soaking her in

I recently got an information packet in the mail from an organization that does cleft repairs for free across the globe. They do incredible work. They change lives. And I will support their work for as long as I can. And, yet, there was something so very hard for me as I read through their information about clefts.

“Disfigurement”

“Defect”

“Isolated”

“Shunned from society”

“Believed to be cursed”

“Unable to speak”

“Unable to eat”

“Heartache”

“Not allowed to attend school”

“A lifetime of emotional pain”

I read those words and many more with my beautiful daughter on my lap. Words that are true. Words that describe what many children and adults around the world with un-repaired clefts know as a way of life. I can’t explain how strange that was…to read those words with my silly, happy, sweet daughter in my arms.  Right now she doesn’t know her lip was created any differently. She is full of joy and life. She is surrounded by love. She is celebrated. She is adored. She is cherished beyond words.

There are an estimated 150,000+ babies born each year with a cleft lip or palate. Because of poverty, most are unable to have surgical repairs and they face great hardship and pain. It breaks my heart.

What shatters my heart the most is that so much of their pain is because of how others view their cleft, not the actual cleft itself.

Right now I am celebrating and rejoicing in my daughter. I will soak in every single sweet clefty smile I can get before surgery in January. And when the day comes that I have to kiss her sweet lips one last time before a doctor changes them, I will bawl like a baby. And then I will walk in gratitude that we have the means to provide surgery for our daughter because in my head I know that is best for her. I just wish I my heart felt the same. Bittersweet….gloriously made.

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  • Andy - she is quite stunning and beautiful. i love her crinkled nose picture

  • Ivana - My gosh, she looks exactly like Firecracker in these photos! Especially the second to last! Adorable!

  • dvr - I think this is something every parent who has a child with either a visible or “invisible” disability struggles with. As a parent of a child who has a visual impairments, it’s hard to see other people react to my son. But there is hope for all of us because of our Savior.

    There is coming a day,
    When no heart aches shall come,
    No more clouds in the sky,
    No more tears to dim the eye,
    All is peace forever more,
    On that happy golden shore,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    What a day that will be,
    When my Jesus I shall see,
    And I look upon His face,
    The One who saved me by His grace;
    When He takes me by the hand,
    And leads me through the Promised Land,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    There’ll be no sorrow there,
    No more burdens to bear,
    No more sickness, no pain,
    No more parting over there;
    And forever I will be,
    With the One who died for me,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

  • bonnie - such a beauty! it is hard to believe how big the smiles are in such a short time. she was meant to be with you all, that is for sure. she is at home, in so many ways. Praise the Lord!

  • Tonya - Yep…crying…like a fool….at work….AGAIN….you get me everytime! She is beautiful!

  • kim howell - Her scrunched nose smile is to die for. You have such a beautiful daughter! Praise God for creating her exactly as she is.

  • MArleen - Sweet, smart girl! Lovely as she is. And she has gained some weight, in the picture her arms are so cuddly.

    I wish you, Little ONe and the rest of your family all the luck with the operation. But I’m very glad you make all these pictures of your girl as sweet as she is now. Thanks!

  • Lynn - These pictures are beautiful and it is so good to see how happy your little one is. Her smile melts my heart!!

  • Ali - As always, you write such touching posts.
    My favorite words “sweet clefty smile” – which are so opposite from all those ugly words listed before.

    I just adore all your beautiful pictures of your beautiful children. You’ve inspired me to try harder to capture moments like that with my kids… but my baby tries to attack and eat the camera, and the three year old grabs it and want to take pictures himself… lol. Don’t know how you do it! :)

  • Nicole - <3

  • RachelC - beautifully captured.

  • Sadie - I am sooooo saddened to hear that so many people see it as a defect. That sweet precious smile proves it’s just different. That second to the last one made me cry. She is just beyond precious. I too will probably cry even though we have never met. That smile has melted my heart more times than I can say; it’s gorgeous! She is a blessing!

