Adoptive Mom Exploits Foster Child with “Newborn” Photo Shoot

The child in question is 13 years old. His sister, also adopted by Kelli Higgins who lives in Florida is the one who suggested that she (Higgins) do a photo shoot of Latrell Higgins reenacting what his newborn baby pictures would-have or should-have looked like.

As a side note, I’m really upset that this 13-year-old’s name is being used in the picture and in news reports all over the world. Of course he’s happy about it, he is thirteen! I find it exploitive and disappointing that the newspapers would pick this up and make it viral. It is everywhere, and for this reason I will not be silent.

I say that this photograph is exploitive because the adoptive mother is a photographer. She took a personal family photo, and shared it among business clients. I know this because I checked her business fan page and some of her friends below in the comments section have quoted things that she’s posted.

Every business person hopes that something that they upload will go viral, and it’s nothing wrong with that. If she did not want it to go viral, and it was a family moment, why not post to her personal page or better yet, why post it at all? Why not throw a “Welcome Announcement” party at her home and laugh about the spoof among friends?

As I look at her Facebook page, she’s celebrating the pictures success, talking about her emotions with her sudden fame in the media and marketing every aspect of this picture.

I appreciate the spin on the story (that the media took) in order to bring awareness to foster care but I am angered that so many people are celebrating this picture as acceptable journalism and real-life answers to a foster care problem.

I wrote about the picture from a different perspective. I found the picture itself a bit disturbing. I love that it has brought attention to foster care and adoption however, what I realize is that every child will not look or be like this innocent photo.

The solution is the truth. Parents must answer tough questions, and support their children as they overcome parts of life that seem unfair or hurt deeply. Below is a comment I left right on the Today’s article and website. Since you have to go through so much to leave comments on many of these websites, I thought I’d bring my comment to mine.

Why are you teaching a child to pretend to be something he's not? What kind of lesson is this?

Why are you teaching a child to pretend to be something he’s not? What kind of lesson is this?

I found this article to be absolutely informative about aging out of foster care. I also found it absolutely disgusting to put this child in what looks like make-up, and clothes that would simulate a new-born child. He is not a newborn! I don’t get to go back and re-create things in my life that I missed out on.

This is not how life works and I believe this child could develop an unrealistic view or their identity and life expectations. Why not have a photo shoot of him as he is now, and remind him that when he’s 30 he’ll appreciate the memories of being 13. This child is being exploited. Just as you ridicule what Bishop Larry D. Trotter did with his posting of an inappropriate picture, I would venture to say that not only the posting, but the photo shoot was out-of-line.

This child does NOT look like a newborn and I am outraged. Of course, an african-american child in these type of photos would go viral. This needs to be removed immediately. It is sick. For the record, whether he has these photos or not he will never have the visual of his newborn face in a picture. Take this foolishness down. – Ressurrection Graves

Every time I see this picture I cringe. This is not a portrait of an African-American young man who is comfortable in his skin as a 13-year old. I don’t know what this is! I usually do not offer any thoughts that would speak to a specific ethnic community.

Please know that regardless of this child’s race, I would be disgusted. However, in this case, because he is African-American I find it damaging because of the high tension of racism that exists in this country, and the comments that I have read posted on articles about this picture.

See Marko Hamlin: How he overcame the foster care system and child sexual abuse

See Domonique Scott of the Sisterhood: Her foster care, child sexual abuse, and prostitution story.

I did not take any pictures to give this man and woman (in the above links) the memories that they always wanted. Instead, they shared their stories of how they overcame, and continue to overcome the damaging effects of their childhood. I also share my own story. They were foster children, I was not.

As an example of how I believe that this picture idea is unrealistic, I really missed out on being a daddy’s girl. There is no way that I can make myself have a replacement relationship with a natural-biological father. Although I have overcome the desire to be a daddy’s girl – and have moved on, I offer this example because you can’t go back and have a moment that has passed. You can create a new moment indeed but there is no way to be a newborn at 13.

The adoptive-mother and photographer wanted to show a softer side of older children who were being ignored for adoption. I am confident that she could have found another way to do that, than to create these photos – taking advice from her 12-year-old adopted daughter.

With a haircut, this would have been an awesome "Welcome Announcement"

With a haircut, this would have been an awesome “Welcome Announcement”

The idea that this child is either wearing make-up or that the adoptive mother consciously allowed the picture to look like he was wearing make-up bothers me. It also concerns me that the child is in tights. Even as a newborn the child would not be in open-toed tights, with lace on the end, and have make-up or be made to look like he/she has make-up on.

From a spiritual perspective, I do not see how this picture embodies that of a newborn. I also do not see how this picture solves the idea that he was deprived of new-born pictures. I don’t believe we are called to live in our past – and when we do, it is important that we learn how we heal in order to overcome what we’ve endured. 13 is usually considered the age of accountability in a number of cultures and religious backgrounds.

