Sometimes we get very honest letters from people who say they find it too difficult to look at photos of babies with unrepaired cleft lip. We work with so many babies with cleft that we don’t even really see it anymore. Instead, we just see their gorgeous eyes and smiles…like Zeke, a current resident of our Anhui Cleft Healing Home (ACHH), grinning below. We’ve always felt that sharing photos helps people see the kids for the beautiful souls they are.
We recently posted Zeke’s photo on our Facebook page and asked our readers for their thoughts on seeing photos like this. We were so thrilled with and moved by the comments that we received that we wanted to share some excerpts here!
The search for a “perfect” look should never be larger than that of deepest happiness. Keep posting “non-perfect” photos of real happy babies!!
The first time I saw my son’s beautiful little face, I didn’t notice his bilateral cleft….all I saw was the face on an angel. I took him in my arms, buried my head into his shoulder and choking back the tears, I whispered to him “I will never, ever let you go.” Cleft babies have the biggest and best smiles….Every single one of them is a picture drawn by angels.
If these little children can be so joyous and full of life in spite of their physical needs, I have no business feeling uncomfortable!
Adam, a resident at our Henan Cleft Healing Home
We brought home our daughter with her cleft lip and palate unrepaired. The night before her lip surgery we took about 100 photos of her laughing, smiling beautiful mouth. People in the U.S. don’t have the chance to see a cleft lip because our health care is good here and it is repaired in infancy. But there are so many children in need of the surgery. Keep on making people aware.
Don’t stop posting!!! It helped us become more aware of the cleft-affected children, and we found our daughter whose picture was before her surgery. We didn’t find out until after we received pre-approval that she had it repaired. We knew she was beautiful from the minute we saw her!
My son was born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. I remember looking at his referral picture for the first time and thinking I had just viewed the most beautiful little face ever. I still do.
Alicia from Anhui Cleft Healing Home
I like when people are interested in the before & after, because they can see that with a relatively simple surgery, that baby with the lip they find too painful or revolting to look at is still a beautiful baby.
It was difficult to look at our daughter’s first photos (unrepaired cleft), but it is so very important to post those photos. Some orphanage directors will NOT release a child’s file for adoption unless their lip is repaired. I think there reasoning is that the child will not be chosen if they “look that way.” So when folks donate for repair surgeries they are literally changing the future of a child and the blessed family that has the honor of adopting him or her.
People need to see it to know the reality. I’d never seen an unrepaired lip until I got into adoption. We need to know there are older kids who’ve gone their whole lives with unrepaired cleft lips & palates.
Shayna from Anhui Cleft Healing Home
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Thank you to our Facebook readers to expressing their thoughts so eloquently. These beautiful souls capture our hearts, and it is our privilege to be able to help them.