Saturday, June 30, 2012

Personal Interview: Cleft Lip And Palate

Poor Kim is finally turning the corner this afternoon.  It has been rough!  Before surgery Hubby suggested buying a Kindle Fire for Kim's recovery.  I told him he was crazy!  Too expensive! 

By yesterday, Kim's eyes were nearly swollen shut (she hasn't been able to get her contacts in and she can't wear her glasses because of the nose splint!).  Poor baby was a ball of putty on the couch! 

So, last night I was at Target.  I called Hubby.  Told him he's a genius at gift ideas. 

Guess who is now the proud owner of a Kindle Fire? 

Anyhoo, all this time at home has given me a chance to interview Kim about her thoughts on being born with a cleft lip and palate.  I was quite surprised by some of her answers.

Me:  So, tell me about yourself.

Kim:  I like reading, soccer, eating and sleeping.  I dislike argumentive people and drama. 

M:  Some people consider cleft lip and/or palate a special need.  Do you?

K:  In some ways yes, because of all the surgeries and speech therapies the kid has to go through.  In other ways, it's just like another person being born.

M:  How has it affected your life--or has it?

K:  It's hard to go through so many surgeries, but the good thing is you get presents and visitors.

M:  Has it affected your life on a regular basis?

K:  I feel special because I have a cleft.

M:  Special in what way?

K:  Like I stand out. 

M:  In a negative or positive way?

K:  Positive.

M:  Do people ever notice your scar?

K:  Yes!  A lot in elementary school.  And when I first started middle school LOTS of people asked about it.  Other kids would come up and say, "I don't want to be rude, but what happened to your lip?"  I would just tell them I was born with my top lip not connected and I had to go do a lot of surgeries and the scar is just part of that.  They might say, "Oh, gross," (just because they aren't use to people explaining things), or some people will give a personal reaction asking questions about if it hurt or how many surgeries I had.  It's kind of awkward.  But the more I talked about it the more people understood it.  Now that I'm in high school people rarely ask me about it because in high school more people understand what cleft lip is, and there is another kid in high school with repaired cleft lip. 

M:  How often do you think about it?

K:  Since middle school I think about it a lot more because I have an ugly scar.

M: Hmmm.  So, do you think this surgery will be worth it to make that scar less noticeable?

K:  Right now, I'm not so sure.  I'm still the same person.  I like myself.  Most people have things they do and don't like about themselves. 

M:  What would you say to parents who are considering adopting a child born with a cleft?

K:  It's a lot of work, but it's worth it for both the child and the parents.

M:  What advice would you give to a cleft affected child in regards to questions about their scar?

K:  Don't let it mark you.  Don't let it define you as a person. 

M:  What advice would you give to a child who has to go through the surgeries?

K:  Take a lot of painkillers and try not to laugh because it hurts.  Don't have a funny mom. 

M:  Thank you for willing to be interviewed Kim.  I know you've always been open to sharing your story, and I appreciate you sharing it with all of us.  You're a remarkable kid and I love you to the moon and back!  Enjoy that Kindle, don't let your cheap mom borrow it, and keep recovering! 


S said...

Kim seems beautiful inside and out. Have fun with the Fire - I got "mine" for a gift but the kiddos use it more than I do! Wishing a quick recovery.

kathy said...

I Love your Humorous outlook! Life is full of quirks and we certainly need to adjust to them! Kim is a strong and brave young lady. Kuddos to her! Also to her parents who love her endlessly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann and Kim

I have been away from my computer for a number of days and was thrilled to find this series of posts about Kim's surgery when I returned. Thank you SOOOO much for this post especially, Kim. I have 11 and 9 year old daughters and soon, (one month from tomorrow) we will be meeting our 4 year old son, all born in China all with unilateral cleft lip and palate. My 11 year old in particular struggles with accepting herself and how she looks. She really is beautiful, but it is so hard for her to believe that. She is so looking forward to the day when she can have surgery to reduce her lip scar. Thanks so much for giving us a glimpse of what that will involve and more importantly, thanks for sharing your thoughts about dealing with cleft issues. It was a real blessing for her to read about your feelings and how you have managed questions and comments from others. Last year she had bone graft surgery to replace the missing bone in her upper jaw. Unfortunately, her body rejected the graft, so both she and her sister are scheduled to have bone graft surgery in a week. It just so happens that her sister is ready to have the bone graft done at the same time that she needs to have it tried for the second time. She is not looking forward to it, but I think reading your post has helped her to realize that there are others out there like her, (I know she has a sister, but you know how it is, sometimes sisters just dont count as much as someone that you dont see everyday!)

Best wishes for a quick healing,


Ann said...

MayLynne--Kim was happy to know her story helped your daughter. We will be praying for both your daughters next week--and how exciting to add your son soon--you have a slightly busy schedule the next month (just saying that in case you weren't aware) LOL! I love to hear from readers so thank you so much! At some point I will add a post on how we prepared Kim for comments from others and how we tried to help her find inner beauty too.

Wife of the Prez said...

Just coming over from NHBO where this post was linked this week.

All I can is a HUGE THANK YOU to Kim for sharing in such a personal way.

I am Momma to two kids who were born with cleft lip and palate. DD is 6 and DS is 7.

DS seems to just go with the flow about it, but DD is sometimes already bothered by her scar.

I know as time goes on they will have more questions asked of them and also have to find their own way of sharing as Kim obviously has.

I am going to save this for my children to read if you don't mind! I am so glad it was linked at NHBO. In all the years since we adopted DD (nearly 4 years ago), I've never seen a teen share like this about being born with cl/cp. I really appreciate Kim's willingness to be share, and I know my children will really appreciate it one day too when they are older.

Blessings, Leslie