While the complexities of this child are unknown because of his experience with foster care, what I do know is that there were many ways to not only welcome him, but draft him into maturity. I believe this was a teaching opportunity. In reflection, I realize that my real source of confusion was the quotes by mom in the articles, and the idea that this was supposed to reenact (not my word) his birth.

One commenter mentioned to me that in many religious cultures they have a “rebirthing” or an opportunity for someone to be “reborn”. Another person mentioned that doctors will allow this process as the mental patient goes through regression. From a spiritual perspective I don’t understand why I or this child would need this kind of experience or ritual to be born again. The fact that so many commenters offered so many different perspectives on why this picture was acceptable shows that the picture does not clearly articulate what apparently it was supposed to – a joke.

Latrell Higgins Twitter comment

There are many things about this picture that I find questionable. While I feel strongly about this photo, I realize that some people think it’s cute. We’ll have to agree to disagree that this photo is appropriate or necessary as a “Welcome Announcement”.

I invite respectful dialogue. The comment policy here is that you are welcome to give your opinion but you are not welcome to be disrespectful and insulting to the author for their opinion. If so, your comment will be trashed – and not read at all. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts below. What do you think about this photo?

 

 

Ressurrection Graves is a child sexual abuse expert and H.E.A.L.E.R.® who speaks on topics surrounding healthy relationships, overcoming homelessness, child sexual abuse prevention, adult healing, and awareness. Ressurrection is available for radio/television interviews, or ministry/conference/keynote speaking engagements nationwide by telephone at: 202.717.7377 (RESS) or please email: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com.

About Ressurrection

Ressurrection Graves is a Child Sexual Abuse Grooming Expert and H.E.A.L.E.R. (Healer, Educator, Activist, Life Skills Expert, Empowerment Speaker, Relationship Mentor) Her website reaches readership in 188 countries. She is available for national speaking engagements, radio and television interviews. She can be reached at: 202.717.7377 or send your request to: ressurrection dot wordpress at yahoo dot com or comment on http://www.ressurrection.wordpress.com
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63 Responses to Adoptive Mom Exploits Foster Child with “Newborn” Photo Shoot

  1. Ziggy says:

    Hmm…I’m not really understanding your “outrage.” You state, “I believe this child could develop an unrealistic view or their identity and life expectations.” Are you saying that the effects of this photo shoot will result in his belief that he is a newborn baby? That seems like a silly and invalid conclusion. I, personally, am thrilled that he was lucky enough to be placed in an adoptive parent’s care, as I’m sure you are as well. I think this photo shoot was simply a fun way to welcome him to the family through Facebook and allow him to relive something he missed out on in early childhood. As for you missing out on being a “daddy’s girl”, that is an irrelevant comparison. If you had the chance to now become close with your father, would you? That is the same thing that this boy and his adoptive mother are doing, taking advantage of an opportunity to replace missing memories with new ones. I see nothing wrong with that. As for him being African-american, I am not sure how that works into this argument at all.

    • No. I do not believe that the effect of this photo shoot will result in him believing that he is a new born baby. The photo iteself is really disturbing. He looks like he is wearing make-up, the lighting, the entire thing is very uncomfortable to look at for what I believed to be obvious reasons when I posted it.

      I’m happy that he has found a home, that is not in question at all. As far as my father – this was only an example and does not need to be taken out of context but it is a relevant comparison. My father is dead, and when he was living he was a pedophile. The point is, although being a “daddy’s girl” is something that I’ve always wanted, I can’t put on a child’s outfit, and try to relive this experience.

      And you’ve made my point, they are TRYING to take advantage of an opportunity to relive something that they can not relive.

      As for him being African-American, the comment was related to much of the racist comments that I’ve seen on many sites regarding this this picture so far today. As I said, I would have felt the same exact way (discomfort) if it were any child trying to be a newborn baby again.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      It is okay that we disagree. It happens. :)

      -Ressurrection

  2. Annie Brock says:

    I am sorry, but I think and feel that they went about this in the wrong way….and not to mention it’s a little disturbing. Don’t get me wrong there are many ways they could have come up with to make this young MAN feel like part of their family. I do believe they have the best of intentions. I understand that there are a lot of people who think this is a good thing but I don’t. What if there is’s a deeper issue here for this young man that they don’t know about?

  3. Evie DeChant says:

    I think that the person who wrote this story about this boy being exploited is just pathetic! I feel sorry for you and the utterly sad life you must be living in order to first see something ugly that is truly a sweet thing!
    You have allowed your view to be warped because of your own experience! And you are projecting it on how you see life around you.. it is sad.. I too was seriously abused and I thank God I got the help I needed and the loving support that helped me heal and now I can see lovely things like this in the content that was intended… not ugly… like your sad life obviously is.

