ACPA Family Services

Cleft-Craniofacial Community Stories

Dominic’s Story

My husband and I received the call on a Saturday afternoon that we were going to be adopting a baby. We were so happy all we could do was laugh and cry. We were finally going to have a child that we could give all the love that had been stored inside of us for so long. Our son, Dominic, was born December 27, 2005. It was one of the greatest days of our lives.

We knew that Dominic had a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate by about 5 months into the pregnancy. The doctor found it while searching for the sex of our baby. We found out he had a cleft the same day we found out he was a boy. Up until that day, Dominic was always hiding his face during the ultrasound screenings; almost as if he knew that something wasn’t quite right.

When the announcement was made about Dom’s cleft, my husband and I decided to get the 3D ultrasound pictures done in hopes that we could catch a glimpse of his face; to better prepare us for what was coming. Again, Dominic covered his face and we were unable to get a clear picture.

It was agonizing trying to think of what he would look like, how bad his cleft would be. After speaking to his pediatrician, who was also the head of the cleft palate team in my area, I logged onto this website and began looking at all of the children. I must admit, it was quite a shock at first, and I didn’t know if I was mentally and emotionally strong enough to cope with what I thought was a ‘big problem’. Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who was strong enough for the both of us.

The first day of Dominic’s life was extremely hard for us. We didn’t know if he would have trouble eating, or if there would be anything else that could make life more difficult for him. But our little man made it through. He had no problems eating and was a perfectly healthy baby boy. He was so beautiful to both of us.

On April 7 th, when Dominic was 3 months old, he had his cleft lip repaired. I will never forget the feeling I had when I walked into the hospital recovery room and saw my beautiful baby boy in arm restraints and his face so swollen I could barely recognize him. I thought I had failed him as a mother; I failed to protect him from the pain he had to go through with this surgery.

When that awful moment had passed and we brought Dominic home, he looked at my husband and me with those beautiful eyes of his and smiled. This little boy who had just gone through the worst pain in his 3 months of life, actually smiled.

Dominic is now almost six months old and is one of the happiest children I have ever encountered. Everyone comments on how healthy, strong, and happy he is.

These children are special. I believe that God has already decided which children will be born to which parents; He knows these children will bring so much to their parents’ lives.

Our son has shown us more heart than we have ever seen in our lives. Not only does he have a beautiful soul, but he has a beautiful smile. And I wouldn’t trade that smile for the world.