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Adoption Blog: Our Family Grows With Love

A Thousand Words

A picture says a thousand words -- isn't that what they say? As you may have read in my previous blog post, Capturing My Son's Moments, I am something of a "mamarazzi." If someone values a photograph, it's this girl. So, you can imagine how I felt, when, for the first time in all of my 35 years, I saw a baby picture of myself. 

I was adopted at age four with two of my biological siblings. Another sister and brother were adopted by another family. Though our families had kept in touch as best they could over the years, we didn't know that this oldest sister had baby pictures of all of us, taken before our adoptions -- until she posted them on Facebook and tagged us in them. She didn't know that we'd never seen these pictures before, either. To say we were incredibly surprised to see them is an understatement! There I was, maybe a year and a half old, sitting on Santa's lap. WOW. It was something I had always wanted -- to see baby pictures of myself. All my life I'd wondered what I looked like as a baby. But when I actually saw that picture, I found it very difficult to look at.

At first I couldn't put my finger on what upset me about the picture. Was it that I had had to wait so long to finally see it? Was it that I didn't recognize myself, never having seen any other photos of myself at that age? Was it that it was photographic evidence of a life, that by the grace of God, I have few memories of? No, it wasn't any of those things. It was the way we looked. All of us. We looked so sad. There was a handful of pictures, and in every picture we all look sad. My heart broke for my siblings and my one-and-a-half-year-old self. Yes, a picture really does speak a thousand words.

I have copies of those pictures saved on my computer. I look at them from time to time, and, overall, I am happy to finally have a baby picture of myself. But, I am still surprised at the emotions seeing those pictures stirred up. I don't have the pictures displayed anywhere in my house, and I likely never will. They don't represent the life that I have lived. They represent a period of time before my life really began.

This whole experience came full circle for me recently, as I was sorting through all photos we've snapped of our son, Max, over the last three years. The moments we have captured are truly amazing. As I browsed the photos, I took in every little detail -- my son's eyelashes that go on and on, eyes so dark brown they are like liquid pools of chocolate. In one photo he has a scraped knee, a sure sign that summer had arrived in his little world. In another, his skin is toasted tan from hours of outdoor play. In the most recent photos, his slim little body has stretched out, erasing all signs of the baby he was just a year before.

But what really strikes me about these photos is…my boy looks happy…truly, deep down, happy. You can see it in the way he throws his head back and laughs all the way from his belly. You can see it in the little smirk he is sporting, a sure sign he is up to something! You can see it in those deep, dark brown eyes, the way they shine. I look at these beautiful pictures, and I see happiness in every inch of his little body. He exudes it. I look at these pictures, and see exactly what I want his childhood to be: Happy. Truly happy.

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Wow, that’s intense. I have a couple of pictures of my son’s mommy Jenny (his birth mom) when she was a baby before she was sent to foster care and I never really thought about it before but she looks sad too. Unfortunately she never got adopted and her whole life has been sad. I’m glad you had the opportunity to be loved.

By carolrn on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 5:23 pm.


Thank you for your feedback! How sad that Jenny was never adopted. I feel so lucky that my siblings and I were, especially given I was already four years of age at the time of my adoption. A lot of families would have thought we were too old to adopt at the point in time. I am very blessed indeed. smile

By Maximilian's Mommy on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

We adopted our daughter almost two years ago at 8 1/2 months old from China.  We were fortunate enough to get some pictures of her taken at about 7 months old with her foster family.  It is remarkable to see not a single smile in any of them from a child that loves to laugh, smile and play now.  Those early pictures really can speak volumes!  Thanks for sharing your story!

By cgodsey007 on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm.

I really want to thank you for this post.  You have a real gift, and I appreciate you sharing such a personal story.

By jszmom on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm.

cgodsey007 - So glad to hear your sweet little lady loves to laugh and smail and play now! Keep taking those pictures of her, she will love to look at them when she is older. smile

jandsmom - Thank you so much for your kind words! Sharing this story was a little difficult for me, more difficult than some of the other blog post I have written. I am so glad you enjoyed it! smile

By Maximilian's Mommy on Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 3:41 pm.

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