A Great Start

What a way to start off the New Year, we had all four girls at our house for New Year’s Eve to play games and just have a good time.

Wait a minute, some of you reading this are probably confused because I have never mentioned having children, so before I go any further into this post let me give you the short version of what all went down last year, well the big stuff anyway.

Dave caught the event on camera and video

Dave caught the event on camera and video

February 2014 – I got engaged! David proposed to me! If you read my last post you already know a little bit about him. 😉

September 2014 – September 13th to be exact, we got married! In the realm of 125 of our closest family and friends we said I do in a beautiful church. With the unity of Dave and I, I gained four daughters! 🙂 We also became home owners!

September 13, 2014

September 13, 2014

November 2014 – Our 12-year-old daughter moved in with us and I’m learning so much from having her here, like how to do sixth grade math again! Haha!

Okay so now that you’re all caught up, let’s get back to it shall we? 😉

Another reason it’s been a great start to the year is because I got “White Bees” in the mail.

With this book comes a story (of course)…

My mom likes to look on Amazon and eBay for cleft related books, not text books, just enjoyable reading books. She’s found a lot more than I realized existed. We each have a couple of children’s books. One book in particular she sent me an e-mail (July 2014) telling me there was a book she thought I would like, entitled “White Bees” by Amy Jo Wilde. I read the synopsis and replied, “I will be buying this soon. Thanks mom :)”. The synopsis (before I go any further): A memoir written by Amy detailing her many surgeries she had to endure as a result of being born with a bilateral cleft-lip and palate. One of her main surgeries happens in high school. It takes you through her trials and triumphs.

July came and went as I was finishing up wedding plans for the wedding so I didn’t buy it right away. Instead my Aunt (my mom’s sister) bought it, read it, and loved it. My aunt then mailed me the book in August/September timeframe. She said I could keep the book :). I set the book aside and worked on wedding details. Then after the wedding came moving and everything that goes along with it.

Finally in mid-December I picked up “White Bees” and within a weekend I was finished with it. I could not put it down! It was such an amazing book and I’m not just saying that because I too have a cleft, it was a beautifully written story. Now I will say because I have a cleft I felt like I could relate with Amy so so much. I felt her pain and her happiness. I laughed, cried, and got mad as she did.

After reading the book, I had to view Amy’s website, I was chomping at the bit to know if she had written anymore books! I found out that while she didn’t have another book, she does have a blog! I saw that you could request a signed copy of “White Bees” from Amy herself. I wrote in hopes that it was truly Amy that was going to read my message. A couple of days went by and Amy Jo Wilde herself e-mailed me back! Let me just tell you I was so excited and honored. I was over the moon when I read what she had written “…Thank you so much for taking the time to write me. Your blog is wonderful, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!” Talk about a compliment! She wrote more and then gave the link to where I could purchase the book and get a signed copy.

I let my mom borrow my non-signed copy and I hope she’s almost done reading it so I can discuss the book with her! Hint hint mom, because I know you’re reading this! 😉 Meanwhile, I waited for my book and on New Year’s Day, what should I find in the mail (it must have been in there a day or two, we don’t check the mailbox daily, whoops) but my SIGNED copy of “White Bees”! To say I was ecstatic is an understatement and to know that Amy mentioned me being a “new friend” was so sweet. I definitely have found a friend and role model in her. I know so many cleft kiddos or 20 something clefties that I just adore but it was so encouraging to me to see how positive Amy is and how encouraging she is to so many people. She’s a motivational speaker too! How many of you know I said that’s what I’d really love to be?! It is all just so awe-inspiring. I just had to share this experience with you all!

I highly recommend this book, especially for clefties, cleft parents, and those who know a cleftie but I would recommend to anyone wanting a good book, moreover anyone wanting to really get the vibe of what we deal with when it comes to surgeries, dating, and daily life. https://www.amyjowilde.com

white bees me authographed book white bees cover

Thanks mom and Aunt Angie for being wonderful women to look up to and for suggesting and buying the book for me to read. Thank you Amy for writing your memoir for everyone to read.