  • Y ette - The night before my sons amputation surgery I photographed his misshapen feet – the ones that made him an orphan, that made him different. Even though I knew it was the right decision, I treasured the photographs.

  • Marie - Beautiful post!
    I love the photo that’s fourth up from the bottom. Her expression is so sweet…and her hands are relaxed and still. She looks so peaceful and comfortable. So sweet!

  • emmybrown - She is so gorgeous!

  • amber - Oh my, that wrinkled nose grin! Melt my heart. Praying for your’s. It’s rough having to live with a nana’s heart sometimes. Thanks for sharing that sweet baby with us. She is totally precious.

  • barbara - the smile with the scrunchy nose just melts my hear!
    Do they know why children are born with cleft lips? Is there a particular reason, or just random??

  • Natalie @ TheShadyAcre - She is beautiful and perfect. It’s so hard to look at children through the eyes of the “world” when we can see them through God’s eyes. I’m so glad y’all celebrate her just as she was created. She is blessed, and I know she has blessed you–and many! Much love.

  • lindsey - oh she is so beautiful. that smile could light up an entire city. it was heartbreaking visiting so many orphanges in Russia where babies were left only for their cleft. parents abandoned their child because they looked different. how insanely heart wrenching. i’m SO thankful for families like yours!

  • Jessica - My BIGGEST pet-peeve, thinking the “problem” is with the child when really it is with the portion of the human race who sees a “problem.” Like you said, Little One is just fine with her sweet self. When Heaven comes to Earth we will rejoice that we will all be able to see real beauty! Until then, we rely on people like you to spread Truth.

  • Allison - She is so beautiful! And so well loved!!

  • Jacci in Ohio - Little One has changed my way of viewing clefts forever.

    When we started the Incubator Project, the tiny cleft mouths were so… unfamiliar to me. But, as time went on, and their sweet little faces kept popping up on my Facebook page, I actually stopped seeing their clefts… and just saw children. Beautiful children. (Ashley! Here we go again! Crying over my coffee!) *wink*

    Truly, though. Little One has shown me that more than ever. Little One, when we say you are beautiful, we are not just writing empty words to make you feel good. WE MEAN IT EVERY SINGLE TIME. Child, you are *full* of beauty. All of you. And we rejoice in how our wise & loving Father has created you.

  • Amy - She is so beautiful and always looks so happy!

  • Laura J. - She is such a beauty! Start preparing yourself for one of the hardest things coming in Little One’s future-she won’t be able to suck her thumb right after surgery. They will have to protect the stitches and that means no thumb in her mouth. I know how much comfort she gets from sucking her thumb. They will work to control her pain, but her frustration will be tricky. You can help her and be with her to comfort her.

  • Steph - Those giggles are contagious even through pictures! Wow, I mean the scrunchy nose, I’m dying. She’s gorgeous, and adorable, and I’m so sorry you’re losing a little of the face you’ve grown to love. Its a good thing you are a photographer because those grins need to be captured every single day before they change.

    Your attitude towards LO’s cleft and repair is so, so good and right. Lucky girl, lucky mom, lucky Campbells.

  • Karen - I remember when my brother was getting ready to go for his surgery we were all like he doesn’t need it he is just perfect the way he is. Obviously, he is much better off but we were all so worried. He was the baby of 6 so he had lots of advocates, so to speak. She is just beautiful. And yes she will be better off. But as a mother that is such a tough spot to be in. God’s blessings to all of you.

  • Ginna - What a beautiful post and photos! My favorite is the one where she’s cocking her head to the side. What a cutie!

  • Anne - It is a beautiful smile. I understand what an earlier commenter said about her son’s feet, knowing that is what probably made him an orphan. Such a sad thought, but I still know that these surgeries are what his birth mom had hoped he would receive, and sad she could not provide them. Our son had his cleft repaired in China, but will have lip revision surgery next Tuesday. I agree, it is bittersweet, seeing the beginning of our story together slowly fade away. We had family pictures not long ago, and I will also see those pictures as a marker with our boy, reminding me of how we first met him.

