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.
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.
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.
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.
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.