July Special Needs Focus (and Favorite Family Stories): Craniofacial

July 1, 2017 cl/cp, Craniofacial, craniofacial cleft, Family Stories, Favorite Family Stories, hemifacial microsomia, July 2017 Feature - Craniofacial, microtia, tessier cleft 0 Comments

The term special needs can sound scary. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Our goal at NHBO is to equip and inform parents – replacing fear with knowledge – as they navigate the beginning stages of special needs adoption. And then encourage and support those home with their special needs kiddos.

We do much of this through our Family Stories. In addition to our regular content, each month (except January) we feature Family Stories focused on a specific group of Special Needs. Here are some links from previous years organized by category:

February: Heart – 2017 || 2016 || 2015
March: Blood Conditions – 2017 || 2016 || 2015
April: Central Nervous System – 2017 ||2016 || 2015
May: Vascular – 2017 ||2016 || 2015
June: Orthopedic – 2017 || 2016 || 2015
July: Craniofacial – 2017 || 2016 || 2015
August: Infectious – 2016 || 2015
September: Skin Conditions – 2016 || 2015
October: Developmental – 2016 || 2015
November: Urogenital – 2016 || 2015
December: Sensory – 2016 || 2015

July is Craniofacial month here on NHBO. And all month long, we’ll be featuring family stories of children with needs like cleft lip and palate, hemifacial microsomia, microtia/atresia and other craniofacial needs.

Over the years, many family stories related to these special needs have been shared. And – during this month focusing on craniofacial needs – we wanted to take a moment to look back at just a few of our favorites.

Let’s go.

“Her surgeon compassionately smiled at me and said, “I’m not changing her smile, I’m just rearranging it a little bit.” He understood. His words were exactly what my aching heart needed. The smile I knew and loved would not change, it was simply being rearranged a little bit.”Ashley 7/30/16


Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate

Unilateral Cleft Lip and Palate: Cleft lip and cleft palate can occur on both sides (bilateral cleft lip and/or palate), or one one (unilateral cleft lip and/or palate). Because the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible for the child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both cleft lip and cleft palate.

Jenny shares how all the fears she had about her son’s special need before his adoption have been overcome by the immense joy he brings to their family.

“Those prayers were answered when on the first day, we saw and fell in love with the most precious, widest smile and amazing dimples we had ever seen! It was contagious. We brought him home, and everyone else fell in love with that smile too.” – Jenny 7/18/16

Read more NHBO posts on this special need here.


Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate

Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate: Bilateral cleft affects only 1 in 10 children with cleft lip and palate. In bilateral cleft lip, the two sides of the clefts may vary in complexity and may involve the nasal passages, airways and function of the ear canals and surrounding muscles. 

In this post from 2015, mom Jennifer shares tips and personal experience in adopting a little one with cl/cp.

“When you have the file of a precious one in front of you and you allow yourself to begin to love that child just a little in your heart, and as you open up to the brown of her eyes, or his crooked smile; you also open up to the possibility of ‘Can we do this?'” – Jennifer 8/3/15

Read more NHBO posts on this special need here.


Hemifacial Microsomia

Hemifacial Microsomia: an underdevelopment of one side of the face, usually involving the ear, mouth and jaw. 

One year later, Carrie reflects on the first time she saw the face of their daughter, Alea.

“So just like that, all those labels fell away. She shows no signs of a subarachnoid hemorrhage, HIE or a heart defect. Was she premature? Maybe, but she’s growing like a weed and her development is ramping up. Deaf? Definitely not. In the words of Dr. Fearon, she’s a perfectly healthy little girl who happens to have one ear.” – Carrie 10/15/14

Read more NHBO posts on this special need here.



Microtia/Atresia: the literal translation from the Latin to mean “small ear”. Microtia varies from the complete absence of the ear (which is referred to as anotia) to a somewhat normal but small ear. Aural atresia refers to the absence an external ear canal. 

In 2015 Caitlin shared a great post about all the common questions about Microtia and Atresia. This post is the perfect place to start if you have questions about these needs.

“I knew that day was coming that she would notice that God made her ear different… What was there to worry about? My girl has got this. Oh do I wish I had her attitude!” – Caitlin 7/23/15

Read more NHBO posts on this special need here.


Tessier Cleft

Tessier Cleft: a craniofacial cleft that may involve the mouth, cheeks, eyes, ears and forehead and may continue into the hairline. 

In 2010 and 2011 Paige wrote an incredibly informative series of six posts in which she chronicled the incredible journey of her daughter Lilah. She starts with Lilah’s adoption and the goes through updates that shows Lilah’s treatment.

“When we went over the paperwork together we felt completely overwhelmed and weren’t sure if this type of medical condition was something we could handle….We told each other that this was the child God meant to join our family.” – Paige 2/10/10

Read more NHBO posts on this special need here.


If you are parenting a child from China with a special need and would like to share your story on No Hands But Ours, let us know. Just complete this short form and we’ll be in touch with you soon!

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The content found on the No Hands But Ours website is not approved, endorsed, curated or edited by medical professionals. Consult a doctor with expertise in the special needs of interest to you.