The photo DH found stayed on the counter for almost a week. We couldn't tell if it was Phenix or not and we didn't want to risk throwing it out. More than likely, it's just a photo that fell out of someone's early Christmas card and blew from the mail truck to our front yard. But when you adopt a child older than a newborn, early photos from before the adoption are treasures. Throwing one out would be like tossing your wedding album in the trash. You just don't do it.
Over the past couple of days I've started feeling guilty because I can't tell whether it's Phenix in the photo. It sounds silly, but I've caught myself asking what kind of mother I am that I can't recognize my own kid. Then I remind myself that I've always been horrible in those baby photo contests when you have to match the baby photo to the celebrity. I can't find the similarities between the infant face and adult one. I just can't do it, so this isn't really any different, right? Then I go back to examining the found photo and looking at Phenix and deciding and changing my mind a million times that it definitely is/isn't him. And I ask myself what kind of mother doesn't recognize her own child.
Today I realized that on the back of the photo someone had written the words "6 months." I'd seen the words before, but for reasons I can't explain I didn't really attend to them. I finally did the math and figured out that Phenix was only 3 1/2 months old for his first Christmas. So unless someone labeled the photo incorrectly or had him take a first Christmas photo in March when he actually was 6 months old, Phenix is not the baby in the photo. Other information had pointed in that direction: the baby in the photo was chubbier than P likely was (he had bad acid reflux and was about to be labeled failure to thrive at that age) and the mouth and ears weren't quite right. But the eyes and forehead were similar and I'd never seen him before he was 12 months old so how could I be sure? The "6 months" math seems pretty conclusive.
So the photo isn't sitting on our counter any longer. It's in a drawer in our desk in the office. I still can't bring myself to throw it out. Why? Because. . .well. . .I just can't. You know. Just in case.