Living with Cleft Lip and Palate, Joshua

Joshua’s Story—Written by his mom, Candy

Joshua as an infant and young child

Candy shares her family’s story of their son, Joshua, who was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.  Joshua had many challenges in his first three years, but is now a happy boy who can drink from a straw, blow bubbles, kiss, and most of all – smile.  Read Joshua’s story below.

Joshua Aiden was born with a cleft lip and palate. Other than the fact that he looked a little different, he was just like any other healthy baby. He had his first surgery at only 3 months old. Surgeons repaired his lip and after the surgery, it looked so good. But, after only three days, the sutures starting coming out and his lip reopened. Joshua had over 14 heartbreaking surgeries over the next three years. His palate repair healed as planned, but not his lip.

Our miracle started at the mall, while taking Joshua’s birthday pictures. A professional baseball player named Mike Adams approached us about Joshua and asked why his lip had not been repaired. When we explained our situation, he asked if he could help us. Because of this, Joshua received a special surgery using a technique that had not been used on Joshua before, and this time the lip did not come apart. This has completely changed Joshua’s life and ours. As parents and grandparents, it was hard to watch Joshua undergo so many surgeries and procedures. We only wanted Joshua to be healed and start living his life without being stared or laughed at. The first time Joshua was able to drink from a straw or even blow bubbles came just a couple of months ago. And yes, I cried tears of joy, because he was so excited that he could drink from a straw. He said “Look NaNa, I can do it. I can really do it. I am drinking from my straw.” These are just a couple of things you would not consider important until you see all of your friends and classmates doing it and knowing that you can’t. Today Joshua can drink from a straw, blow bubbles, kiss and most of all – smile. Joshua will have a few more surgeries in his future, but this was the one that has changed him forever.

Babies are born with clefts every day, here and around the world. I know how hard it is to see your child be treated differently just because of the way they look. I do not let a day pass that I don’t share our story. It is my prayer that each and every baby born around the world with any form of cleft will have a chance to smile just like Joshua has.