    • Sweetheart, you do not know me. I am a woman, and I am healed of any abuse that I have experienced. My concern for this child has absolutely nothing to do with me personally. I was never in foster care. I have a completely different story but talk about projecting. You called me pathetic among other names. I could have just as easy trashed your comment. Be more respectful. And, it you would stop being ignorant long enough and check out my website, you’d realize based on my content that nothing about my life is sad. It sounds like you are projecting. I will not honor any future negative comments. Thank you.

  4. Di says:

    I have to admit I do not see what is inappropriate about the adoption announcement card with
    the boys photos, Can anyone explain to me why this is offensive to some? I also do not see why
    the race of the child makes this more offensive (it appears to some people). I am not trying to be argumentative. I truly dont understand. Though I could see that photos of an awake, happy child might more reflect what he is hopefully like now. Thanks

    • Hi Di, I really don’t want to get into a race conversation. I’m not real big on race issues but I will say that the amount of racist comments that I saw on other people’s websites were very alarming to me, even if they did like the photo. As for the photo, it creeps me out. The boy looks like he has on make-up and I think I made clear in the article what I found so alarming. I’m sorry if I was not more clear. I did elaborate however in the comments section under the first comment. Hope this helps. Have an extraordinary day. -Ressurrection

  5. Maja says:

    I would actually love to know where you went to medical school or where you received your phd. If you did neither of these, please stop referring yourself as “dr” and giving actual doctors a bad name and any kind of association with your awful, negative and wrong views.

    • You sound hilarious. Are you done? Great, because I don’t call myself anything. I have an honorary doctorate, and thankfully I don’t need your approval. You kind of made yourself seem silly as you mentioned my education, and then at the end, my views. This post is based on my views. Do you have credentials for your views? I have approved this post but, any further name-calling comments will be discarded. I don’t need a phd to push “trash”. Next time, please come with kindness and respect. Peace, Ressurrection

  6. Kim says:

    This is the epitome of sensationalizing silly news stories. The boy had the idea. It was funny and cute and sent the message that you can be “announced” as a new family member at any age. It’s obviously meant to be a silly parody.

    Of all thing to turn negative, a mother and we son having fun doing a silly project together? Apparently we just have to be outraged about everything now, up to and including a mother following through with her son’s funny (and clever!) idea.

    • Well, you’ve entered my world, and this is not a “news” site. This blog article is based on my own feelings toward this situation. I don’t find it funny or cute and I think it is okay that we disagree. He did not have the idea. His 12 year old sister did. Also, they are children. My child has lots of ideas but no matter how clever, as parents we decide what works. I do not blame the child at all. It was the parents choice, and I don’t think it was appropriate to pretend that he is a newborn with the lighting, make-up etc… There were many ways that this child could have been “announced” into their family. How did they announce the 12-year-old girl? They didn’t take newborn pics of her, with little clothing and make-up on. It was unsettling to me, and again I think it is okay to disagree. Thanks for commenting. – Ressurrection

  7. Taisie MacMillan says:

    Honestly, I found this article to be sad, pathetic, and offensive. You took what was a beautiful moment in these peoples lives, injected your own personal emotional baggage into it, and then added prejudice and bigotry to the mix, and before you try to say you didn’t, you mentioned not once, not twice, but THREE times that this was an “African-American” (…regardless of this child’s race, I would be disgusted. However, in this case, because he is African-American I find it damaging). Why is his race pertinent to this article? Why should his race have even been mentioned?
    Symbolic rebirth is a recognized practice in emotional and psychiatric counseling, and have been, for a very long time, not to mention there are countless religious re-birthing rituals, all of which are meant to symbolize a new start, a new beginning in a persons life, and that is what I see these pictures as a form of, a representation of a new start in his life.
    Also, where are you getting your info? The article I read said nothing about the mother wanting to show anyone anything about adopting older children, just about wanting to recreate baby photos for her son, and yes, at her 12 year old daughters suggestion. Which, brings me to another issue, why do you seem so offended that a mother might actually listen to her daughter?
    ” I am confident that she could have found another way to do that, than to create these photos – taking advice from her 12-year-old adopted daughter.”
    All in all, seeing as how you asked me what I thought of your article, no, I didn’t find it helpful, other than to show me that no matter how much education some one has, they can still be mighty small minded.

