Inside The Fascination With “Reborn” Babies
“It’s a comfort,” described Katie Lombard on the TODAY show this morning of her growing collection (she currently has 20) of Reborn Babies. “Toddlers, preemies, newborns; I have a whole nursery room set aside for them.”
What are Reborn Babies you ask? They are the most life-like dolls you’ll ever see, made by women like Lynn Katsaris of Arizona (pictured below) who was recently featured on the season finale of TLC’s My Crazy Obsession. “Realism, that’s the goal,” says Lynn of her dolls. “The more realism there is, the better it is.” The dolls are made with realistic facial expressions and they are even given names which suit their perceived personality and personal traits. The process of creating a reborn doll is referred to as “reborning” and the doll artists are referred to as “reborners.”
Some consumers of reborn dolls (and most are older women) use them to replace a child they once lost, or a child that has grown up. Others collect reborns as they would regular dolls. These dolls are usually taken seriously and are cared for like an infant. The process of buying a reborn can be done to simulate an adoption process and as part of this, the dolls often come with fake birth certificates or adoption certificates. Critics debate whether reborn dolls are harmful and “creepy” and whether they can help in the grieving process and relaxation at all, and department stores have refused to stock them for these reasons. A vinyl doll kit is seen below, shown side by side (unpainted parts and painted “reborn” doll) to give you an example of how surreal these dolls are.
Reborn dolls are usually found online and can be purchased through eBay, artists’ online stores (often termed nurseries) and conventions/fairs. Incomplete crafting “kits” to create your own reborns can also be purchased from various online stores. There is a large price range depending on the quality of the doll but they can sell anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.