LWB Community


An Adoption Story: Lauren Madelyn

With our 2012 Cleft Exchange Trip just around the corner, we are all very excited at the possibility of so many lives being changed. So when we heard from a family who adopted a little girl who was part of our 2010 cleft exchange, we thought it was the perfect time to share exactly what this surgery can do for a child.

When we started our China adoption journey back in 2007, we were thinking things would be fast since at the time referrals were being made in six to eight months. Things in China changed quickly, and the wait went on and on and on. Fast forward to August of 2010. We decided that it was time to think about switching to the special needs program in hopes of speeding things up. We did tons of research, met with a doctor, and decided to move forward. We filled out a list of needs we felt we could handle and contacted our agency to let them know we would like to join the special needs program and submitted a list of medical needs we felt we could handle.

My husband and I sat down on October 23, 2010 and logged on to the Love Without Boundaries blog and saw this post, Day Six of the 2010 Cleft Surgery Trip. The first picture of a baby girl showing her before and after photo was amazing! We continued looking through the posting and couldn’t get over the change a simple surgery could provide a child. My heart opened with joy for these children. I continued going to the LWB site and was, and still am, amazed at the wonderful things they are doing for the children in China.

On December 22, 2010 our phone rang, and I heard those eight words we had longed to hear for almost four years…”We think we have a referral for you!” We were told that she had cleft lip and palate and that her lip repair had been completed. Once we got her file, reviewed it and accepted her referral, an unexpected miracle happened. I received an email from another adoptive mother who thought that our new daughter might have had her lip repair completed by the Love Without Boundaries Cleft team. She told me to go to the website and look at the first baby listed on the before and after post. I obviously remembered looking through all the photos with Mark and how that post was what really opened our hearts to cleft lip and palate. I, of course, went to the same link, and there she was, the first baby shown in all the before and after photos. I got so emotional and wondered, was this really her? This is the photo we looked at in October, could this really be happening? It was confirmed that YES, the baby girl that opened our hearts was indeed the daughter that God had chosen for us! He was working all along in our adoption journey!

We traveled to China and adopted Lauren on April 10, 2010. We were given a beautiful daughter, and she was given a mommy, daddy and an eight-year-old sister who adores her!

Lauren has been with us here in Virginia almost one year and is an amazingly sweet, smart, healthy and active toddler. Lauren’s palate repair was completed in July, 2011, and she came through it with flying colors. I can honestly say that I don’t know where she would be today if it wasn’t for Love Without Boundaries! We will always be grateful to the generosity of those who donated the money to pay for her surgery, the doctors and nurses who loved on her to get her through the pain, and the entire LWB team that put this cleft trip together. We felt so moved by our LWB story that when we gave Lauren her name, we decided to honor LWB by giving her the middle name of “Madelyn,” the name they gave her during her life changing surgery.

With all our love and thanks,
Mark, Kathleen, Emma and Lauren Madelyn Pahls

Sponsors are still needed to help several children receive surgery during this year’s Cleft Exchange Trip. Please take a moment to see their faces here and see if you can help them find the happy ending that Lauren Madelyn has found!

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