    • This child had on tights, and make-up, that has nothing to do with a reenactment. As for emotional baggage, sweetheart I am not writing this article with any baggage. Just as you have voiced your opinion, I am voicing mine in the article. You mention religion, symbolic rebirth, none of this is indicative of the adoptive mothers statements as her intention – thus you are assuming. The Today article is where I received my information from. I’m not offended about her listening to her daughter. I made the comment because she is the adult and regardless of what child the prompting came from, she made the choice. I am FAR from small-minded. Perhaps you should stick around and read some of my other articles. Further insults will not be tolerated. If you notice, I didn’t even insult the adoptive mother. I am happy that she adopted a child, I just believe that there was a different way to announce the adoption. Period. Your views are welcome, and we can disagree but further insults will be trashed.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Taisie MacMillan says:

        While I do appreciate your reply, you never did answer as to why you felt the race of this child was important, and further why “…because he is African-American I find it damaging”. Others have asked the same question as well so it obviously struck a chord with more than just myself.
        I realize that maybe you feel like you have been “jumped on” so to speak, for stating your opinion, and that was never my intent. We do, as you say, “agree to disagree”.
        However, with that being said, you did invite me to ask questions, and I would still like mine answered.
        Thank you…

        • African American children are treated horribly by the police and the media. We don’t need to name names like Trayvon Martin who would have never gotten the attention he did if the NAACP and Al Sharpton did not get behind it. There are many children who remain unnamed laid to rest because of racism without justice and the media doesn’t feel that it is important.

          Statistics have shown this over and over again. African American children are usually not the first choice featured for missing and exploited children on the news. There are many situations like the one in Connecticut that happen on the streets of African American communities everyday. Often African American are called crazy when Caucasians are called mentally ill, in high profile cases. Whether we like it or not, in the media, and in the world African American boys are not shown in a positive light. And, then for this child to make world news as an African American boy, it was alarming in part because of the picture, and in part because he is African American and he does not look like the average African American boy.

          In newspapers it states that because of this article/picture people will be more likely to adopt because of the soft lighting and the innocence portrayed. Regardless of what people say, an African American boy will not look like this picture when you go to adopt him. Again, this photo is exploitive from a media perspective regardless of the intentions of the adoptive mother. As for being jumped on, I have been and its getting old. While I am not the only one who feels this way, I was the only one to speak out and have my piece be frequented with negative commenters in this way.

          I have answered your question. I do not intend to change your mind, and I’m not changing my own opinion. I wish this boy and his parents much success but the photo is still alarming.

          Thanks so much,

          Ressurrection

  8. Sumayyah says:

    I think the concept was beautiful to announce the adoption of her son, However I think how he has been made to look completely feminine is a problem. He is a male not a female. You have eyemake up on him and leg tights this is a mess. I’m not understanding why our black males are being feminized. It’s horrible and not ok. That is just my opinion.

    • I agree. Thank you for sharing your comment. I don’t understand why the announcement could not have been done in a different way, or why he has on tights. A newborn boy would not even have on tights.

  9. Becky says:

    No, this was not helpful at all. Actually it seems there are some things missing in your own life that you need to heal before you can see this through the eyes of a loving mother wanting to help her adoptive child feel like a part of the family. No, he cannot go back and relive or recreate what is missing in his life, but he is still just a child and might have needed to feel like one again, even if just for a moment. Please, don’t take things that are meant to be good and twist them, it does not help anyone. I pray that you find the healing in your own life so that you can help others.

  10. Ziggy says:

    You keep referring to the make-up and lighting. It is a photo shoot. I am not sure what is offending you as far as that goes. Many people do photo shoots with make-up and lighting. Is it because he is a boy as opposed to a girl?

    • Yes. The make-up makes him look like he has eye-shadow on, and the tights make him look feminine. The point is, if this is about him reenacting a new born photo, why did he need either? A newborn photo of a boy does not have tights, and make-up on.

      • Lauren says:

        There is no make-up on him, it is edited. It is just a satire of a newborn shoot. First all the photos are lighten then used “Turn-up-the-heat!” to add the yellow tones. “Turn-up-the-heat!” plus “Flawless face” is notorious for making it look like the person having make-up on.
        In the picture below doesn’t it look like the newborn has on light blue eyeshadow and lipgloss?

        When my husband was 6, his older sister put him in a dress and took a picture and you know what happen, when he had his high school graduating party. It was pulled out and everyone had a laugh.

        The tights are just a joke, I mean when he is 18 guess what is going to happen when everyone sees it.
        “Dude, why are you wearing tights?”
        “Ahhh man my sister thought it be funny, you know.”

        • Lauren thank you so much for commenting. I’m sorry that I don’t really think it was a joke, but I appreciate you straightening out that it is not actual make-up. Have a great day.

  11. sciolmom says:

    do you even KNOW this kid? but it’s your place to comment on whether his is comfortable in his skin?
    and i notice you put text across the picture to help with your ridiculous claim that they put him in make up.