Love you all ~ Becca

Loving All the Imperfections

When I think of love and acceptance, regarding love I think of John Legend
singing “… ‘Cause all of me loves all of you. Love your curves and all your
edges, all your perfect imperfections.” Since I can remember I have dreamed of
finding my “Prince Charming” and living happily ever after. As I got older,
like most teen girls, I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted someone who liked me
for more than a friend. As my high school days went on with not one
boyfriend I became discouraged thinking there was something wrong with me.
Being female with a cleft I thought for sure it was my speech, my teeth, or
perhaps even my minimal scar.

I started college in August 2005 and began dating, the guys I had
relationships with or went on more than a few dates, for the most part liked
me and didn’t seem to care about my cleft. After finishing up my Bachelor’s
in May 2009 I moved to Oklahoma City to continue working on a job I had been
offered in March 2009. Where I was working it was hard to meet new people
and those friends I had made didn’t have any eligible bachelors to set me up with. I began to
get discouraged. I decided to give online dating a go. Most guys were very
clear that they only wanted one thing or we went on one date and either I
was thinking I didn’t want a second date or they were. This continued for
quite some time until I met my ex. My ex claimed to love my cleft but hated
the noise I made because of it and always tormented me for it. I hated it and the way it made me feel. I realized
the error of my ways and kicked him to the curb and yes there were many more
reasons he was not “the one”. I tried online dating again with no luck. I
finally took pretty much everyone’s advice and just stopped looking. Shortly
after the revelation of stopping the crazy search, Dave came into the

Dave was someone I had known for a few years but didn’t really
“know”, I knew him from when we used to work together but once he changed
jobs I didn’t ever see or talk to him. So in 2013 (at 26 years old) when he
came into a karaoke bar I was shocked because I knew he had been married. I
found out though that he had gotten a divorce. Anyway, things
took its course and Dave asked me out and the rest is history.
Dave is such an amazing man and I really don’t know what I did to
deserve him. He has so many wonderful qualities. One thing that makes my
heart melt is that he loves me for ME, he loves my cleft scar, my cleft
stories, meeting my cleft friends. He doesn’t care about my one missing
tooth (I have a partial but I don’t always wear it depending on what I eat)
and my noise is not a nuisance to him. I love that he loves every aspect of
what makes me Rebecca and I love Dave for exactly who he is no ifs, ands or
buts about it.

I know you might read this and think that will never happen to you,
you will never find an amazing better half to spend the rest of your life
with, but as I have been told and now know, it will happen. Someone is going
to love your cleft, laugh, smile, worriedness, and chick-fil-a tea lovin’

That being said, before I could let someone else love me fully, I
had to first love myself. I love my cleft and I can manage to cover my scar
if it bothers me too much or not smile in a picture with my mouth open if I
don’t want to show the gap but regardless of my imperfections I love me even when I
criticize myself and that shows through and it showed through to Dave as
If you get one thing from this post, love yourself so you can allow someone to love you. Someone will think you
have perfect imperfections just like John Legend sings about. 😉

Meet and Greet

As a cleft kid, it’s funny to me how growing up I never knew other cleft kids and maybe part of that is because I am from a small town or maybe part of it is that it might not have been as common. Regardless of the reason, I now feel very fortunate for the fellow clefties and even parents of cleft children that I have met.

There have been places where it’s a given to meet clefties or parents with cleft kids and then there are some places where I’ve met clefties or their parents that I might not have thought I would.

The first time I “met” parents of cleft children was in 2001 when I joined a cleft chat group. I enjoyed reading the parent perspectives and I liked that I was able to give a high school cleftie perspective to parents of little ones. Two of those mom’s I have met in person and their families are now my family, at least that’s the way I see it. 🙂

My next cleft related encounter was at a mall. I was at the check-out counter purchasing some clothing when the cashier said “Who’s your doctor?” Not realizing what she meant I looked down at myself, touched my face, and gave her a puzzled look. I’m well endowed in the chest area and have always looked several years younger than I am so I assumed that maybe she thought I got a boob job. To that I chuckled to myself. Then the woman asked, “You have a cleft right?”. It shocked me because my cleft hadn’t even occurred to me, I had become so accustomed to my look that I didn’t always see myself as “different”.