  • Giana - I find your blog sweetly inspiring!Best to you and your family!G

  • Jennifer - beautiful baby.

  • Mary - oh my.
    she is so absolutely beautiful.
    xo

  • JenW - I went back and looked at some of the pics from when you were in China. I can’t believe how much Little One has changed! The second picture in this post shows such a nice roundness to her face and arms that was missing in the China pics. And that second to last picture…totally made me grin like an idiot. She looks so happy and gleeful with her nose all wrinkled and her shoulder up. I love it.

    Your posts and pictures have really made me change how I viewed clefts…previously I found them painful to look at. Now I don’t even notice Little One’s cleft…I just see a happy girl. Thanks for influencing my life.

  • Kara M - Oh my gosh! I love the pictures of her scrunching her nose and laughing!! It’s a great picture of a child’s pure joy in life.

  • Kim - OH MY GOODNESS! That scrunched nose smile is THE BEST!!

  • mary from tenn - They are all adorable but the last ones with the scrunched nose made me giggle

  • Amber Campbell Hibbs - I’m sure it’s mostly the fact that I’m still nursing and overly hormonal, but I’m bawling like a baby at this post. Little One is so perfect and I can’t imagine how hard this is for you even knowing it is best for her in the long run. Hugs.

  • Lennie - I am so amazed at how quickly your beautiful daughter has relaxed and embraced her new life. This amazing picutres are remarkable and celebrate the beauty God created when Little One was made. You are an amazing mom and I enjoy having a peek into your incredible life.

  • Brooke - goodness those picture are adorable. and your daughter is beautiful. i love that you express how every mother feels. how we cherish and love and adore our children no.matter.what.

  • Kelsey - I agree with others that you have helped change my view on clefts.
    I also found them painful to look at and almost like an awful injury to a child. So I may be some of those that would describe clefts as the words you posted above. When it is so unfamiliar to people (even though there is an alarming amount 150,000?!) it’s hard to see the beauty. But when to come to know and it is captured in a different light like you have it totally changes your perspective. Your sweet girl is smiling and so happy. It makes it not such a tragedy. Although the surgery will help her on the eating front, too.
    Thank you for sharing so much and enlightening me on another perspective.

  • Heather L. - So beautiful, Ashley. I am feeling so much of the same, and it is with so many emotions that I anticipate flipping the calendar to December, knowing that Nora’s surgery is nearing.

  • Paige - What a blessing she is! And if it weren’t for God allowing her cleft lip, she may not be in your loving arms and have such a wonderful family pointing her to Jesus. I can only imagine the mixed emotions. I will be praying for peace, strength and discernment regarding her surgery and care. Again, thank you for sharing so many pictures of her. Because of your open heart, she is already changing the world for good. I have been able to see past the condition of her lip to see the little scrunched up nose and spirited eyes of smiles and laughter, where before, I’ll be honest, I had a rough time even viewing the photos of children in similar situations. Thank you, Little One, so much for helping to change my perspective!
    Paige

  • International Decor - i love your photos ideas :)

  • Susan - Another beautiful post. I am so glad that God lead your family to this Little One. She fits in your family like she was born into it. We know she was certainly born FOR it!
    Cherish all the moments, because that is the stuff life is made of.

    I am curious also about what causes clefts. I know children in the states are born with them, but it seems the majority we hear about are in foreign countries. Is it something missing in the mother’s care during pregnancy?

    I am so glad you have shared your journey with Little One; I can now see what I could not see before ~ the beauty of a cleft.

  • stephanie@buttons&bows - oh my gosh that crinkle smile kills me! she is so adorable! we felt the same way about our son’s clubfeet when he was born. they were just so cute the way they tucked up under his bottom. he started correction at three weeks because we knew that was best for his future. he is back in casts now at 2 years old for more correction but the good thing is, they are so small they wont remember the discomfort of it all!

    love your blog and your spirit!

  • Jenni Ashcroft - I am in love with her!! She looks so happy and at peace. It is soo hard to believe that just a few short months ago she was in a wooden crib. She just glows.

