In case you missed it, the TODAY show recently reported a heartwarming story about a baby photo shoot that went viral. If you’re wondering why infant photos are national news—many people get irked just seeing them fill up their Facebook news feed—it’s because the “baby,” Latrell Higgins, is the 12-year-old adopted son of Kelli Higgins and her husband.

Kelli and her husband already had six children, but chose to adopt Latrell and his sister Chanya after deciding to adopt older children. When Latrell expressed feelings of loss at not having any baby pictures, one of his adopted sisters jokingly suggested that they do an infant photo shoot. Kelli, a professional photographer, took the photos herself. The result is precious and utterly hilarious and speaks of a family that deeply understands love and belonging.

TODAY also reported that, in 2011, over a hundred thousand children were in foster care and awaiting adoption and that the median age of children awaiting adoption is seven. The Marriage and Religion Research Institute, in its Research Synthesis paper Adoption Works Well: a Synthesis of the Literature, has shown adoption to be “life-alteringly beneficial for children.” Though adoption in the first year of life tends to produce the best results for children, “all children will benefit, regardless of their age at placement. Adopted children outperform their non-adopted peers and non-adopted siblings.”

For more on the importance of strong families and belonging, see MARRI’s Mapping America series.