I smiled and said, “Oh yes” but looked at her still confused. I wondered how she knew that. “I have twin boys, one of my boys has a cleft. I feel like I can tell other cleft kids now. Who are your doctors?” She was so open and willing to talk about doctors and surgeries and I was definitely willing to listen, but unfortunately the other costumers cut our conversation short.

Then in college I had three different cleft meetings.

1. I sometimes judge at Regional and State Speech Contests and while at one contest I as well as my sister noticed a boy who we were 99.9% sure had a cleft, but again I’m always wary to go up and ask the person. Luckily, I didn’t have to, the boy and I caught each others eyes and smiled each other. That was all that was needed, the boy introduced himself and indeed confirmed he had a cleft. I was really excited to meet him because like me, he competed in Speech Contests and was obviously a confident individual. 🙂

2. My Junior year of college I moved into an apartment complex and to my surprise one of the girl’s living above me was born with a bilateral cleft-lip and palate. I was so excited to finally meet someone my age born like me, we became friends and still keep in touch via Facebook.

3. During my Junior/Senior years of college I had many visits with my current surgeon. I remember one visit more so than others. I was waiting in the waiting room and I saw a couple with a baby. I wondered if the baby had a cleft as my doctor is a craniofacial surgeon after all. When the mom took her son out of his car seat I realized he indeed had a cleft. I leaned over and said “He’s adorable”. These two words led to a small conversation about what surgery their son would be having and what surgeries I have had and any advice I would give them. That same day, after my appointment with my doctor but before I left the building my Doctor introduced me to another couple with a cleft baby so that they could see a positive outcome of what a cleft child looks like to ease the new parent’s fears.

While working at the job I’m at now (I’ve been there five years) I have had two specific “meetings” with clefties.

1. While out at Old Chicago one afternoon with my co-workers I noticed a rambunctious little girl in the booth next too us. She was bouncing up and down and smiling quite a bit. I noticed she had a cleft. She was an adorable blonde three-year old. I could tell though that her mom was wary of stares. My whole meal I wondered if I should go over and say anything. Just when our group had gotten our checks I decided to be bold and go to the mother. I could tell she was shy but after talking with her and saying hello to her daughter I could tell she was a little more receptive to being open about her daughter having a cleft. Unfortunately we didn’t get to talk long at all but I was glad I at least said hi. However later that day I was kicking myself because I hadn’t given the mother my phone number to contact me. A few weeks went by and then one evening while out at dinner in a neighboring town I saw the same mother, with her daughter and her husband. I thought that it couldn’t have been a coincidence that I was seeing them again. I went over said hello and talked to them for a bit. I then gave the family my contact information and told them that if they ever had any questions or needed any moral support to give me a call.

2. I work with a disability program and one day one of the applications I came across mentioned that the applicant had a cleft. I debated if I should mention to the applicant that I too had a cleft since I had never met her. Well, one day she e-mailed me with some questions and it opened up the opportunity to tell her that I had a cleft as well. We exchanged several e-mails after that, sharing our stories of good and bad experiences. It was such a great thing to get to talk to someone older than me with a cleft. I hope to meet her in person one day.

I now get comments and stories from people all over from all over telling me their stories. It’s a great feeling to know that I’m not the only one out there. You as a cleftie aren’t the only one out there. You as the parent of a cleft child or disabled child are not the only one out there. There are many of us like you, we have the same hopes and dreams and the same fears and hesitations. It so great that through technology we are able to hear from others so that we don’t feel so alone. I hope that I get to meet more of you and hear more of your stories. Please feel free to write me I love hearing from you.


If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It!

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise wasn’t fast and no one expected him to win the race but he did. In life people might be told they can’t do things or not expected to excel in a certain field but people will surprise you and against all odds do what they wanted and just because they might not always finish in first place, they finish the race.

Now since this blog is geared toward clefts I will be using that as the subject by using my own experiences, but this post can pertain to anyone who has a goal/dream. As a “cleftie” there were things that I was told I couldn’t/shouldn’t do or suggested not to do. There will be times when people will frown upon what you want to do because maybe they don’t think it’s the best thing for you, perhaps maybe because they assume it won’t benefit you. To those people say “Thank you”, because you can prove them wrong.

