, I fucked that up
nightfury 14th-Feb-2013 02:51 pm (UTC)
um, alright.
idemandjustice 14th-Feb-2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
I know who you're referring to in that first anecdote. I remember asking her about that, and she indicated that she would still like to have a relationship with said hypothetical child, but that she felt it was ultimately the biological parents' decision, not hers.

But that usually isn't as heartless sounding as people like to portray her to be, so people conveniently leave that out.
the_physicist 14th-Feb-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
I didn't even occure to me this might be someone people knew on LJ...
otana 14th-Feb-2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
If it's the same person I'm thinking of, she's said some pretty horrific things about rape and abortion too so that doesn't really redeem her.
jwaneeta 15th-Feb-2013 12:52 am (UTC)
No, this wasn't an LJ person, and it was many years ago. This was a woman who said, if I found out my kid wasn't my blood, I wouldn't be able to love her, srry, I just think blood is everything...

Look. I apologize for shooting off my mouth. It didn't come out right.
wrestlingdog 14th-Feb-2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
...Okay?

The stories are atrocious but... not especially relevant?
i_m_b00 14th-Feb-2013 06:20 pm (UTC)
I was expecting some one to put some thing like this in the thread. Expecting yet still saddened. I don't understand why you would put such an awful story in a happy post.

You might want to put trigger warnings on something like this. I would hate for some one who had been adopted to read that they have been compared to a dog with being prepared.

for the record.
My child is not a dog and I'm a real mother.
bellichka +114th-Feb-2013 06:25 pm (UTC)
I'm a real daughter, and my mother is *definitely* a real mother.

*hugs to you and your fam*
belleweather 14th-Feb-2013 11:03 pm (UTC)
I'm a real mother

Hell yes you are, and way to go not letting anyone imply anything different.
hey_kayla_jay 14th-Feb-2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
If you met that switched-at-birth lady here on LJ, I'm pretty sure I (and many others) know exactly who you mean.
And wtf at that dog comparison. Jeez, how heartless.
silmaril 14th-Feb-2013 07:50 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest better things to chew on, but it would probably not be sanitary for you, so let's skip it. Seriously, why do people sometimes not even hear the things they are saying?!
moonshaz 14th-Feb-2013 08:46 pm (UTC)
I see you haven't been back to explain yourself so far, despite all the comments about people being confused, etc.

Okay, then.

coraki 15th-Feb-2013 04:02 am (UTC)
I agree what you said below about people placing such high priority on blood. Truely if I ever decided to have children in my life, I'd adopt. My genes are fucked up and there's at least 50% chance of passing it on to any children I have. I would definitely adopt an older child too. I've thought for a long time that there are too many children who go unloved by their birth parents. I'd rather help than ignore their pain.
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