  • Cindy Sullivan - Overwhelmed! Overwhelmed by her sweetness, by your love for her and His love. She is a beauty:-)

  • kristin - Someone (at least 1 other) already said this, but holy cow! How is it possible that she’s looking like your other daughter? I would def say God made her for your family… those cheeks and scrunched up nose smiles? Yep – she’s yours.

  • crystal - She’s absolutely adorable!!! Love these great pictures!!

  • Sophi Belle - Oh my God, she is so beautiful!! And her smile is sweet and I’d kiss it over and over again! She is a beauty and you are so blessed to be her mom. May God help her and keep her safe always and always.

    I too think that she looks a lot like your other daughter. :)

  • Stoich91 - DARN SOMEBODY is cutting onions in here again would you stop it with your poetic-ness and kindness already my brain just turned into mush! :D You are so beautiful, and so is your family! Thank you for raising awareness and understanding on this topic!

  • Jackie - Your photos of her are beautiful!

    What lens did you use? What settings were used here?

  • angie webb - Beautiful post.
    The picture of her head tilted to the side and the one of her uber big nose scrunched smile is the best.

  • Amanda - Oh my word… LOVE the scrunchy nose pictures!!! =D

  • Rebecca - You know, when you first posted pictures of her, of course the first thing I noticed (besides how adorable she is) was her cleft lip. But, as time has gone on and I have seen more and more pictures of her, I don’t even notice it anymore. While it is an important part of her story and her life right now, it does not define who she is. What I see now when I see her sweet little face on my computer screen is a happy, blessed, gorgeous little girl. Like you, I think many of us will miss that sweet little grin as well, but no matter if her lip is cleft or “normal” (because who defines normal anyways?) she will still be that sweet little lady who lights up our world, even if it’s only for a few minutes, every morning when we log onto your blog. While many may say upsetting things about cleft lips and while many cultures and societies sees this as all those hurtful words and phrases you posted earlier, how you see her and how she grows to see herself is most important. We cannot change society, we can change ourselves.

  • Kayla - That crinkled nose smile is so heart-melting-good it’s contagious.
    oh my!!!

  • Karli - what a beautiful post! i love her little scrunched up nose smile. she sure is precious :)

  • Martina - I’m trying to hold back the tears here at my desk. She is a beautiful, beautiful girl and you have a beautiful heart. That last picture completely melts me. So much joy and her hands almost seem to be saying, “bring it on, world!” She is an overcomer.

  • Emily - I’ve been a reader of the blog for a few months now. The other week i found myself starting at your first post and going through them each night and have now officially made my way through each one (do i have way too much spare time on my hands at night?). I’m not a mum, but am a nanny and i just love watching how much fun you have with your children and how much you care to create such a fun, loving and creative environment for them. Your whole family is just beautiful and I will never get tired of hearing all your amazing stories!

  • Monica - Hi Ashley. I am new in reading your blog. I am so lucky that I found it. I have started reading the last one the 5 hundred something , now I am in the 260 page. This blog is like reading a excelent book, where it has a lot of thing that I enjoy and the only thing that I want is to continue reading, to learn and experience things similar in your life.
    I want to said to you congratulations! not just for the blog. It is a big conratulations about all the things that you do. Being a mom of 5 kids, being a wife, a helper for others.
    I love your blog or your life that is almost the same :). I like also photography but I am not that good YET :). I love to do crafts, I love my kids ( I just have 2 girls , one is 3 years old and the little one is only 3 months). I saw that your daughter also born in 07/07/09. Is that correct? If it is mine born teh same day. :). Well I aill continue reading your blog this weekend. I would like to have more time to do all teh things that I love. I am a Engineer so I work in a company, makes me sad that I don’t spend too much time with my kids being at home. But I try to enjoy the most that I can, hopefully one day I can be a home mom. Also when I was reading in looking thru yoru pictures just make me feel that I want to have more kids. I think that is funny because I was just thinking to have these 2, but we will see. Seems that is so nice to have a big family but I really don’t know how you do it and you haven’t get crazy yet. LOL . I am 32 years old.
    About the new blog that you post I just want to say that your daughter is sooo beutiful. Wjen I was reading your post makes me cry. Hopefully more people read and lear that for the eyes of GOD we are all the same. The most thing that count is our heart and soul, and for sure your daugther has that and when she grows up she will be greatfull with GOD to give her a wonderful family.
    Seriously I will like to be your friend, because having that kind of friends make us to have a greater heart learning and sharing a wonderful stories . I live in Illinois 5 years ago. I am from Mexico. Well you have my email , I know you maybe will not have the time to answer or say hello. But it is glad to meeting you and your family. If you send me an email I will send you a pic of my family and me. Have a nice weekend!

