Posts Tagged "Ian"


May I introduce you to my youngest son, Ian.

Handsome fellow…if I do say so myself. With a ‘million dollar smile’.  Literally!   But, the year following his birth was one of the hardest of my life.  I was thrust into a situation for which I had no understanding, no information, and no plan.  Quickly, I had to do all of these things to take care of this little boy who was born with a cleft lip and palate.

After his first surgery, this was my first glimpse of my baby’s face…

And, by the time we left the hospital in NC , 3 weeks later…this was his beautiful face…

This was only the first and there have been many, many, many surgeries to close fistulas,  graft bone, implant teeth, move jaw, straighten nose, and on and on and on.  He is now 28 years old, and in the next year, he will again undergo some more corrective surgery.  This will be either 14 or 15…I lost count around # 10.

Can you imagine how much we have spent on this face and mouth?  We begrudge not a penny, and thank God we had good insurance.  As hard as it has been to see him suffer, he is still a mighty lucky and blessed young man.  Even though this was traumatic, and painful…he was blessed to be born into a family who had the means to take care of his needs.   He belonged to a family that could find the best doctors, who could track down information, who could meet the needs as they arose.  And, he was surrounded by family and school mates and church family that loved him as he was and pulled for him all through life.

There are many, many children in this world who are not so fortunate.  They face banishment from their villages and their families.  Some are left to starve to death.  Others are quickly drowned so that no one will see the shame they believe was brought to their family.  It breaks my heart.  It is so sad that there are those who just don’t know that a face is not who the child is….that he there behind the defect…and he needs love and comfort.  But, also, most of these people know that there is nothing they can do to help their child.  There is no help where they are.  Maybe they don’t even know that the defect can be fixed.


” Unlike many charities that do many different things, The Smile Train mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate.
  Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache.
  The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes.
  This is our mission:
    -To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries.
    -To provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals.
  Until there are no more children who need help and we have completely
eradicated the problem of clefts.”

“Over the past ten years, we have provided free cleft lip and palate surgery for hundreds of thousands of children.

These children were suffering not because they were born with a cleft, but because they were born too poor to ever afford surgery.”

“Being born with a cleft in a developing country is truly a curse. In fact, every baby born in Uganda with a cleft is given the name Ajok which means literally, “cursed by God.” And no one knows how many newborns with clefts are killed or abandoned right after birth.

And the ones who are lucky enough to find a Smile Train free cleft surgery program, not only survive, they thrive. After a 45 minute surgery hands them back their future, and a second chance at life that they never Thought could happen.”

Friends, this is such a worthy charity.  I shudder to think of what my own child’s life would have become if we were not able to have the best medical care possible.  Every little bit helps.  Even though we have spent many, many, many thousands of dollars on Ian…through Smile Train, a child can have the cleft surgery for $250!

Gifts may be given in honor of someone or in memory of a loved one.  They accept any amount and will send a card to the recipitent, if you so desire.  We really don’t need more trinkets and baubles and bangles.  We have enough of everything we own to last a life time.  These sweet children will have nothing if those of us who care do not help.


Please go to for more information.


There was a time, when Alex first became ill, that we went from Dr. to Dr. looking for answers. Many times it ws a family affair…we would try to combine it with some fun things for all the boys to do.

Once we went to the University of Michigan for several days of testing. Donald, who at that time served on the local school board, also had a convention to attend about that time. So, we combined the two. The second trip was to Amarillo, Texas, and we knew the boys would love that.

Of course, it was quite a distance from this deep South town, so we decided we would fly. Bought tickets, packed bags, headed to the airport, and boarded the plane…all 5 of us. We were ready for answers and then a little adventure.

The only plane that flies out of here is the small commuter jets. They connect us to Atlanta. But, at this time they still had the propeller planes. This was Alex and Ian’s first flight, so they were really bouncing off the wall! We got them seated and buckled up. Adam had found a seat away from us because he was too cool to be seen with his parents and little brothers. All was ready…TAKE OFF!

We watched their faces and it was a mixture of excitement and terror. But, as they saw that no one was up in the aisles running and screaming…they settled down.

About 10 minutes into the flight, my ears started popping. You know the air pressure is not as good on those little planes. I offered Don a piece of gum and then leaned over the seats in front of us and offered the boys some. They declined. As we continue climbing…my ears were really stopping up bad. I was worried that the boys were uncomfortable, too. So, I leaned up over the seat again and said to them, “Boys, are you sure you don’t want some gum for your ears? It really helps.” My dear youngest son then proceeded to turn around in his seat, look me square in the eyes, and said, “Mom…if you think I’m going to put that gum in my ears…you are badly mistaken!”

I sat down…buckled my seat belt…told Don what had just happened. He and I laughed all the way to Atlanta!

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