It’s A Boy is part of HP's original documentary project, History of Memory, which celebrates the power of printed photos.
Dozens of family photos decorate English teacher Kelli Higgins’ bustling six-bedroom house in Crestview, Florida, where the divorced mother of eight is raising her large family — six biological children and a pair of adopted siblings. Hanging on the walls are framed portraits shot by Higgins, who runs a photography business on the side, of family snapshots and softly-lit photos of infants with tiny fingers and toes.
But one set of pictures in the Higgins family gallery stands out. They are of a boy swaddled in a crisp white baby blanket and flashing a beatific smile. Yet his face is that of a teenager and the feet sticking out of his frilly leg-warmers are comically large. “Here’s my sweet not-so-little newborn!,” Higgins wrote when she posted the tongue-in-cheek birth announcement of her adopted 13-year-old son in 2013. “His name is Latrell and he weighs 112 lbs.”
It’s a Boy, a new short film in HP’s award-winning History of Memory documentary series about the impact of printed images, is scheduled for release on National Adoption Day, November 23, and explores how, after years in foster care, two siblings found a stable home and a new life in a loving family where they thrived. The film is also about how Kelli Higgins’s photographs of her children helped open a long-overdue conversation in the media about older children in the child welfare system who are often stigmatized as “unadoptable.”
“All children need stability, even the older ones who have aged out of the system,” says Higgins. “It makes me so sad to think, Where do they go for big holidays and birthdays? They need that foundation.”