Photos of Ancestors and Statues serve as symbols for representing a desired spirit on an altar. You can certainly use a statue or another object to represent your family, if you cannot obtain a photo of your ancestors due to adoption or some other reason. Please keep the statues and photos clean at all times to show respect to the spirits. Castile soap can be used to clean wooden statues as long as you dry them thoroughly after washing. In addition, I dress my wooden statues with oils that represent blessings related to my ancestors, like hyssop oil for protection.
According to some traditions, each deity or ancestor only needs a single representation. My experience has been that this greatly depends on the deity, spiritual entity, or ancestor you are honoring. Photos and statues are a great element to incorporate in your spiritual practice and can elevate your connection to these entities for improved Magickal working. Thanks for reading along. If you have any questions related to photos or statues on your altar, please feel free to comment here or contact me. Have a blessed day!