The story of Carlina White, stolen from a Harlem hospital at 19 days old and reunited with her parents at 23 years old, has most parents riveted today. But for all the amazing feel good stuff that comes out of it, I can't help coming back to one fact. It was a baby picture that brought Carlina home to her Mom and Dad.
Suspecting she wasn't really her parents' kid, the girl renamed Njedra Nance started poring through missing children files. She came up with photos of Carlina Renae White -- one provided by Joy White and Carl Tyson after their baby girl went missing and another "age progressed" picture. According to a detective on the Today Show this morning, she immediately said, "Wow, that looks like me."
Cue the tears. You know you've got 'em coming! But you might want to finish before you start rooting around for your old baby pictures to reminisce.
I don't know about you, but I pulled out a huge pile of baby pictures after my daughter was born. Born looking an awful lot like her father -- the so-called "caveman's paternity test" -- I wanted to find some sign that she looked like me. It didn't work; she was still her father through and through at that point.
Even more shocking was how little I saw of myself in them. I've still got the blue eyes, but the blond hair has gone dark, the snub nose replaced by something more bulbous. It's me alright -- I can guarantee I am my parents' daughter in attitude alone if need be. But if it wasn't for being raised by a mother who dabbled in photography and who made looking at albums a favorite pastime for me as a child, I don't know that I'd be able to pick my baby photo out of a lineup. And no knock on White and Tyson, but my baby photos are much clearer than the grainy black and white image above, the photo that Njedra/Carlina was able to pick out as a photo of her less-than-a-month-old self on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children site.
Heck, my daughter is only 5, and already her baby pictures look like another kid. Her looks have shifted drastically from resembling my husband to borrowing more heavily from my side of the family. I have to depend on Facebook pictures of his cousin's daughter -- who is just a few months older than mine -- to catch the pieces that come from the Sager side.
Frankly, my amazement just adds to the mushy gushy good feelings of this story. Because after everything that went so wrong for Carlina White, it's a sheer miracle that she was able to see herself in those photos ... and that her mom (her REAL mom) now sees a younger version of herself in Carlina. Seeing the giant red "located" across the top of that photo is the only thing that could make the picture any better.
Did this story send you running for the baby pictures?