Representation matters! That’s why one adoptive mom reached out to a major toy company with a special request.
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38-year-old Niki Coffman adopted her son, Archer (aka “Archie”) when she couldn’t have kids due to medical complications. His birth mom, KKay, couldn’t care for him at the time, and she had to make the difficult decision to give Archie up for adoption.
“She wasn’t in a great spot and didn’t have a lot of support, but she’s an amazing mom,” Niki said, according to Today. “There are few moments as devastating to me in my life as the moment she put him in our arms. It was so clear what it was costing her for our dreams to come true.”
As a white mom with a black son, Niki has always been especially aware of representation when it comes to children’s toys, books, and games. She even reached out to several companies to let them know that they could use some more diversity in their items.
“I knew how important it would be for us to make sure that he could see himself,” she said.
Fisher-Price caught the mom’s attention with their “Little People” collection. Niki felt that they hit the mark with their wide-ranging representation of different appearances and abilities. However, she still couldn’t find a figurine that looked exactly like her son.
“What is hard to find is a toy with brown skin and red hair,” Niki said. “So I wrote to Fisher Price, thanked them profusely for the work they were doing and then left a P.S. that said something like: ‘If you ever decided to design a Little Person with brown skin and red hair, please let us know.'”
Fisher-Price’s response surprised her in the best way.
First, Gary Weber, the brand’s Vice President of Design, reached out to her with a special message.
“Your story has been shared with everyone who worked on the Little People figures you mentioned, and to say that it made our day would be an understatement,” he wrote. “You and Archer have inspired us! We know that when kids play with Little People they are playing out scenarios they see in the world around them, and feeling like they are a part of that world is critical.”
Next, the company sent Niki and her son an incredible gift. A box full of Little People figurines that looked exactly like Archer turned up at their door!
“The amount of work and effort and care they put in to this toy was astounding,” said the mom. “The thing that just keeps blowing my mind is the number of people who obviously worked on this…it’s hard to describe how impactful it feels, to think of people I don’t know in boardrooms somewhere looking at a picture of my kid and thinking: ‘What else can we do?’ Because as a mom I think about that every day: How else can I smooth the path for him?”
Meanwhile, Archer was equally delighted.
“I got an Archie Army,” he said.
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