When it comes to how outgoing I am, I haven’t always been this way. The 9th grade was the first time I truly began to start coming out of my shell. I took a speech class that was not like speech as many of us clefties have to have but more of a public speaking type speech class. This class taught me to get up in front of an audience and speak on many different things. Although I have had speech problems and still have to speak slowly sometimes to be understood I found that speaking was something I did well. I took this a step further and began contest speech. Contest speech consists of going to contests at different high schools around the state and competing in a variety of categories among other high school students.

Pictures from cheerleading and contest speechSome of the categories that I ended up competing in through high school were humorous/dramatic duet, monologue, dramatic interpretation, original oratory, as well as a few other categories. As a freshman I only participated in a couple of the regional qualifying tournaments with a classmate in dramatic duet. Unfortunately we never placed but I found that it was something I thoroughly enjoyed.

My sophomore year of contest speech I competed in several qualifying competitions and actually placed a few times. I took two events to the Regional speech contest but I didn’t make any of the final rounds. Do you think I got discouraged? Oh yes, I got discouraged. Do you think I gave up? Of course not! I pressed on, only this time I worked twice as hard as before. My junior year I qualified for three events to take to Regionals. I came out with my teammate and I getting sixth at regionals (alternate for the State competition) and got 2nd with my dramatic interpretation, meaning I qualified to compete in the State speech contest. I practiced my bottom off and came out placing 4th at State!

My final year competing as a high school student I qualified in six events for Regionals. Sadly students are only allowed to take three events to Regionals (at least that’s how it was when I was in school). I took both duets with my two partners and my original oratory. At the Regional competition my senior year of high school my teammates and I advanced to finals in our duets; I also advanced to finals in my individual event. In the duet events we placed 6th and became 2nd alternates for the State competition. For my original oratory I received 2nd place at Regionals. I went to the State competition and placed 3rd place!! That moment of getting 3rd place ranks pretty high up there as one of my proudest moments. In order for you all to realize why it meant that much to me, you must first know what an original oratory is. An original oratory is a speech written by the competitor that should be as close to ten minutes as possible and the competitor is able to quote a certain amount of words in this speech. My original oratory was a motivational speech about overcoming obstacles. So now that you know about what an original oratory is and what mine was about you can see why I was so proud to get third place at State!!

In 10th grade I had gained enough confidence to try out to be a high school cheerleader. Now if you are a cleft kid you know that all eyes are on you not just because of your apparent talent but because of your looks and scars. Despite worrying about those things I tried out anyway and to my surprise was selected as one of the cheerleaders. I ended up being a cheerleader the following two years.

Miss SWOSU Pageant year 1Miss SWOSU, Miss Mustang, Miss Queen of West, as well as many other are prelims to the state pageant for Miss Oklahoma. These pageants I refer to as scholarship pageants because they legitimately help ladies pay for college, however much of society refers to them as “Beauty” pageants. That being said, a cleft kid like myself might fear being in such a pageant, however I like a challenge. I was in a few pre-teen pageants in middle school/high school and received some awards but was still coming out of my shell and figuring out who I was. When I was in my third year of college I entered the Miss SWOSU (Southwestern Oklahoma State University) pageant. I put on my best smile and wore the gown and swimsuit as best I could. My favorite portion was talent though. I performed a dramatic monologue and I really thought I might win the talent portion. Although I gave it my all I came up short. I didn’t place in the top 3 nor did I win any of the few individual awards. While this was quite discouraging and I was most upset that I hadn’t won the talent competition, I didn’t give up. My family and friends and even several strangers told me I did great and that my monologue made them cry. This my friends was fuel, fuel to help me do better and compete for Miss SWOSU my senior year of college.

The competition came and I showed off my posture in the evening gown and swimsuit competitions and gave my best answers in the interview portion that morning. For talent I performed yet another dramatic monologue. My on stage question came and the MC asked “Rebecca, what really grosses you out?” I thought for a few seconds and answered, “When you’re driving down the highway and you pass someone picking their nose. That really grosses me out”. Everyone laughed and the MC said, “Yes Rebecca that would really gross me out too”.

