We may be wearing masks, standing six feet apart and washing hands every hour on the hour…or some of us may be greeting school friends and teachers via ZOOM. But let’s hear it for that back to school excitement. I love school! So many happy memories for me. To celebrate each year, I decorate with antique school memorabilia. Enjoy the whimsical memories of school days long ago.
July isCleftandCraniofacialAwarenessMonth...I only missed but a few weeks
Sometimes in the business of life, I forget about the marvelous adventure my family is taking, I find it comforting to take a chance to reflect on the amazing progress that has already been completed. But the adventure continues and it is beautiful but it is also hard…no, it’s excruciatingly hard…to contemplate what will be happening in the future-but it’s part of the journey…hers and ours. We are grateful for that.
Sometime, in the early stages of our adoption journey, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision as to what special need child files we would be open to review. With the average wait of 6 years and climbing for “healthy” girls from China, the special needs program offered a shorter wait and often included very minor or correctable needs.
After much prayer we listed the needs we felt we could manage and waited for God to put his plan into action. Flash forward about 6 months and we received that highly anticipated phone call and email file! As I gazed at that beautiful face I noticed her big brown eyes and smooth skin, her adorable ears and her gentle hands…I did not even notice her unrepaired unilateral complete cleft…it just did not matter, she was our baby.
Our Princess was 20 months old and living in the remote mountains of Northern China.
But what is a cleft palate/lip? A cleft is a gap in the mouth that didn’t close during the early stages of pregnancy, and this kind of birth defect happens more often than you may realize. It is estimated that, worldwide, a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft — about one in 500-750 births. Sometimes a cleft condition can be easy to see because it’s an opening in the lip. Sometimes it’s harder to tell if someone has a cleft because it’s an opening in the roof of their mouth (called the palate.)
There are many risk factors that can increase the likelihood of birth defects. While some causes are still unknown, genetics and family history, pre-existing medical conditions, poor nutrition and exposure to harmful environmental substances can affect the healthy development of a baby. As a result, these factors could also be the cause of a baby born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. We will never know why it happened, but we will never know where her outstanding fine motor skills and dimples came from either…and that’s OK.
Our Princess after we met her in China, already charming her Mama and Baba
Cleft lip and cleft palate can be repaired through a series of surgeries and orthondontics. While it can be corrected, it really is not an “easy fix”…despite what you may see in Operation Smile advertising. Our brave girl has had 3 major surgeries and some pretty extensive speech therapy with quite a few more surgeries in her future…continuing into her young adulthood.
Her first surgery at Johns Hopkins
She is a spunky bright little girl who charms everyone she meets. She is opinionated and sassy with a flair for the dramatic. Her empathy has no limits. She is our joy and we are humbled and honored that God has entrusted her into our care. It really is a miracle.
Our sweet is 7 already and very ready for school to start!
There is something so summery about lemons. I love to surround myself with their wonderful scent, color and flavor. So I guess it is no surprise that my shower gel choice is Lemon Custard by Philosophy. I have stared at the bottle during each shower to read the luscious Lemon custard recipe printed on the bottle. This morning…the bottle was empty, summer is ending as well so it is not a terrible loss, but how could I not make the easy custard recipe. So I did. And it is as good as I imaged during a summer of showers.
The usual cast of Characters
1/2 cup white sugar.
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp of butter
The Steps To Glory
1. Over medium heat combine sugar, cornstarch and salt
2. Beat egg yolks and water and whisk into sugar mixture
3. Simmer until thick
4. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter
5. Spoon into tall glass and layer with fruit or fruit sauce. I used vanilla strawberry and chill for 2 hours before serving.
Enjoy on a hot summer afternoon…the Princess is reserving judgement.
What a strange summer it has been, not a lot of things to pencil into my planner, but simple pleasures around the house are leaving me, mostly, content. I know the Princess has missed her camps and programs, but bike rides and walks around our lovely neighborhood have taken on more meaning. Our garden and porch flowers have been flourishing with daily care, without the interruption of vacations. Would I want to repeat this summer again in 2021…probably not, but my family has found joy in this season, and I definitely would like to experience that again no matter the circumstances.