Sunday, November 21, 2010

Is that my kid? Do the math.

DH found a photo on the ground in the yard at the end of our driveway. It was a photo from a professional portrait studio of a baby wearing a My First Christmas outfit. DH brought it inside and left it on the counter.  I asked him who it was.  He said he didn't know, but he didn't want to throw it out because he thought there was a chance it could be Phenix.  His thinking was that maybe it fell out of an envelope the social worker had given us with another photo of P from right before he came to live with us.  She'd found that photo in his file while preparing for finalization and gave it to us along with some other info. 

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. 


Wendy said...

I completely understand not being able to get rid of the picture. I wouldn't be able to, either, just in case.

Denver Laura said...

There are some websites online where you can upload a picture of yourself (or one dropped in your yard) and see what you'll look like in 10, 20, 30 years. Maybe you can "age" the picture and see if it's Phenix?

Ms. J said...

I "get" what you are saying in such an acute way . . . which will be even more clear if you read my blog entry of this morning.

I'm glad you did the math and were able to figure it out (apparently). But I'm sorry that you don't have more early photos for your lil guy.

Wanna Bee said...

I totally get it - but i think the ears are a dead give away. Ears don't seem to change that much. My friend got the "finding picture" of her chinese daughter who we did not meet until she was three years old. The picture was taken at the age of 3-4 months and there was no doubt - that is her, you could pick her out of an asian baby lineup. You would recognize him :o).

mygrl said...

I get what your saying. I remember when I found what I thought was pictures of my daughter in the yearbooks before I had contact, I beat myself up because I didn't know if it was her or not. I think I did save one that I thought was her but from learning more about my daughter. I don't think it was her.