The time came for the presentation of awards. Evening gown and swimsuit winners were announced and then the talent winner. My name, to my absolute excitement, was called as the talent winner. Once that happened I really didn’t care if I won the pageant or not since acting is my passion and that’s what I won on. The Peer Respect and Leadership Award (used to be known as Miss Congeniality) that’s voted on by the contestants was announced and I was floored when I was told it was me. The icing on the cake came when they announced the top 3; I was named 2nd Runner Up. While I didn’t win the whole thing I did do better than my first year and that was because I believed in myself enough to try again, practice more, and do my best. I did a few other pageants and won an award here and there. While I was never crowned “Queen” or “Winner” of these pageants I still had fun, gained more confidence, and gave it my all. As I’ve said before, it’s not about winning, it’s about doing.

College GraduationsWhen thinking about the times I competed in scholarship pageants it also makes me think of college in general. There was a time in my life when I was given advice and went against the grain. In high school when I was thinking about going to college I was told that vocational rehabilitation might be able to help me financially with college costs. I went to my county VR
Specialist and told him my goals for my future. This particular VR Specialist told me that sometimes college isn’t the best path for some people and that perhaps I should go straight into the workforce. WRONG…Despite this advice I went to college and with the encouragement from my family and friends I got not one but three degrees. Take that “Negative Nancy” ;). Also I should note that I went to another VR Specialist and they encouraged me to go to college and I did in fact get financial assistance which just goes to show it’s nice to get a second opinion.

So now that I’ve given you some insight on what I as a cleft kid have been able to accomplish by having confidence and perseverance I want you to look at your hopes and dreams; look at each goal you wish to achieve and know that if you believe it you can achieve it, don’t let your birth defect be your defeat. #Overcome #BelieveInYourself #Goals

Tiny Wide Smiles – Shout Outs – 3rd Edition

Dolls from Tiny Wide SmilesWhen I was a little girl I used to play house and I always had a baby doll on my hip. In fact, I had a room full of baby dolls. I loved each one and thought that they were all so pretty.

As a cleft kid I’m sure there were times I wondered why there wasn’t a baby doll that looked like me. In talking to my mom she said, “I don’t think you thought of yourself as different.” and that seems about right. Now that I’m an adult and see kiddos with clefts holding baby dolls I desperately want those children to have a cleft doll, so that they will have that to show their friends, to help them understand or to not feel different as I know cleft kids sometimes do.

Well that’s where my third shout out comes in. Tiny Wide Smiles is a business that takes dolls and gives them a cleft or cleft scar so that the child can have a baby doll that looks like her/him. Some who don’t understand clefts might think it’s extreme to put scars on dolls but it is not if you are a cleftie. This is an awesome idea for those of us with clefts or who have cleft kids.

There are girl and boy dolls of all different colors and types. This business is bringing lots of smiles to little girls and boys as well as their parents.

Please if you know anyone with a child born with a cleft, show their parent/guardian the Tiny Wide Smiles and bring a smile to their face. The link is below.


Blessings In Disguise

Worry, dismay, guilt, love, affection, sympathy…these are just a few of the words that come to the minds of parents of cleft children. “Why” questions come along with all the emotions. The “why” questions come to cleft children as well especially as we get older. We wonder what we did to deserve a birth defect and all that comes along with it. Those of us that believe in God wonder if god loves us.

I am twenty-six years old now and with my age I’ve had plenty of time for pity parties, to scream, cry, think and pray. The outcome of all of this is that my cleft has been a blessing in disguise. I already know that some of you will read that last sentence and think I’m crazy so allow me to explain.