  • Jessica R - She is so beautiful. I’m so glad that she has adjusted so well!

  • Ayesha Riaz - You know i don’t post often so today’s one of those days when i post because i feel sometimes something’s are better said….. Baby has changed she smiles a different smile now a more loved and carefree happy smile i am not just saying that, but with pure genuineness she has grown in your care and you have helped her grow i always pray she blesses you and your family with nothing but happiness and joy but it seems the opposite is happening too may you all continue to blossom as a family and may you all have nothing but happiness and carefree smiles forever in the future x

  • Jessica P - These pictures are so great. Beautiful girl with a beautiful smile! And the nose crinkle is perfection!

  • Elizabeth - I am NOT a cryer but somehow tears manage to find their way out, when I read your blog. She is so beautiful and perfect.

  • Tammia - Sweet sentiments. While I never got to see my little girl before her lip was repaired, I treasure the few photos we do have. And I framed them and hung them on the wall because she was beautiful and I missed out on that part of her life. We look at those photos often and talk about how her lip used to be open. Because you take (and share) so many gorgeous pictures of your Little One, I have plenty of opportunity to share your pictures with my daughter. I remember reading one time about a woman (in her 60′s I think?) whose parents had never showed her a baby picture before her cleft lip was closed. When she finally saw one, she cried and cried. She had felt ashamed her whole life and was grieving the part of her she never knew. As is true with everything in life, honesty and openness is best. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  • mosey - These pictures took my breath away, she is SO precious and SO happy and loved, it just sparkles in her eyes! Your words… beautiful. :)

  • Anna - I love the way her little nose crinkles when she is smiling so hard! (second to last photo may be my very favorite.)

  • irene - She is a gem! She does indeed look like Firecracker now, such a happy and healthy baby :)

  • Kelli Rippee - Ashley, Loved the post. I’ve been bittersweet enjoying the photos also because I know a change is coming. However, today I had a question. What kind of recovery in the way of adjustment do these repairs carry? She is used to eating a certain way, breathing a certain way, and the lay of the tongue and that sort of thing. Is it difficult for the children to adjust to the change that surgery brings to the overall structure of things. I wonder if it effects the sense of smell. All just a new angle of thought for me and I appreciate the opportunity to grow.

  • Kristin S - Her whole face smiles! She shares that trait with her brothers and sister too.

  • jennie - she is perfection

  • ashlee - Everytime i see her beautiful face i see my daughter who is the same age as Little One. I could not imagine my sweet Maizie without a fanily for her first year. I am blessed beyond belief by your family and your sweet girl:)

  • Kelly - Oh, I have tears. My daughter was also born with a cleft, 10 years ago, she’s most likely had all her surgeries & I have the tears remembering her extra wide smile & knowing so well that bittersweet feeling. And remembering the feeling of them wheeling my heart away from me on that surgical bed with each surgery. You will all cherish these pictures more than you know when that big smile is made just a little less wide.

