Having a child born with an oral cleft birth defect can be a frightening and disorienting experience. Although a series of surgeries to repair the defect can be effective, parents of children with cleft palate and cleft lip deformities understand the struggles to overcome in the months and years before and during the surgeries and the stresses that each surgery itself brings. No one wants to see their newborn child struggle or in pain, and parents who are going through this process need support. Fortunately, there is an organization that they can turn to: CleftSmile.org.
Started by a mother of twins born with cleft lip and cleft palate, CleftSmile.org aims to be educate those around the world whose lives are touched by cleft lip and palate or other craniofacial anomalies. It focuses on providing a support network for families and loved ones, providing guidance through education on the issue, advocating and researching. At CleftSmile.org, those who are caring for a child born with an oral cleft defect can find emotion and practical support from others who have similar experiences.
More than just sharing stories between families, CleftSmile.org offers a wealth of information on services available to families who are dealing with oral cleft defects. Understanding how to care for an infant, how to pay for expensive medical supplies, what surgery will bring, and even what might have caused the birth defect are all important. No matter what state you are in, CleftSmile.org has done the work of compiling all of this information in one place for ease of access.
CleftSmile.org is also actively reaching out to help those in need. Prior to and immediately following surgery, infants with cleft lip and palate have special needs that require special equipment. One of the first needs to arise is simply having a bottle that your child can use. Unfortunately, these bottles can be extremely expensive, and so CleftSmile.org created the Weimer Bottle Fund, a fund to purchase bottles that will go to families who are in financial need.
On the day of surgery, CleftSmile.org will show its support to you and your child through its Bring a Smile program. By letting CleftSmile.org know when your child is having surgery, the CleftSmile.org support network will send you a card on that day as a simple gesture to remind you that you are not alone. In the end, that’s what CleftSmile.org is all about—making sure that no one suffers through a oral cleft defect alone.