God knows my path and my purpose and he won’t give me more than I can handle, even if I think I’m at my breaking point. Although I’ve had many obstacles because of my cleft, my cleft has given me just as many blessings. The first blessing would be my speech teacher/pathologist Julie. Had I not been born with a cleft I wouldn’t have met Julie. While I know my cleft was the reason I had to have speech therapy for eleven years, it also put Julie in my path. She helped teach me the value of hard work and that persistence pays off, not to mention I did and still do some days want to be a speech pathologist and she’s one of the reason’s why.Friends

The next blessing courtesy of my cleft is the Yahoo! Cleft Chat Group. I joined this group in January 2006. Most of the members of the group are made up of parents who have children with clefts. I gained a lot of insight from them and I tried to share my point of view with them whenever I felt it was relevant to do so. Shortly after I joined the group I began talking to a mom whose daughter had a cleft. The mom’s name is Robbi and her and I became fast friends. Her daughter, Maddie was twelve at the time. We stayed in contact throughout the years and finally in July 2010 I flew to Washington to meet Robbi, Maddie, and the rest of her amazing family. I was able to spend three or four days with them and when I had to say goodbye I cried. It was one experience I won’t forget. I keep trying to go back for another visit but plans change and lack of money sometimes happens, but don’t worry I will return, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The Yahoo! Cleft Chat Group also brought me in contact with Tina. Tina and I began chatting in late 2008. Her daughter was one and a half and had been born with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. In the Summer of 2009 Tina and I had planned to meet in Texas but life happened as it sometimes does and we didn’t get to meet. Tina was rarely on the cleft chat group and I thought maybe I wouldn’t get to speak with her again. Then out of the blue in the early summer of 2010 I received a friend request on Facebook from Tina. I thought to myself “I don’t know any other Tina than the one I already have on my friend’s list”. I had a message from this Tina as well. The title of the message was “is this “MY” Rebecca??” The first few lines of the message made me cry, it said ” I remember you from the cleft yahoo boards. I have always thought you were amazing! I have a STACK of things you wrote that I hope to share with my daughter someday!”.  I was so excited to see that this was the Tina from the cleft chat group! As fate would have it Tina found me because her and I have a mutual friend. This Facebook message lead to many more messages and then talk of finally meeting. Our first meeting was in June 2010 when Ella was just three years old. Since that time I see Tina, Ella, and the rest of their wonderful family two to four times a year. I’ve grown so close to them in fact that my sister usually makes the 3 hour trip with me and even my mom has gotten to meet the family.

You see, if I hadn’t of been born with a cleft I would have never joined the Yahoo! Cleft Chat group and never would have made the lasting friendships that I have. That’s not all, there’s more. When I went to Washington State in 2010 I also had another reason for going and that was Camp Korey.

Camp Korey (founded by Tim Rose) is one the SeriousFun camps. The SeriousFun camps were established by Paul Newman. During the summer several camp sessions are held for children that might not under normal circumstances get to go to a camp or that might be worried how other children will act towards them. At Camp Korey the disability or birth defect is the norm because with sessions like “Friends of the Craniofacial Center” and “Skeletal Dysplasia” the children make friends with kiddos that are going through what they are going through and don’t have to fear that they won’t fit in. I volunteered with the craniofacial kids camp session for the younger bunch. The memories that I made in that one week will last a lifetime as well as some of the friendships. I liked it so much that a year or so ago I applied for a position there, but I didn’t get it and that’s okay, it wasn’t where I am meant to be.

Through having my cleft I’ve met a lot of wonderful people not only through what I’ve mentioned so far but also through Facebook’s CLP Commuters, Tiny Wide Smiles doll clinic, and ClefTees designs. The last thing that I am blessed with courtesy of my cleft is this blog. I wouldn’t be typing this post or giving out information and (hopefully) a few laughs had it not been for my cleft.

I’ve said all of this to say, the cards you have been dealt might not be a winning hand when you start but don’t worry because if you play them right (by following your heart and loving yourself) you will come out a winner. I encourage you to try and see a silver lining, the blessing in disguise.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -NIV


Shout Outs – 2nd Edition – ClefTees

Designs by ClefTees

Designs by ClefTees

For anyone who is affiliated with clefts you know that surgeries come and surgeries go, but every surgery is important.That being said I just wanted to say that I wish little miss Mia a speedy recovery from her lip revision surgery. Mia is connected to the second person/business shout out, ClefTees. ClefTees was founded by Mia’s mother, Darcie. ClefTees is an iron on business revolved around, you guess it, clefts! 🙂

Darcie makes her own cleft designs and sends the iron ons to customers so they can put them on their own shirts. With sayings like “I Love Wide Smiles” and “Cleft Power” who wouldn’t want to make a million shirts to raise awareness and to show you’re proud of your cleft or child with a cleft.