    • The fact that the picture is viral allows me to comment as much as you finding my article made you decide to comment. The comment about him being in his skin was referencing the idea that he’s not portrayed as 13 in the photo but a new born. Also, I never claimed that he has on make up I said, it looks like he had on make-up. Thanks for commenting.

  12. Marlene says:

    I think that the fact that you are saying anything is a bit immature. Just because you cannot recreate your childhood, doesn’t mean that he cannot take a picture. It was a fun family thing to do. What’s the big deal? He isn’t nude. I doubt he is wearing makeup! It’s likely his colouring or the lighting. His race has nothing to do with him being welcomed into the family. Just because his skin is a certain colour, doesn’t mean that his family cannot welcome him in the same as if he was any other colour. I think you are trying to make an issue out of something that is clearly a non-issue, just so you can drive traffic to your own site. This parent has done nothing wrong. She wanted her child to feel special and welcomed into her family, as if he was her own flesh and blood. That’s what any average person sees from this series of pictures. Now, someone who simply wants to have something to say…..would see it another way.

    I won’t be coming back to your site. You’re far too negative, and seems like you want to see the bad side of everything.

    • Whoa, I never said that because of his skin color, the family could not welcome him in. Have you seen the adoptive parent? I didn’t look for her, so I have no idea what her race is.

      I don’t follow how you feel that leaving this comment with your opinion is mature but my comment is immature. That doesn’t make any sense. why not focus on the article instead of me. If you think that the picture is fine with make-up and tights cool. We agree to disagree.

      Thanks for commenting.

  13. Moe says:

    These are copyrighted photos. I highly doubt she gave you permission to use them.

    • I wonder if she gave the entire world to use them. Questions? Every news source is using them, and I did not get these photos from her website, they are everywhere. As for her copyright, I don’t think I scratched out her name or recognition – it’s visible and she has credit for her work.

  14. ces25c says:

    ” I don’t get to go back and re-create things in my life that I missed out on.” I’m not entirely sure why what you would do is relevant. How you would handle a situation doesn’t mean everyone else would do the same. Specifically since you’re an adult, you wouldn’t want the same things as a child… I can’t really think of a polite way to say, “well, duh.”
    “Why not have a photo shoot of him as he is now, and remind him that when he’s 30 he’ll appreciate the memories of being 13″ They clearly did that too. You post one of the photos later in this article.
    You seem to reply to comments without even entertaining the possibility that there could be any projection behind why you saw the photos the way you did. I find it really hard to believe that you won’t even consider that when clearly every experience you’ve had shapes your perception.
    The family themselves have said it was just supposed to be lighthearted fun that was only supposed to make him feel included.

    • I’m not replying to comments as if anything. I know who I am and I don’t have to entertain foolishness that is darted toward me. I am not speaking about anything but the picture of which I do not think is appropriate. As I have said before we are entitled to differ in our thoughts on this but ALL of Kelli’s facebook friends coming here to comment will not bully me into thinking different about this picture. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by though. Thanks

      • ces25c says:

        I tried to ask reasonable questions but couldn’t help throwing in the rude “well duh” because I can’t understand why you think your situation, motivations, and feelings as an adult woman are anything like those of a 12 year old boy. The way you view the world is likely to be very different from the way anyone else views it, even if on the surface the person appears quite similar to you. I’m really curious other than that, what you found bullying or foolish about my comment.
        Other than the one rude phrase, I tried to reasonably present why I disagreed and what led me to my conclusions. You still ignored it completely, which is something I’m not sure how to interpret other than being dismissive of anyone who disagrees.
        You are also making assumptions about me as I have no idea who this woman and her son are, but took the time to find out a bit about them, instead of reading one article. You are making assumptions about the family, when you perceived the photos in a way they were not intended. Of course, anything we post on line runs the risk of going viral, but from trying to find out about them, I do not get the impression that they expected or intended for that to happen.
        Please do not accuse me of things I did not do, as I am trying not to accuse you either. None of us are perfect, but you asked for feedback when you don’t seem to be open to a dialogue with people who disagree.

        • First of all, you WERE extremely rude in the last comment that trashed. It was the same comment that you used with a different email address and was decidedly angry because you assumed wrongfully that I had not approved your comment, and instead approved Rainy’s. Secondly, I have answered your questions. Your questions are answered in the comments below the article and in the article. I am open to dialogue, I am just not going to keep repeating myself or change my mind about the photo because you want me to. I don’t think the photo is appropriate regardless of the mom’s supposed intentions. As for the parenting point, of course as an adult I don’t want the same thing as a child, but I also as a parent understand that just because my child asks for something, I don’t have to approve it. It is a choice. With that said, and for the last time, I don’t have any issues with the adoptive mother, the issue I have is this photo. And I have done my research. She has a gorgeous picture of the 12 year old on her page. I am not calling her some bad person. While people keep wanting to defend her, I’m not focused on her per say. It is the image that caught my attention and the picture that I expressed my feelings about. Is this the dialogue/communication that you wanted? You have to realize that even in dialogue it’s not about changing eachother’s minds, and if you’re focused on that you’re not really listening. I’m answering your questions. Thank you for commenting. Peace, Ressurrection

  15. rainy says:

    We are liveing in the last and evil days.That boy does look like a girl and the pics are sick.They are feeding that homosexual spirit in that boy.He to could have been molested in his last foster home,alot of them are.This is so sad.

