Little Pictures

He became a difficult child, rebellious. Lost. By thirteen, he found himself in an after-school program for rowdy kids, led by a woman.

He was twelve years old. He’d had more than a few foster parents. He bounced from foster homes like a tennis ball.

Sometimes, it seemed like he lived out of a suitcase.

In his world he was ancient. People don’t adopt older kids. They want younger, cuter kids. Not those on the edge of puberty.

That year, his fosters forgot about his birthday. None of his teachers mentioned it, either. He bawled into his pillow. He felt so alone it stung his chest.

When everyone went to sleep that night, he walked out the door and decided not to go back. He didn’t know where he was going. Twelve-year-olds seldom do.

He wandered through a dark neighborhood for hours. He sat on a curb. He got scared. He turned around and headed for home. The police found him first.

They transferred him.

He became a difficult child, rebellious. Lost. By thirteen, he found himself in an after-school program for rowdy kids, led by a woman.

She was outgoing. She talked too much. She smiled too much. She helped the kids make art, and taught them to sing in four-part harmony. She read books aloud.

He resisted her. He was disobedient, quiet. So, she approached him one day with soft words.

And, she handed him a scrapbook. “Here,” she said. “I brought this especially for you.”


Inside were hundreds of Polaroids. The pictures all had the same girl in them. The girl was doing all sorts of things. The beach, amusement parks, playing, grinning, running, wearing graduation gowns.

The girl in the pictures aged with each photo. In the newer photos, she was riding scooters, visiting Paris, cheering at horse races.

“Those are pictures of me,” she said.


She told him she’d grown up in foster care. She told him about the counselor who suggested she make a scrapbook of her life when she was just a little girl.

“But, why?” he said.

“Because, this is my life. And these are my memories.”

Then, she handed him a blank photo album. It was leatherbound. Red.

“Let’s get started,” she said.

She pointed a camera at him and pressed the button.

“We’ve got work to do,” she remarked. “If we’re gonna fill your book.”

Well, lucky for him that she helped. She snapped lots of photos over the years.

There he is, holding a bat, eating pizza, fishing on a pier. He’s riding a bike. He’s at the beach. There he is with her. They’re renting movies, watching the television in their PJ’s. They’re dressed up for church.

Photos of the basketball playoffs. Summer camp. Birthdays. High-school graduation. College. There he is at his wedding. There she is on the front row.

There are recent photos, too. The one of his first daughter—who is a toddler now. She took that photo in the delivery room. And that toddler calls her “Bee Bee.”

The boy is no boy. He’s a man. He has a nice life, and a pretty family. And she is prouder than anyone on this earth could be.

Maybe that’s why she’s in most of his photos. Maybe that’s why she does this.

Maybe that’s why he’s been calling her “Mother” ever since she signed those papers so many years ago.



  1. Carol Goodson - January 6, 2018 10:26 am


  2. CaroG87 - January 6, 2018 11:33 am


  3. ponder304 - January 6, 2018 12:30 pm

    How wonderful he has a mother who understands. Adoption is so important for all who feel unloved.

  4. Snoopy - January 6, 2018 12:34 pm

    ?? What a beautiful ending! ♥️

  5. Marilyn - January 6, 2018 12:46 pm

    Adoption is common in my immediate and extended family, there are four of us. I remember a poem from years ago that pretty much sums it up: “Not flesh of my flesh, or bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute….you didn’t grow under my heart but in it.” Love your post Sean, especially this one. ❤️

    • Diane Rinaldi - March 28, 2018 11:35 am

      I love the poem – copied it down – we have adopted 3 from the foster system and i know, for sure, God put them in my heart before I ever met them ???

  6. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - January 6, 2018 12:55 pm

    WOW!! That’s all I can say!

  7. Dianne - January 6, 2018 2:04 pm

    A special woman, an angel for sure.

  8. Jack Darnell - January 6, 2018 2:10 pm

    In the vernacular of my grandson, SWEET!

  9. Martha Anne Gardner - January 6, 2018 3:48 pm

    Thank you for helping our hearts stay tender in the hardness of life and for reminding us that we can make a difference even in the midst of our own struggles.

  10. Jan - January 6, 2018 4:33 pm

    Another day, another blessing courtesy of Sean! Thank you!

  11. Connie Vice - January 6, 2018 4:35 pm

    This made me cry in my coffee…thank you

  12. Alice cooper - January 6, 2018 5:27 pm

    You did it again!!!tears…but of JOY

  13. Carlin Brooks - January 6, 2018 6:17 pm

    Great again.

  14. Barbara Weldon - January 6, 2018 7:14 pm

    I’ll say it over and over!!!! You are a very Blessed and Talented writer!!!! Love your stories..they make my Heart Smile!!!!!

  15. Pamela McEachern - January 6, 2018 7:34 pm

    I am in awe of the Heros that come into our lives and give us unconditional love. God Bless each one and a very dear man that gives us insight to open our hearts for our fellow man.
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  16. Stuart Mark - January 6, 2018 8:48 pm

    Dammit Sean. If you’re going to make my cry every time I read you then I’m just going to have to quit. ?. God bless you.

  17. Gloria Wethington - January 6, 2018 9:14 pm

    Big, big grin when I finished this one! People can be life changing, life giving! Beautiful!

  18. Simple Thyme Prims - January 6, 2018 10:47 pm

    Wonderful memories!

  19. karen whitehead - January 6, 2018 11:31 pm

    I love your stories. They always make me smile and sometimes even being a tear to my eye. This one did.

  20. Debra - January 7, 2018 12:17 am

    My first tears for the new year. Happy New Year, Sean.

  21. Marion Pitts - January 7, 2018 1:46 am

    I liked this story very much. So glad there was someone out there for this young boy/man. Wish there were someone for every child. Will be praying about that.
    Thank you.

  22. muthahun - January 7, 2018 3:23 am

    This and the Polar Express in the same day? I have little choice but to BELIEVE.

  23. Lucretia - January 7, 2018 6:08 am

    Thank you, Sean. I needed this. Lucretis

  24. Susan Hammett Poole - January 7, 2018 9:03 am

    Hot tears welling up in my eyes. This just HAD to end well, and thankfully it did. Beautiful.Thank you, Sean.

  25. Pamela Verbel - January 7, 2018 2:49 pm

    Touched my heart.

  26. Linda Allen - January 7, 2018 6:12 pm

    Oh Sean, you have such a gift of storytelling. I loved this one. Thank you.

  27. Jody - January 9, 2018 3:22 pm


  28. Cathy Callender - March 28, 2018 10:40 am

    You have a gift Sir, for finding angels, recognizing them and sharing them with each of us! Thank you!

  29. Judy - March 28, 2018 1:59 pm

    I could hardly finish reading because of the tears! Thank you !


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