Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Awareness/Wordfull (with wordless parts!) Wednesday.....and Happiness is!

I'm piggybacking Wordless/Wordfull Wednesday this week, as Diamond Potential has started "Awareness Wednesday....and I thought the two would fit together nicely!

So, for my part this week, I want to talk about Craniofacial Awareness.

I am a Pathfinder for Ameriface. My daughter was born with an orofacial cleft, specifically a wide unilateral cleft lip and palate. My daughter is in good company though.....according to the CDC, orofacial clefts are the most commonly occurring birth anomaly, surfacing in approximately 1 out of ever 600 births.

The thing to keep in mind though, is that at ANY time, ANYONE can become a craniofacial patient! Ameriface not only helps those with congenital anomalies, buy also those of us who have become craniofacial patients due to accidents, diseases, animal bites, etc....

What is a Pathfinder, you ask? According to Ameriface's website, "The Pathfinder Outreach Network is a system of networking families and individuals whose lives are touched by congenital and acquired facial differences...and much more. Pathfinders work closely with medical and other professionals to bring support and information to families of craniofacial patients. Volunteers offer a shoulder to lean on, educational materials, and referrals to local, state and federal services designed to enhance the care they get from their medical teams. Most of all, they understand what it's like to make this journey."

So, are you surprised, with the statistics so high, that you don't know anyone who was born with a cleft? Well, I'm sure there's a few people you might be familiar with!

Stacy Keach
as was Cheech Marin
Peyton Manning
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Carmit Bachar
Tom Brokaw

as well as some people in history
King Tut
Doc Holiday
and Abe Lincoln's son, Tad

The thing with clefts is, the cosmetic aspect is just one part of the equation. Clefts affect speech, eating, and breathing..... things we often don't think about. Our kids have incredible strength, and go through countless surgeries and years upon years of orthodontia all before they are fully grown.

So, with that, let me encourage people to...

Please! Come up to me and smile at my baby. Her anatomy may be different, but she's a little person, and my pride and joy.

Please (kindly) ask questions! Don't just stare at her cleft, her appliance, or her scars! When she has to wear arm immobilizers after a surgery, don't glare at me! I swear, her arms aren't broken....she's just recovering from a surgery and can't be allowed to touch her mouth!

A beautiful older woman in our local supermarket brought me to tears one day when S was laughing at my silly faces. All she said was, "My! What a beautiful smile she has!"

Sometimes a simple act of kindness can mean more than you can ever imagine to someone else.

Thanks to Diamond Potential, Live and Love Outloud, Seven Clown Circus,and A Beautiful Mess for hosting!

Oh yeah, and Happiness? Oh I know what Happiness is!
Happiness Is...

Watching my children learn...

Seeing them learn to appreciate their Grandparents....

Afternoon sibling giggle-fests!

Random upside-down Spiderman kisses...

and, of course.... PIGGYTOES!


carlotta said...

Thanks for participating!

This post was so sweet - and very informative. I'm so sorry that you daughter has go through this. And she *does* have a beautiful smile. :)

m&msmommy said...

Your daughter is ADORABLE! I did not know one of my all-time favorite quarterbacks (Peyton Manning) was born with a cleft!

And piggies, you have to LOVE baby/kid piggies! :)

Great pics!

alicia said...

Thanks so much for sharing and educating us. Your daughter is beautiful. Happy WW!

Buckeroomama said...

I`m glad you took time out to write about craniofacial patients. A good friend`s daughter was born with facial clefts and sometimes the insensitivity that people have shown towards her and her parents is owing to ignorance.

Your daughter DOES have a very beautiful smile. :)

bigguysmama said...

Ah!!! I love piggies!! What a great post! Friends from church have a daughter that had her surgery pretty soon after birth. Amazing what doctors can do. Interesting list of people who have clefts!

~Mimi @ Woven by Words

Courtney said...

such a great post. very touching! I love the first pic. Truly precious!

Marissa said...

your post just moved me to tears...just beautiful. You have a beautiful family and your kiddos smiles are contagious :) Thanks for raising awareness to me and others. Found you through chubby cheeks thinks and SO glad that I did!

New follower here!

Anastasia, the passion fruit... :) said...

This story made me cry! If I wouldn't read that she had that abnormality, I wouldn't even guess that there is something wrong with her beautiful smile - she is adorable!

Holly said...

What a beautiful child and story. Looks like she is in good company!! We have a neighbor that has been going through this with her daughter. She, too, is a sweetheart with the personality of an angel.

You bring up such an important point. Why are so many ready to jump on the accusing side of a situation? People we've never met take a half-glance at something and jump to the wrong conclusions. Posts like this may help people open their eyes to a bigger picture of empathy and compassion.

Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your beautiful daughter, life, pictures, post with us! (((HUGS)))

The Clip Cafe said...

My cousins daughter was born with a double cleft palate and some things else ( can't remember the name) it is certainly an ordeal for all. It amazes me how well the children cope through all the pain of operations etc. You have a lovely family, you can see by the pics how close you all are :-) Your children are delightful! Thanks for visiting my blog :-)

The Clip Cafe said...

My cousins daughter was born with a double cleft palate and some things else ( can't remember the name) it is certainly an ordeal for all. It amazes me how well the children cope through all the pain of operations etc. You have a lovely family, you can see by the pics how close you all are :-) Your children are delightful! Thanks for visiting my blog :-)

Sara said...

Wow, what a beautiful family. Thank you for such a special post, you have had your hands full and it appears your heart as well.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful little girl! Thanks for the lovely and informative post.

Sharon Cohen said...

My daughter was born with incomplete cleft palate - the palate was closed but the lip/nose was deformed. That was 31 years ago this Friday. She is the most remarkable woman I have ever known - strong yet tender; compassionate yet firm - mature decades before her time. But the most striking this about her? She is stunningly beautiful. Like your daughter. There is something magical about the laughter and the joy in her eyes; the way her whole face engages and betrays her emotion. It is wonderful, dramatic and magnetic.

The blessing of my daughter and what I learned from her can never be equaled. I thank God for everything about her, every day of my life.

Six Feet Under Blog said...

What a cutie she is. I knew someone a long time ago whose daughter was born with a cleft lip.

LeeAnn said...

Thanks for sharing your daughter's story and all of the information you did. She is adorable and I think she has a beautiful smile!

Thanks for linking up with me today! Have a great evening!

amandab said...

A lovely post, thank you for sharing it. And glad your daughter can smile after all that she must have gone through to be able to do it. It IS a beautiful smile :)

Thanks for stopping by :)

Bethany said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! :)

april said...

this is my first time visiting your blog & when i look at the pics you posted of your daughter - all i can see are those bright eyes & that big beautiful grin!! she is A DOLL!!
wonderful post :)

p.s. thanks for stopping by my blog! i will be using your bill cosby analogy FOR. SURE.!!

Carol said...

I love everything about this post right down to the little piggy toes. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. really Thanks.

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