    • Thank you for commenting. I do agree that the boy looks like a girl. When my daughter came home from school, I was randomly talking to her and looked up the original picture. She said, “I don’t see what you are talking about.” I said, as I continued to click on the pic, “You don’t see anything wrong with the picture?” She said, “No, where is it? All I see is a picture of a girl.” I blew the picture up and explained that it was not a girl.
      My daughter did not mean any harm and did not understand anything about the photo – she speaking based off of what she saw, and that was all.

  16. Tracy says:

    Just curious if you’ve communicated with the mom at all to see where her heart was in this. From what I saw on her fb page, her heart is absolutely in the right place.

    • Tracy says:

      Also, if recollection serves me, I believe it all started when they were looking at some of her newborn images and her son commented that he wished he had pictures of himself as a baby…then the sister said, hey, mom, you should do a newborn shoot with him…I think it became a much bigger thing than they intended or expected. I don’t think she was seeking to gain glory or fame for herself by using her newly adopted son. I don’t think that she had or has any intentions of exploiting him…and you know, God can use all kinds of crazy circumstances to bring about His will and purpose…maybe this will be one of those situations. You never know. It just seems a bit of a harsh judgement.

      • I definitely agree that God can use all kinds of crazy circumstances to bring about His will and purpose, I’m just not sure how to see this as one of those times. For the record, I am not judging Kelli, her son or the dog if they have one – this article is about an image that I find in extremely poor taste. I hope that Kelli and her family continues to enjoy Latrell, and I’m glad that he’s found a home – I really am. Despite my happiness about him finding a permanent home, I remain in thought that this picture should have NEVER been posted, and this kind of photo shoot is questionable at best.

    • Hi, I did not see this picture on Facebook as I’ve learned it may have originated. I saw this picture all over the media in various websites who were also writing stories and commenting on it. As for your question about speaking to the mom, no I have not. This article was intended to speak about how I do not approve of the photo, and not to highlight her intentions behind the photo. I don’t think Kelli is a bad person, and while I do not know her intentions, it’s not really the point here. As far as it being “bigger” than they imagined, I’m not so sure I agree with that. She is a photography and business woman, perhaps she hoped that it would go viral but didn’t realize that it actually would. I have no idea and I don’t want to assume. What I do know is that having your 13 year old dress up in open toe tights and pose, pretending to be a newborn has an extremely unsettling energy behind it, and I don’t need to talk to her to glean that from the picture. Thanks for commenting.

  17. I think your outrage is misplaced. It was done as a gag. The fact that it went viral means it resonated with people. He’s not wearing make-up and the only commenter agreeing with you sounds like a homophobe. I think that should tell you something.

    • It amazes me how comfortable you people are with name calling. If someone does not believe that homosexuality is right before God, that doesn’t make them a homophobe any more than they may also believe that fornication is not right in the eyes of God – so let’s not call people names. Thanks. As for the other commenters, many of them were trashed for how disrespectul they are. Many people who agree with the article have tweeted it, facebooked it and they have called me. This comment section is not the only form of communication. In fact, someone called me today after printing out the article and sharing it in their office. They both agree that the picture looks sexualized, and the person in their office thought that the picture was child pornography. That did not come from me – that was a phone call I received. Lastly, just because something goes viral, does not mean that it is acceptable. I think we all know that. Thanks for commenting. Have a great day!

  18. Jen says:

    Domyou know what BabyLegs are? Do some research. If the child was OK with the makeup (which I’m not sure he was wearing) and the lighting, why do you care? You’ve turned something fun and sweet and innocent into something else entirely. Let go of your outrage, lady. Life is far too short to be this angry about things that have nothing at all to do with you.

    • LOL I am allowed to be just as outraged about something as you are about this article. I haven’t turned anything into anything. Not everyone sees this picture as innocent, I was just willing to be a voice. And, I’m not angry. I’m over it. I expressed my views. But I think that negativity breeds negativity so, people will continue to feel comfortable posting negative comments until someone else breaks their silence in the comments. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Kelly Nichols says:

    I really don’t understand your issue with this… You keep pointing out that it looks as if he is wearing make-up. All actors and model s of both sexes wear make-up when they pose for pictures, that is pretty well known. Even your local newscastors on TV that are male wear make up to not look washed out against all the lights. That point to me is not valid. I guess I just don’t agree with you….it was a bit weird, but cute.

