A Reborn, Race Relations, and the Human Mind

Guys, I have a dilemma. Hoping to get some different points of view or opinions on this.

Some of you may know from my previous posts that my mission is purchasing a first reborn for my elderly mother.
Mom may be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia (it runs strongly on both sides of her family), and I’m hoping a reborn might provide some peaceful “company” as she ages.

I haven’t yet posted her full list of preferences yet. That doesn’t matter for this conversation.

It is important to note that she has stated, “any color :slight_smile:”. Being warmly accepting of people of all races is literally part of her religion. Mom is a social butterfly currently isolated due to Coved19. :two_hearts:

Let’s avoid making this political, it certainly isn’t intended to be in any way despite the title.

She has also chosen not to make any more choices besides her original list which was made during a moment of clarity. The final decision is mine.

I have the opportunity to purchase an attractive reborn with a sculpt that Mom likes that is within my price range.

It’s an AA baby. Our family is mainly Caucasian.

I know that now, Mom will be thrilled with her new baby doll no matter what it looks like. It may or may not look like her children and grands, and that’s okay!

But what about down the line, as she loses her mind? Might she stress that this child’s parents haven’t returned for them? If her doll doesn’t resemble her family in the most basic way, might that cause more anxiety rather than alleviate it?

I’ve heard that seniors can stress over a crying reborn being inconsolable, or worried over an open eyed doll not sleeping.

Is it important for a mentally declining person to see their reborn as potentially part of their family memories?

I hate the idea of her telling caretakers that she hopes this baby’s parents are coming to get her soon, or something to that effect just because it doesn’t look like us.

I want something that will please her long term. Must I choose a white doll in order to do so?

I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this! I hope this isn’t too controversial. Just trying to do the right thing. :grimacing:


My mom’s friend had a reborn for her mom when she was suffering with dementia and she got her an AA baby. One time other ladies in the nursing home were whispering about her having a baby and she yelled at them “What? Is it because my baby is black and I’m white? Grow up!”. So I think it’s different for every person. I gave a doll to a close family friend with late stage dementia and it had open eyes but it never bothered her that it didn’t sleep. Dementia and Alzheimers are so unpredictable you can never really know, but I think she’ll be happy to just have a baby in general!


I work people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, she is not going to care about the babies look at all as long the baby is with her . She won’t mind gender or race at all .


I think it’s wonderful that you have the skills to think ahead and prepare for the different obstacles that may or may not come along. Bravo to you, your mom is very fortunate to have you. However, I honestly don’t think she will care about the race of that baby. She’s going to bond with that baby and love it and that is all that will matter. :revolving_hearts:


I think people tend to bond with a baby because there is something about it that speaks to their heart. Babies painted in deep skin tones are beautiful and well collected by people of all different race and ethnicity.

I am sure your mom will be happy with what ever baby you find for her.

I have made babies specifically for therapy (Autism spectrum, ADD, PTSD, loneliness, and memory care) across the board I would say to choose a sleeping baby with a calm face. If your mom is physically well (strong) go with a baby normally weighted, leave out the Paci (it will be the first thing to get lost and if she is in a nursing home no magnet).

If she is frail or tiny have the artist lighten it up a bit.

The weight is really comforting for people using it for therapy but older clients get tired of holding a heavy baby easily, may set it down and it may get lost.

I know this is going to sound absolutely crazy but its something I ask people to do, my therapist and I have talked about it (I am lucky to have insurance that covers therapy and I take advantage of it because for me it is like having a Pap smear or getting your teeth cleaned, you have to take good care of all your parts). So what I would do is once you get the baby buy new clothes for it (you don’t need to put a diaper on it, its going to get lost, if you do make it a cloth diaper with Velcro, easy to put on and take off) A simple dressing gown (snaps and buttons are frustrating for memory patients). Wash the new clothes in your laundry soap, dress the baby and sleep with it, hold it, keep it close to you so that it absorbs your scent.

You moms brain instinctively knows the scent of you, it is imprinted. She may forget your name, she may not recognize you as an adult some days but your scent is something she will never forget no matter how old you get, it may not be something she can name but it will comfort her.

She will find comfort in the landmarks of a baby, its primitive thinking, the weight, the size, the ratios. Don’t worry about skin color.

If she is not in a lucid place don’t expect for her to understand the baby at first.

