ACPA Family Services

Cleft-Craniofacial Community Stories

Tamala’s Story

Tamala's PicHello, my name is Tamala Coleman, and I reside in Georgia. I am 48 years old. My journey has been a blessed one. I was born in Nuremberg, Germany while my father served in the military (Army). I was born with a cleft lip, which is a congenital defect, or birth defect, which occurs early in pregnancy.

My story may be similar to many other babies born with either a cleft palate or cleft lip. It was very important for me to educate myself about this birth defect. I often wondered why God allowed me to have this birth defect, but as I grew older, I realized I am truly blessed. After I was born, my parents had to agree to send me to a special hospital miles away from the military base hospital where I was born to have my surgery done, as well as recovery time, which left my parents leaving me for weeks before my release.

I count myself blessed to only have had one surgery in my entire life. Yet, I have lived a productive life. Although I had some challenges as a little child in school: I was ridiculed, talked about, and bullied. Sometimes I did not feel pretty. Even through this, I remained strong and courageous. I did not allow this to interrupt God’s plan for my life.Coleman_T1

As an adult I have found that my life is valuable and worth living. So I decided to write my feelings down on paper as a young girl. Since that time, I no longer judge myself with my outer appearance, but I encourage others and myself because truly beauty is skin deep– it’s the heart that matters.

I am now married to a terrific husband with young adult children. I strive daily to encourage others with my gift of writing. Now as an author, playwright and aspiring screenwriter, there is no time like now to bring a smile to others and share my story in such a way to encourage and inspire someone else along the way. It’s all about how you feel about yourself!