Doctors told Lacey throughout her pregnancy, that her unborn son Christian had many complications.  Every appointment unveiled more problems.  The frustrating part was doctors couldn’t give an official diagnosis until they saw Christian.  “Every week was a wait-and-see game,” Lacey said.  Once he was born, Christian was diagnosed with Tessier Cleft lip and palate with Micropthalmia.

Children with Tessier Cleft Lip have Worth Despite Their Appearance

“Christian looks radically different from what most people look like,” Lacey said.  He has had multiple reconstructive surgeries to fix his cleft lip and palate but his appearance is still “shocking” because of his eyes.  The simplest way to describe it is that Christian’s eyes also clefted.  In addition to having a different facial image, he is blind.

“We love Christian for who he is, and his condition and appearance are not even on the chart of things we consider on a daily basis about him for his value or his worth,” Lacey said.  Sadly, there are many people who don’t have that same view.  Lacey has received many rude comments about Christian’s appearance.  That has been hard because she knows his worth and some people aren’t willing to look past his differences.

Diagnosis Gives Parents Perspective

“He is just one big ball of joy,” Lacey said.  They view happiness as a lifestyle rather than thinking their lives have to be easy for them to be happy.  Christian’s Tessier Cleft lip diagnosis doesn’t stop him from being a typical six-year-old boy.  He loves to goof-off, laugh, play, and play sports.  “We have so much joy that the challenges don’t mean a whole lot when the alternative was not having Christian at all,” Lacey said.

In addition to bringing his family joy, Christian has given his parents perspective.  Little things go wrong all the time.  You choose whether or not it bothers you.  For Lacey, after spending days in the hospital with Christian, she learned that the small insignificant things don’t matter.  What does matter is what you make of the time you have together as a family.

Lacey wrote a book called Through the Eyes of Hope.  It is about her experience as a parent of a child with special needs.  All of Christian’s life, Lacey has fought against the negative social stigma her family receives because of his appearance.  She doesn’t want pity and she doesn’t want judgment anymore.  “This book was just one way for me to get our story out there and let people know that there is so much good and there is so much to be found in the life we didn’t plan,” Lacey said.

Words of Advice: It’s Scary but Worth It

If your child has been diagnosed with Tessier Cleft lip or another condition where their appearance is radically different, it’s scary but the challenges are worth it.  “It’s not a journey that we ever would have chosen, but there is so much wonder and beauty in it,” Lacey said.  Going into parenthood, Lacey believed she would teach Christian everything he needed to know.  Turns out, he teaches her so much more about life than she ever could have imagined.

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