    • Somehow my comment didn’t go through but here is the bottom line. He is a child, not an adult and not a local newscaster. I’m not looking for you to validate my opinion in this article. Thanks for stopping by. Res.

  20. Michele Massie says:

    Interesting article. I honestly never thought he looked feminine or made up (And I am usually pretty sensitive to stuff like that). I felt like the lighting and touch up to the photos was done to give him that newborn ‘glow’ that you see in all the professional baby photos. The skin looks flawless and smooth on a newborn – and it was done to this boys pictures too. And the tights – it was probably the only way to make it have a newborn ‘feel’ to the photo. I imagine pants or sweats would have just looked like a big boys ‘ugly’ feet! :D I thought the photos were adorable and a sweet way to announce the boys adoption and showcase the major change this was for the boy – after all these years to have an actual family!

    • Wow. Not one insult. I’m not sure how to respond lol. I think the truth is everyone will see the picture how they see it, and for me it was really uncomfortable to view. I think that the photo shoot could have been done in a different way, different theme and given him the same level of confidence that was needed for him to know that he’s found a family who adores him.

      Thanks so much for commenting.

  21. Faraday Barnswallow says:

    I think you really are over-interpreting the picture. A friend of mine is a professional photographer, and I can’t help but feel like she would have probably done something very similar if she were in the same situation. It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of bringing the child into the family, if you ask me…to show that their family acknowledges and loves the child as their own, using their sense of humor and whimsy to do so.

    If anything, I would say this picture shows that the boy is comfortable and happy. No 13 year old boy would take a picture like this against his own will. I’m willing to bet it started with the mother saying, “Hey, you know what would be funny? If we did a newborn photo shoot with you,” and from there they would both go on planning it out together, laughing the entire time.

    I’ll wrap this up by saying your opinion is bad, and you should feel bad.

    • Funny. Manipulative aren’t we? Ewwww…. I didn’t even tell the adoptive mother how she “should” feel. I don’t feel bad, trust me. I “feel” strongly that I did the right thing by writing this article. I also “feel” strongly that I’m not the only one who was uncomfortable by the photo. Thank you for YOUR opinion, which I “feel” lacks depth. Blessings, Res

  22. Maye says:

    I noticed in the comments that what you stressed disturbed you most about the photo is the fact that the boy is wearing makeup and tights, which is “feminine” and “not okay”. To me, this sounds like a sexist and judgemental statement. I don’t believe that every male who wears make up or tights is “feminine”, and even if it was “feminine” I don’t see why that would be wrong. Is Billy Elliot wrong? Is it also wrong for men to get manicures, for little boys to play with their sister’s dolls? I’d like to know your thoughts on this. Should girls only do “girly” things, and boys “man up”?

    To me, the photo is clearly a parody of a real newborn photo. It looks airbrushed on Photoshop (like all professional newborn photos), and although it can be rightfully mistaken for make up, it’s not like he looks as if he’s wearing eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick. Yes he’s wearing lacy tights, but it seems like it’s done to add to the general silliness of the shoot. That’s what this photo is and is meant to be. Just plain SILLY. As long as it made this boy happy, and the family had fun doing it, what is the harm in this? I’d really like to know.

    And by the way, as kids my mother dressed us in hand me downs and she did not care about what was gender friendly at all. She put my brother in lacy socks and little skirt tunics, and me in batman and superman shirts. I admit, it was embarrassing as elementary school kids, but now that we’re grown we laugh about it. And no, we are not gender confused now at all, and we weren’t when we were in our lacy socks or boy shirts then either. But this boy is 13, he is a teenager, not a child! If he didn’t like the idea, he would have said NO WAY.

    • He is a child. A thirteen year old is a child. It does not matter whether he liked or wanted to do this or not. Sexual predators say that the boys consented to sex with them- a child can not consent. So, I’m really confused at how many people seem to think that just because a child wants something, they are entitled to it. Adults are there to be guides, teachers, and protectors. I’m not into this whole new wind of gender neutral. God made male from the dust of the ground, and female with a womb from the rib of a man. It is really that simple. As for my beliefs about this photo I feel that it is feminine but perhaps a better word would be that it appears abit “sexualized ” to me- and others who have contacted me about the photo.

      Yes, it is feminine and I’m not comparing this photo to anything else. When I saw it, my spirit did not sit right, and I wrote the article. I do believe that this photo should be taken down off of the web, and I do believe that it is possible that predators will not find this as a joke but that they will find it enticing.

      I do not agree with the photo.

  23. emelks says:

    There’s so much wrong with these photos it’s hard to know where to start.

