Pictures of a Florida woman's adopted son from his newborn photoshoot went viral Wednesday, except the "baby" is actually a 13-year-old boy.
Two years ago, Kelli Higgins, of Crestview, adopted her son Latrell and his sister Chanya when the siblings were 10 and 5, respectively. Higgins and her husband already had five biological children and one on the way, but she felt she wanted to help older children who traditionally have a hard time finding homes.
"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."
Around the dinner table one night, Latrell Higgins mentioned he wished he had baby photos of himself. So Kelli Higgins, a professional photographer, recreated a birth announcement, complete with newborn-style photos.
Sleeping peacefully while swaddled in white blankets, posed with his hands cupping his face, and a requisite shot of his feet, Latrell Higgins' recreated newborn photoshoot gave him exactly what he never had growing up: love, security, memories, and a feeling of family.
"I thought it was funny and that it would be a good idea," he told TODAY.com.
Kelli Higgins posted the photos on her Facebook page on Jan. 29 with the announcement, "Here's my sweet not so little newborn! His name is Latrell and he weighs 112 lbs."
Comments immediately poured in from supporters.
"What a wonderful way to make a child feel special," one person wrote. "I absolutely love this. Because of this creative venture you've opened the dialogue for adopting older children."
"Everyone needs to feel like part of a family, and this is one of those rituals that 'connects' us," another person posted. "Lovely gesture."
Kelli Higgins hopes the photos will encourage couples contemplating adoption to possibly adopt an older child.
"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
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