Tuesday, December 24, 2002

No baby pictures? No problem.

Well, here's one way to tackle the dreaded "baby picture project." If you're tired of having to educate educators as to why asking for baby pictures from everyone might not be fair to adopted children (and any child who reasonably might not have such a snapshot, including children whose mothers are chronically disorganized and those who always forget the camera), tired of creating or executing alternate assignments, tired of torpedo-ing time-honored school traditions that everybody clings to but you -- if you've got a great kid but no baby pictures thereof, consider investing in the fine art of photo regression. Here's one artist with an Internet site who'll consider conceptualizing what your child looked like as a baby and, for a few hundred bucks, provide you with 8x10 glossies. Maybe this will give your child an awareness of having been a baby that he or she may be lacking. Maybe this will give him or her a privacy-preserving way of handling schoolmates' questions. Maybe it will just give you an easy out from discomfiting assignments.

And maybe it's all just a little bit creepy. Some people claim that their kids have real concerns and regrets about the lack of documentation of their younger years, and that may be. I can't really argue with anything that increases a child's sense of selfhood. But I wonder if it's emotionally sound to fake these things -- to use technology to pretend that missing pieces are really there. It may be a pretty picture, and it may be fun to imagine, but it's still a lie. And the fewer of those we tell our children -- and the fewer we tell as adoptive families -- the better we'll be in the long run, I think.

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