Mom adopts toddler. 2 months later, looks closer at photo and says ‘That’s not her’

Laura and Mark Tatum adopted their son Jay through foster care when he was just one year old.

Two years later, the Texan couple decided it was time to expand their loving family and set out to adopt a little girl from Thailand.

They soon knew that they would be welcoming their daughter Malea into their home, and in the months leading up to her adoption the couple received pictures of their soon-to-be daughter. Laura describes how they “lived and breathed for these pictures.”

Finally the day came to welcome Malea to her new home. The family was overjoyed.

But just two months later, Laura received some final photos of her daughter from the foster home she had been adopted from.

The photos left the mom-of-two in tears.

Thankful for my fam today! #WorldAdoptionDay

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Laura, Mark and Jay Tatum are a family from Texas with a lot of love to give. They were overjoyed to welcome daughter Malea into the family a year ago after a lengthy adoption process.

Up until the family was able to adopt Malea, they received pictures of her every 3 months from the foster homes she was in. Laura says that she and her husband “lived and breathed for these photos.”

But a couple of months after the adoption, Laura received some photos that made her break down in tears.

YouTube/Laura Tatum

“We’re her fourth home, so any time we would get pictures they would be in a new home and we’d be like ‘Who are these people?’,” Laura explains in a YouTube clip which has been viewed over 500 000 times.

Laura says that Malea’s foster homes did the best they could to look after her, but that the little girl was still deeply affected by being moved from foster home to foster home.

“Now that I know her spirit and her personality and the joy that she has, I look at these pictures and I just see sadness in her eyes,”  Laura explains.

“Our daughter’s spirit wasn’t able to come out in that environment.”


Laura explains that the pictures she received were taken on the day she and Mark went to meet Malea for the first time.

“She was so afraid and she was so lonely,” Laura explains. “My heart breaks, because I’m just so thankful that she’s my daughter.”


“I just think how amazing it is to look at these pictures and to think about the life she was about to be given.”

Like any parent, Laura worries that there are things that she and Mark could do better, but she is beyond thankful for her children and the life they enjoy together.

“I’m not a perfect mother and we’re not a perfect family, but it’s us. It’s our family,” Laura says.

1st snow face ???❄️

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Laura describes feeling the same way when she looked at pictures of her son shortly before they adopted him.

“The eyes of an orphan, that’s what I see,” she explains. “It’s the eyes of an orphan that needs a mommy and a daddy.”


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Laura is thankful that her daughter is now full of joy and spirit as she embraces life with her big brother and her adoring parents.

“Malea’s sleeping right now, but when she gets up I just want to hold her extra tight, and look in her beautiful eyes that have joy in them now.

“In a few months I can’t imagine how much joy is going to be in her eyes, and in a few years I hope there’s a crazy amount of joy in her eyes and her smile.”

Watch Laura’s emotional story below:

Laura’s words are incredibly powerful and so important to share. There are millions of children in need of a loving home, and it’s hard to think about how they will grow up without the chance to develop and embrace their personalities.

Please help us share Laura’s moving message to show that being a parent isn’t just about delivering a child, it’s about allowing a child to grow to their full potential!

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