I have had clients actually be confused for a minute. What always works, and I mean always, is to say, “this is ----------” pick a pleasant name, she is all alone can you hold her for a while.

Something kicks in.

She may forget about the baby and need to be reintroduced from time to time. (Label it write her name in sharpie on the body of the doll).

Oh, and other patients will try to snag it, its pretty funny and totally sweet.

This is such a loving thing to do.


What a lovely gift for your mom, I work with the elderly with Dementia & Alzheimer’s also and I really don’t think it will make a difference what colour baby is, it will be hers regardless, they also don’t always have concept of time so as her illness progresses she possibly won’t remember that baby hasn’t slept much because a day can seem like 5 minutes to them x


Thanks for sharing this story!:grin:

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Ty, that makes me feel better.

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Thank-you for your kind words. I hope she loves it.


So much to think about! I hadn’t considered the part about my personal scent. Whatever reborn I get for her will come to me first, so I may do that.

The phrase to use in case of confusion is so useful to know! I’ll be sure to share it with others when/if the topic comes up.

Personally I have more dark skinned dolls in my own collection, some vintage, antique, and antique replicas. Some that probably wouldn’t be sold in some places as of recently because of looking like offensive stereotypes. But I think they have beautiful faces/skin/hair.

I do expect others to try to steal it if she ends up in a care facility. I know that kind of thing happens. Will make sure to label it. Maybe sew on a flat tag on the body or something.

Thank-you for such a long and thoughtful response!



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They will try to hold it, and such, others, I mean. But, I think they will fight back for that baby. I knew a lady in a nursing home who had a stuffed bear. Nothing special really, except to her. It was HER baby. :slight_smile: She carried it everywhere. Her family had to take it and wash it one time, and she looked for her baby. When it came back, she would not even let others hold it, not even for a minute. :slight_smile: She was afraid it would go away again. I had another friend in the same nursing home (these I talk about all had dementia) who had lost a baby boy when he was a baby. Not sure just how old he was. He was the only son she had. Well, sometimes when I would leave her room, she would ask me to “check on the baby in the high chair.” So, I would… yes, I made motions – and then I would tell her he was fine. She was OK. She didn’t even have a physical doll. Just her memory. But, it is sweet to interact with them, to me anyway, in their memories. :slight_smile: Some would try to bring them into the present, but that is not a good thing to do at all. You Mom will be a happy lady if she has you to take care of her and watch for her. I know that if she is in a nursing home, or other care facility, that you and others will most likely be visiting her. That will give you opportunities to check on her and her baby. To make sure it is still with her. If it isn’t there at some point, the nurses may have it put away for her after some other patient took it, maybe thinking it was their baby. :slight_smile: Too bad they can’t all have one each.


So far, Mom still lives at home with my Dad. I no longer do. I haven’t been back since moving out of state about four years ago. Before that, I was mainly the one making sure she was alright. Now my Dad takes a more active role in that. She did have to spend some time in a care facility a few years ago after needing nursing care following an injury. She has healed well physically from that, lots of health issues, but mostly we are concerned about her mental decline. My parents will be celebrating an anniversary this month, God willing. I think it’s 56 years now?


Love hearing these stories! Thanks!


When I donated some babies to the Alzheimer’s center here in my town they requested open eye babies. I was told they get upset when their babies won’t wake up. I visited and it seemed when the baby was laying down they would think it was asleep even if the eyes were open. But when they had it up playing with it they would often remark about how she was looking at them with her “bright eyes”. So I think awake is best.

I was also told that if a person bonds with a doll when they know it is a doll that when they reach the point they don’t know it is a doll they will be comforted by it because it is their baby. They will recognize it as such. So in that case I would say race would not matter.


I like both kids of dolls, awake and asleep. I do feel like I want to look at an awake doll longer.

But Mom has requested an asleep doll. I do wonder if she might be more willing to interact more with one with open eyes…

That’s so interesting about the bonding.


If she wants a sleeping one she will bond to it and probably be fine with it. If not later on you can change it out for an awake one.


Perhaps. Kind of hoping it’s a one time purchase! Reborns are definitely luxury items. I’ll be paying more for her reborn than my doll collection combined.

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I thought you were making her one.

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Oh, I’d be less concerned if I could just do my own and replace them. I’m a little crafty, but have no reborning experience. :slightly_smiling_face: