In moments of uncertainty it is too often that in seeking understanding we compare ourselves to situations and circumstances that may or may not have anything to do with us. I do it. It has often times proved itself to hit directly upon the eye of the bull or “bull’s eye” if you would have it but when does it become projection? During a much-filled emotion based against educational factual based debate I executed a gracious (if I must say so myself) exit. See there is a young boy out there in the world that was in foster care. He has been adopted and his adoptive parents did something that I thought was caring and thoughtful however someone raised the pressing issue of child abuse via attachment therapy. I had never heard of attachment therapy until today and the practices do sound very disturbing though I am not 100% or even 25% convinced that attachment therapy is what is going on in these images of this little boy.
Photo Credit: Kelli Higgins
Allow me to introduce to you Latrell Higgins born August 2, 1999 to whom I personally do not know but Latrell was adopted by Kelli Higgins. Mrs. Higgins is a photographer who one day was preparing to shoot a newborn baby (awwww) when Latrell expressed that he did not have baby pictures. Kelli jumped into action as many mothers would and saw an opportunity to take away her child’s sadness. With Kelli’s camera in tow she decided to give Latrell what he had never had. Kelli took images of her son in classic poses that a newborn would be in and placed the images in the form of a birth announcement. When I saw them I was moved. As a product of foster care and having experienced the same sadness for not having images of my existence as a newborn my heart was warmed by Kelli’s actions. In addition, as a professional photographer who has recently started shooting newborn’s I can empathize with the importance of capturing those precious moments when a child has been born. I have seen mothers moved to tears at the sight of their baby being captured. It is a moment that often brings tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart that I can give someone else what I never had AND that I get to share that moment with them. It is a precious and timeless moment that can last forever but can never be given in it’s entirety again. I think Kelli saw that and decided that even though she couldn’t erase the pain, even though she could not go back in time to give him those first few moments, she could give him what she had then. That was memories of his existence as a 13 year old boy. We need to know that we can’t go back in time and change the past but we can ease the pain by creating joyful memories of today.
Those moments that we can’t stand when we get our first boyfriend or girlfriend and they come over to meet the parents and mom starts dragging out those embarrassing photos of when we were a baby, well some of us did not get the opportunity to experience that. Photos are so much more than an image on photographic paper; they are a recording of who you were, what you looked like, and where you were at that moment. One can NEVER get that moment back which is why pictures are so important. Most people don’t cry over losing a coffee table in a house fire, they cry over pictures that they can’t get back. Pictures tell a story about the person in the picture but also about the person who captured it. I don’t know about you but when I look at pictures I can tell you where I was, who I was with, who I was in love with at the time, and what I was feeling not only for that moment but for that season. Pictures mark moments, they capture memories. That is all I think Kelli was trying to do.
As for the abuse that some children are experiencing in attachment therapy I will allow you to view the video that was shared with me by someone who felt the images of Latrell mocked strikingly similarities. I personally do not agree but I do feel that whoever is practicing attachment therapy on children is indeed engaging in heinous child abuse, which saddens me.
We should be aware of our own experiences and what they mean to us. We also need to be aware that just because our experiences marked us the way they did that they may not be the next person’s story. Use it as an opportunity to gain understanding of others but be careful of projecting it onto the experiences of others.
“Everyone wants happiness; nobody wants to suffer. Many problems around us are a mental projection of certain negative or unpleasant things. If we analyze our own mental attitude, we may find it quite unbearable. Therefore, a well-balanced mind is very useful and we should try and have a stable mental state.” – Dalai Lama
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Photo Credit of Georgia Ann Parkely: http://blog.tinyprints.com/stationery/birth-announcements-as-lasting-memories/