  • pattilouwho - oh my goodness…i just love that scrunchy-nosed smile. that’s the sweetest thing i’ve ever seen (next to my own daughter’s scrunchy-nosed smile of course.) ;)

  • stephanie - I am going to bawl with you on that day too, because as you said, she is so happy and oblivious to the fact that she looks any different than anyone else. in some ways, i wonder if it would be better to challenge those around her to see her the way we all see her right now: PERFECT. it’s a tough call because we love our children and do not want them to face any unnecessary pain. she is so beautiful it makes my heartache that i will never be able to meet her in person and tell her how amazing she is.

    i can never decide who more blessed, you or Little One!

  • Jelena - Those last 2 pictures are great! She is really relaxed and happy, big change since the first days. :)

  • Maria - My little guy had his surgery last Jan. and I read a very similar article with him on my lap. Until I had him in my arms and saw how expressive he could be with the little wings on the sides of his cleft, I didn’t understand parents who said they would miss the smile. I saw his smile (5 days after we got him…) and fell in LOVE. I miss it, although I am so, so thankful for his excellent repair.

    I also remember fondly many people in China who were kind to him and to me, and I remember the sting of people who hid their faces from him as soon as they saw him.

    Your daughter is beautiful, and I’m praying her surgery goes very well.

  • Shelley G - Oh I love seeing pictures of her smiling…she has a great smile-her eyes, her whole face seem SO happy! She is loved and she belongs…no matter what. I’m so happy you are able to give her this gift…I pray the bittersweet will be ‘oh so sweet’ once you all see and kiss her new lips. Always praying for your family!

  • Amanda - Your daughter is so gorgeous and her smile just lights up everything. Seeing these pictures made my heart smile through and through. I hope she knows how amazing she is.

  • Cate - Wow…what an adorably, wrinkle-nosed, sweet smile! You’ll miss that smile, but you get to have another smile from her to fall in love with!

  • Trish - what a beautiful post! your heart is just so sweet. i see jesus in you! your daughter is gorgeous and what a sweet thing to see her so full of joy! hugs!

  • chantelle - She is so beautiful and she knows it! Look at her confident smile and wrinkled little nose-her love sings from her heart an shines right through.
    Ashley-do you have many idea how many people you change by posts like this? You are amazing.

  • Sue - I had to comment because I had an experience that puts “deformity” in perspective. When my second son was born, he had a cleft lip and palate and a hernia. I remember thinking how I would explain my less than “perfect” child. In less than 45 minutes, we learned that his appearance issues were the least of our worries since he had a genetic abnormality which would result in his death in 10 months.
    It is always so much better when we keep sight of the BIG picture, isn’t it? Your daughter is happy and has your love. As you wrote, thankfully, she will be spared shallow and superficial slights.

  • the.mrs - I love this post. I am right there with the others who are crying like a fool in public and telling all of my friends that they need to come cry with me.

    Little One is so so so so SO very beautiful! Breathtaking actually!

    I’m so glad that you have shared her with us. I love how Little One has changed me forever in that I look at your blog every single day and don’t see her as a baby with a cleft lip. I see a strong and amazing little girl with a crunched up little smiling nose and sweet interactions with her siblings and parents. I love that.

  • Carlene Danielek - You are and amazing woman Miss Ashley!!! I’m so glad you have a blog and I have the privelage of reading your posts!! Thank you so much…from a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter and neonatal intensive care nurse. Carlene

  • karen - look at that happy baby!!!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Gloriously made- you’ve got that right! She is such a beauty Ashley!

  • ari - OMG she’s beautiful!!

  • Michelle Adams - When my son, 13 months old now, had his cleft repaired back in March, my husband and I wanted to find a way we could give back. We were so very pleased with our surgeon and his staff that we asked him for suggestions. One of his office partners created LEAP Foundation (http://www.leap-foundation.org/) here in Dallas. We did some research on the foundation and were amazed by what the doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners are able to do.
    Like you I was brought to tears by the way people with clefts are seen in other parts of the world. To think that they are thought to be evil somehow, that the cleft was caused because the parents angered God, and that those people are shunned from society. It just blows my mind.
    It is such a blessing that we live in a country where not only do we have those medical services available to us, but we also have insurance that can help with the financial burden of the surgeries.
    I greatly enjoy following your posts about your newest little angel. She is beautiful, and after her surgery you will be AMAZED how even more beautiful she becomes. I wish you all of God’s blessings, strength, and patience in you and your family’s journey.

