What started off as a joke has turned into a viral sensation overnight, and millions of kids all over the world couldn’t be more thankful. While Kelli Higgins has a passion for photography there’s something that she’ll always love more…kids.
This is why she has 5 biological children.
It was just after the birth of her fifth child that she felt a weight on her conscience. She loved having her own kids but she couldn’t get this fact out of her mind–millions of kids wake up every day without a family. This is when she began talking with her husband about adoption. A few months later they adopted Latrell and Chanya.
One night Kelli was preparing for a photoshoot the next day that was going to be for baby announcements when Latrell made a semi-humorous but mostly tragic observation–he had never had baby pictures taken. Ally, Latrell’s sister, made the joke, “Why don’t you do them now?” Everyone laughed and no one thought much of it until Kelli decided it was exactly what she was going to do.
She took the pictures and put them up on her Facebook page as a joke and went to bed. The post read,“Here’s my sweet not so little newborn! His name is Latrell and weighs 112 lbs.,” Kelli announced on Facebook. She woke up to hundreds of emails asking for interviews and thanking her for what she was doing for foster kids everywhere. Her photos went above and beyond what she had ever dreamed and they meant more than she could have ever imagined.
She didn’t ask for the spotlight but she got it and boy did she use it to spread the love of abandoned kids everywhere. Here’s what she said on her blog:
“I realized at that time that I had become a spokesperson for older children who needed to find a forever family. I felt obligated to answer every reporter’s questions so that I could spread the word. So many children in America age out of foster care at 18. They are given a very small amount of cash and are expected to go out in the world alone without a family to back them up. Who do these children visit at Christmas? Who sends them birthday cards? It’s never too late to find a permanent family. “
The Higgins later realized they were the only family to submit paperwork to adopt the pair.
The Facebook post received thousands of likes and shares and the comments showed how powerful the images really were, regardless if they were done out of humor you couldn’t deny their impact.
“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.”
“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.
Statistics show that after 18 months of aging out, 50% are homeless and that 70% of prisoners have been in foster care. If you don’t feel in a place to adopt there are other ways to get involved in making an impact. Foster kids always need mentors and there are always local foundations that you can get involved with.
One of these foundations is called the Joel Home. The Joel Home houses teens who have been kicked out or aged out of the foster system and provide live in mentors to guide the kids towards Christ as well as help them become functioning members of society. These kids come from backgrounds with sexual abuse and neglect and have never experienced the love of Christ. You can get involved by donating online here.
The beautiful thing about adoption is that it is an example of Christ’s love for us. While we were still sinners, He died for us, while we ran, he paid to bring us back into His family. Such a powerful thing that EVERY kid should get to experience.