This is a tough one to talk about because I'm sure it is an emotional image to both the photographer and to the people it was done for. I'm sure that the parents of this image really loved it.
It appears that this was a spur of the moment idea that grew from a seed while doing a portrait shoot for this newly adopted child, that arrived while her new father was serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. I say that because, while I like the idea and can see the vision, there are quite a few little things that really turn me off as a non-attached viewer of this photograph.
These are in the order that I noticed them. Whether that carries any importance or not is up to you to decide.
1. Grab an iron. Iron the flag. It looks like it just came out of the package and the creases really stand out.
2. The flag is not parallel to the focal plane of the camera, causing the lines to converge. They aren't parallel to the edges of the frame.
3. I don't like the way the flag bleeds past the edges of the frame. Partial stars sticking into the frame and half a stripe on the right hand side, and a missing stripe on the left hand side are distracting at the least.
4. The toe of the bag that the child is in sticks into the blue field of stars.
5. This one is last; the baby in the bag kind of gives me the creeps.
1. The lighting is very nice. Soft and even.
2. The colors are very nicely rendered. I might brighten the white just a bit, but it is certainly very nice as it is.
3. I'm sure that the parents loved it, and that is important.
What I would suggest:
Forgive my clumsy cutting and pasting, but believe me, this looks better than my clumsy cloning did.
Keeping the child in the bag, I would include the entire field of stars on the left and eliminate the partial stripes that were beneath it. Include all the stripes on the right. This balances the background. You can see how my "nicely ironed" flag looks much cleaner. Make sure that the flag is completely parallel with the focal plane of the camera to make sure that none of the lines are converging. I would also raise the child up, so that she was mostly above the horizontal center line, effectively splitting this image into three parts. make sure you keep her toes out of the blue.
There is a lot of symbolism in this image, and symbolism is always open to interpretation. I think I would have laid the flag down flat and let the child lay on it, wrapping it gently over her body to symbolize the way that she would be protected and comforted. In this presentation, with the flag behind and the child in a bag (constrained), I get a sense of foreboding and doom, like the overwhelming power of the flag (government) is hovering over her.
Bottom Line: Good idea that I'm sure the parents loved. My nit-pickiness is only to help you think of these things in the future. Take your time and prepare. Don't rush. Symbolically, my interpretation is just that, only my interpretation and feeling. Others, including the parents and you might just as accurately feel differently, and since it really isn't an image for public display, the interpretation of the parents is the one that matters here. But don't discount the compositional and preparational issues just because the parents like it. This is where you will really shine.