Another cool thing about this business is the compassion shown by Darcie, through our correspondence and my business with her we have become fast friends and I look forward to the day that we all will finally meet!

That’s what I love about the cleft community, the closeness and camaraderie.

That’s all for this edition of “Shout Outs” but I encourage you to check out ClefTees (link below) designs on Facebook and order and iron on or five!


Love ClefTees

Love ClefTees

~ Rebecca

Shout Outs – The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles

This photo is property of www.cleftsmile.org

This photo is property of http://www.cleftsmile.org

Hello all! From time to time on my blog I will create posts of awareness. This awareness will come in a type of shout out to businesses, surgeons, websites, etc. that I think might be useful to those of you that read my blog.

My first shout out is to The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles or as I know them www.cleftsmile.org

Cleftsmile.org is an excellent resource in educating people on cleft related topics. The foundation can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

“The vision of the Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles  is to provide support for individuals and families with cleft lip and/or palate  and other Craniofacial anomalies” (www.cleftsmile.org, 2013).

I think another amazing fact about this organization is CEO and Founder, Rachel Mancuso is a parent of twin children with clefts so you know that the information that you are receiving is not only beneficial but relatable to those of you parents out there that want/need support.

As you can see from the picture, The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles has all kinds of resources to get their name out to the public and I say kudos to them for that!

Anyway, I hope you all check out The Cleft Lip & Palate Foundation of Smiles website and Facebook page. I know I look to it for information and the Facebook page is a great support and encouragement to me personally.



I know it’s hard sometimes for those of us born with clefts, or for any birth defect, disability or anyone for that matter to feel normal, beautiful, and/or yourself. However, I’m here to tell you to quit those thoughts. I know, I know, you’re thinking “Rebecca don’t you feel like that sometimes at least once in your life?” and yes I feel like that probably more times than I should and I think I could blame some of that on society and some of that in just not believing in myself at times. 

When I feel down in the dumps about myself or my beauty I look to words of wisdom/advice in scriptures, blogs, quotes, wherever it may be. I wanted to share some recent favorites with you all 🙂 I hope you like them 🙂 I got most of them from Pinterest.






What is a Cleft?

To kick off Craniofacial Acceptance Week I thought why not start at the base. To accept something one must first know what it is they are accepting. So what is a cleft? 

Webster’s dictionary defines a cleft as “1: a space or opening made by or as if by splitting. or 2: a usually V-shaped indented formation : a hollow between ridges or protuberances”.
Now reading this, it makes since as to what a cleft lip/palate is because when you see a child born with a cleft there is an opening in either the lip, palate, or both.
However, to be more specific a cleft lip is “a birth defect characterized by one or more clefts in the upper lip resulting from failure of the embryonic parts of the lip to unite” (Webster’s Dictionary). A cleft palate is “a congenital fissure of the roof of the mouth produced by failure of the two maxillae to unite during embryonic development and often associated with cleft lip” (Webster’s Dictionary). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cleft+lip?show=0&t=1368498853 
I know some of you might have gotten to this point and thought to yourself “I’m sorry, what? That’s a mouthful”. I would say that you aren’t crazy for thinking such things. I like to give the ABC version of in my instance what a bilateral cleft-lip and palate is. 
You see, when I was in high school I spoke to an elementary school about my cleft and overcoming obstacles. So how do you explain being born with a cleft to second graders, to kindergartners? My explanation to kiddos or anyone who might not have a clue of what a cleft is fairly simple. When I was in my mother’s belly being formed, a piece didn’t come together, like a missing piece of a puzzle. I had an opening where my mouth was and at the roof (top) of my mouth. Doctors fixed me to make me complete/whole.  Pretty basic huh? 🙂 at least I think so.
Although I think my description is a good one (tooting my own horn here) it is always good to see a visual. Am I right? The picture below is so informative when showing children or even adults. 
P.S. I got the picture from the following website, it is a very informative website in general. http://nursingcrib.com/nursing-notes-reviewer/maternal-child-health/cleft-lip-and-palate/ 
~ Becca