“The Best Picture I Never Took”
– Stan Grossfeld
It’s a familiar refrain: kids having kids. There’s an unexpected twist here, however. Christina and Allan “are white kids in a nice town,” says Holly Mangum, the couple’s midwife in Sanford, Maine. Although much attention has been paid to high rates of out-of-wedlock births among black inner-city teenagers, it is the birth rate among white unmarried teenagers that has risen fastest in recent years. The story of Allan and Christina is of a changing America. One million American teenagers get pregnant each year, giving the United States the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the developed world. Half of those pregnancies result in either miscarriages or abortions, but the 500,000 that come to term mean that there is a baby born to a teenage mother every minute.

Christina Nolan and Allan Orzechowski, who were 14 and 16 years old when their daughter, Kasondra, was born.

Allan and Christina shortly before the birth of Kasondra.

Kasondra and her parents during a photo-portrait session at a Sanford department store.

Allan and Christina during prenatal exam at Our Birthing Service, in Sanford, Maine.

At an arcade at the Maine Mall, in South Portland, Allan and Christina play a video game.

While Christina naps in the couple’s temporary home in the basement of Allan’s mother’s house, Allan packs for one of several moves the couple will make in Sanford.

Christina prepares to say good-bye to her mother before moving with Allan from Maine to upstate New York.

Moving day.

Stan Grossfeld is a 1992 Nieman Fellow.

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