  • Ramona Parent-Boyd - Oh my goodness, hearing you speak is like the words are coming out of my mouth. Our daughter, Molly (now 12), was born with a cleft lip. She was operated at 3 months old and I remember having mixed emotions about her having a surgery. We thought she was perfect already and her cleft (we called it her broken lip) was just a part of her. I remembered when she returned from surgery i was shocked at how much she had changed, personality wise because now she looked so ‘prim and proper’ with her new little pout. It took some getting used to. Those gorgeous wide smiles. You are wise to take a lot of photos, we did this also and the day before we had a major photo shoot with lots of close ups so that we could show her exactly what she looked like when she was born. We still keep a cleft photo on our fridge. Anyway just had to let you know how your words were speaking to me. I’d love to chat more & would love to show you our Molly then and now. She’s been beautiful every step of the way. oh and what a great journal of your feelings for her to read when she is older. rpboyd@telus.net

  • Julie Boyd - Hi! A sweet friend of mine sent your blog to me to read. She told me that we had a few things in common. 1) Photography and 2) A sweet China doll with cleft lip/palate. I have really enjoyed readying your blog!! This post really took a hold of my heart strings! I know exactly how you feel and can relate in so many ways. We brought our daughter home from China in August of this year. She had her 1st surgery, lip repair, in October. She has done so well…….but I will be honest I miss her overly huge smile! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love love her new smile and wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there is something about that sweet overly huge smile that just stole my heart! I suppose since she was placed in my arms with that gorgeous smile and I didn’t want to change anything. I am in love with her smile and firecracker personality now! She is a God sent and I am so thankful she was placed in our forever family. I will pray for you and your sweet angel!! Your daughter will be so thankful for these wonderful photographs! :)

    Ruthie had surgery here in Birmingham and they did a fabulous job! I am totally impressed and so thankful for the doctors that held her!! God bless you!!

    Julie Boyd

  • Marissa Noe - I read this post as my 5 year old daughter looked over my shoulder and asked what happened to her lip. I went on to tell her that some babies were born that way. She smiled really big at her and said “mom- she’s so cute!!” If only we could be more like a child- loving and accepting of anyone no matter how they look. Thanks for sharing your story. I know you hear it over and over again from many but it truly touches my soul. When I think about all the other children out there who are alone and need a family… well, I hope some day I will be in the position to do the same for one of these sweet little ones!!

  • elizabeth H - Little One is {BEAUTIFUL}…that’s all i have to say.
    LOVE her smile…LOVE her spirit!

  • Alycia S - Im a couple of days behind, so Im just getting to this post. I (normally) check your blog every.single.day. I love it, it makes me smile, laugh, cry at my desk like a baby, but mostly it fills my heart with warmth. You have a tremendously beautiful family and Little One is no exception to that. You have opened my eyes to what beauty truly is and its very apparent that you have done that with so many others. Thank you for warming my heart.

  • Katie - She is beautiful beyond words!

  • Amy Kay - The first thing I noticed in these photos was the way she crinkles her nose. Second was her expressive eyes. She is just beautiful and she looks happy and LOVED!

  • Sarah C. - My husband was born with a cleft lip, and he is thankful everyday that he was able to have surgical repair. While I think he’s the handsomest man in the world, he doesn’t love his scar and is sensitive even talking about it. While you love your daughter and her sweet smile, I can be very nearly certain that she will always be thankful that she was able to have surgery. She is so very lucky/blessed in so many different ways.

  • maggie - what a darling child..those giggling pics brought tears. :)

  • molly june. - GAH! she kills me. she is SO adorable. with a contagious laugh, i’m sure :) something about her reminds me of my daughter. her smile is most definitely my favorite thing about her though.

  • Kirra Sue - She is so incredibly beautiful!

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