I’m the Book who takes the pictures. I’m not particularly good at it—I’d like to be better—but I’m the better of the two of us, and I’m interested. Mr. Book says that taking pictures is traditionally the dad’s job, which I’m not sure that I’d picked up on . . . although, come to think of it, my dad is the one with the expensive camera and good eye. Now I’m trying to learn to take better pictures, since I am responsible for the visible record of Joey’s childhood. Anyone want to recommend books or give me hints?

In the last email I got from Ruth, she apologized for not sending any pictures for the last few months. She promised more soon, which would be nice, and told me that they’re really glad to keep getting links to Joey snaps from me—Cricket is interested, I guess. I do send them a few every couple of weeks; I’d love to get pictures on the same schedule, but that’s just not how they roll.

Now I’ve decided to get professional pictures taken of Joey at six months old. My parents had that done for me and my sisters, Mr. Book’s parents had that done for him, and I’m glad now that we have those pictures—so it’s my turn. I found a photographer, picked out a date, gave her a deposit, and now I keep looking at her online galleries and anticipating. I am ridiculously excited by this extravagance; it’s probably dumb for us to spend money on portraiture, but I’m still glad that we’re doing it. Cricket’s moms didn’t opt to get pictures taken. I’ve heard adoptive parents express frustration that the birth family is asking for professional pictures, and for a long time I couldn’t understand why they would keep asking when the adoptive parents were clearly annoyed—then I saw the blurry, unfocused pictures that Ruth and Nora kept sending and I started to get it. The photographer I picked out includes siblings at no additional cost, and I spent some time seriously considering asking Ruth whether they’d like to bring Cricket down on the day and get some nice pictures. Of course, that led me to wish that I could also pick out Cricket’s clothes for this theoretical photo shoot; we want the boys to complement one another, after all. In the end, I know that Ruth and Nora just aren’t interested—and if I can be perfectly honest, I don’t want to have to explain to a photographer why we have a sibling with different parents. I’ve gotten awfully used to answering “Is he your first?” with “Yes.”