    My biggest gripe is that the adopter(s) are even thinking that this 13 year old boy is somehow a “new” person. Nope, he has memories, perhaps of his original family and foster families, that will stay with him forever. He has experiences and opinions and all the other attributes of a new teenager. Yet he’s being presented as a 13 year old “newborn” who by definition lacks memories of his original family, etc. Not a great way to begin a life with an adopted teen since it’s predicated on the lie that the child has no past.

    Not to mention the overt femininity of the photo elements, etc.

    I agree with the author, there is something very wrong here.

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  26. Krevez says:

    Don’t use your religion as an excuse to be homophobic and genderist. the bible has gone through numerous language changes, all biblical scholars realize that being gay is not a sin.
    The picture was supposed to be satirical because how all baby pictures are like that, but to poke fun that he is adoptive and he is a new member of the family, they are not trying to recreate a childhood for him, they’re just making joke art.
    You also claimed that this is worst because he is of African decent? how so? Just because some comments you saw mentioned racist things, doesn’t mean what happened itself have anything to do with him being of African decent. You’re grabbing at things that do not have any matter in this point.
    Lastly you find it disturbing because he is being “feminized”, please tell me how make up and tights are just for girls? Do the make up brushes and items say “I am for a girl” do the tights exclaim “I am for a girl”. No, ignorant people put things into a category of “this is what man is” “this is what woman is”. If he identified as male, and wanted to wear these things, I don’t see how that has anything bad coming with it. gender neutral isnt a “new wind”, and its brought on by educated people. Too long has society said “a man has to be a certain way” basically the stereotypical macho uncaring man and a woman has to be a subservient emotional being. there is no such thing as this is what men are and this is what woman are. if someone identifies and feels like theyre a certain gender (or no gender at all) then thats what makes them them. now their is a difference with being childish and being a grown up, but it has nothing to do with gender.
    It doesn’t even come off at them babying him, you saying he will try to treat himself as a baby or that his mother is controlling him is completely not founded in any reason. You assume the pictures were sexualized for no basis.
    Again do not use your religion as an excuse.

    • Sir, you came on my page to give your opinion based on your beliefs, right? Who are you to tell me what to believe, or not to believe and how to do so? Most of what you said came from your mind, and not something that I actually feel. There was basis for believing that these pictures were sexualized, and I am not the only one who thought this, which is why the subject matter came up. Again, you have an opinion so sharing mine is somehow not appropriate? Double standard much?

      • Krevez says:

        When i said don’t use your religion as an excuse for saying you believe something, i think most people would agree because basically thats using something else as a reason to think something. because the issue with using your religion as an excuse to believe something is that not everyone of the same religion teaches or believes the same way since there is no hardcore solid evidence in religion. so you can use your religion to say you don’t like something because of the way it is, but someone else can say they like it because their religion says so. and that wouldn’t make their belief less or more then anyone else’s, but it would make it faulty since its based on something that can be loosely interpreted.

        youre free to believe anything you want and you have the full right to do so and express your opinion. And no i do not have any right to tell you how or what to believe, i stumbled onto your blog; your place to express your opinion and i expressed my opinion in the comment.

        it only becomes unappropriate when you don’t have any evidence to back up your basis though. because if you cannot point to something that is universally accepted as being a fact and using that to support your opinion, and base it on something that is a theory (religion) then it carries no weight. but you’re as free to express your opinion.

        you did not once explain how ever at heart what does race, his outfit, or anything else using facts. how ever i do agree with you when you mentioned that non anglo children are less likely to be adopted and more likely to age out of the system, but that really doesn’t related to this situation. she wasn’t taking pictures like this for every kid in foster care or an adoption place so people will adopt them, she was doing it because its her child and they wanted to make faux baby pictures for him and poke some fun. where was she sexualizing this? was she making him into suggestive poses? was she advertising him for sex?

        Thank you for your reply :)

        • Krevez,

          You have no idea what I know. I do not follow a “religion” however there is evidence that certain things in question are ungodly, if that is what you mean. I am not interested in validating my beliefs with you. You are welcome to voice how YOU feel about the picture but you will not dictate to me how I SHOULD feel about anything. My beliefs ARE based on my faith. Additionally, you find it inappropriate for me to have an opinion when I can’t back them up but did you not do the same thing. You don’t have anything to back your opinion. That is why it is YOUR opinion and we can respectfully agree to disagree.

          Thank you for commenting.

          • Krevez says:

            me not being the blogger however, i don’t have to have the burden of proof. you as the blogger presenting your case in your statement, however, do have the burden of proof. as the commenter i ask the questions and you, the blogger, provide the information. so yeah technically you are required to validate your beliefs, as well as faith, faith by definition means believing and basing views onto something with no evidence and no weight.

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