A 20-week ultrasound confirmed that our baby would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. The weeks following that ultrasound were filled with fear, anxiousness and tears as we prepared for the birth of our son – Ryder Jeremiah Stocking.
I had conducted several internet searches on cleft lip and palates when I came across Cleftline bears through the Cleft Palate Foundation. I immediately ordered a bear and remember sobbing as I opened up the delivered package which revealed a teddy bear and its stitched lip. That was Ryder Jeremiah’s very first teddy bear and it was so much more than a stuffed animal to us. We named the Cleftline bear Chester and he soon became an integral part of our family as he accompanied Ryder to every doctor’s appointment, surgery and even participated in Ryder’s monthly photo shoot.
As Ryder’s first birthday was approaching we wanted to do something special to celebrate such a milestone so in lieu of gifts, we asked for donations to afford another cleft-affected child a Cleftline bear. We pray that each bear brings hope, inspiration and joy to each child’s life and may it serve as a reminder of just how special that child truly is!