Among the losses that youth in foster care experience are those that most of us take for granted. For example, baby photos.
Schools and even work places often have planned activities that ask people to bring in baby photos. Sometimes it's for a "guessing game" and sometimes just to share your early life. For youth who have been in foster care or adopted from foster care or an institution, baby photos may not exist. They may have never been taken or they may have been lost during a move.
One family re-created the "baby announcement" for their 13-year old son adopted from foster care as a way to humorously and lovingly provide that milestone for a child that had lost so much.
The Higgins family posted the photo-announcement to the adoptive mom's facebook page where it quickly went viral. According to the Higgins family, it was the childrens' idea. 13-year old Latrell mentioned that he never had a birth announdement and one of his sisters jokingly suggested they re-create the event.
While most viewers have been supportive, there has been some criticism. Some adult adoptees and birth/first parents have voiced their concern that re-creating a baby announcement erases Latrell's birth family, the way amended birth certificates effectively position an adoption as a false "new" birth history. Others worried that at 13-years old, Latrell would not be prepared for such a public display of his personal situation. Some suggest an "adoption announcement" would still show the "claiming" and family integration without erasing Latrell's birth history.
The recreation of a baby announcement highlights how complex feelings about adoption can be for the many people involved.
To read more:
The Broad Side: Missing baby photos and missing childhoods: Foster care in America
Huffington Post: Kelli Higgins, adoptive mom, creates viral birth announcement spoof.
Ressurrection Graves: Adoptive mom exploits foster child with "newborn" photo shoot.