On a Dutch forum on cleft lip and palate I found the following statement: ‘The reactions you get when your child is born with a cleft lip or palate are largely positive.’ Of course this sparked curiosity and so I read some of them. And I must say, the reactions were diverse. No matter how well-prepared parents may be, reactions of ignorant people can still be crushing. Even if the ultrasound has already shown that your unborn child has a cleft lip and an entire cleft lip and palate team will be there when you give birth, as parents you still have to go through quite a process.
The following comes from the mother of a child with a unilateral cleft lip and palate: “We’ve had the most devastating remarks and reactions. Even before our baby was born, my mother’s heart was broken several times. Afterwards we had some really offensive reactions, too. Whenever strangers wanted to take a peek inside the baby carriage, I would tell them that our son had a cleft lip, in an attempt to protect myself against unpleasant reactions. And then they would say nothing, just something like ‘oh, what a lovely blanket’. Fortunately there are also less intense testimonies, but all of them do show that getting a child with a cleft lip or palate has an incredible impact.
In April, 9 children had surgery…
In April we managed to have nine children undergo surgery. With financial help from both domestic and foreign sponsors, the children, accompanied by a family member, travelled with our team to Bali and stayed in Rumah Bicara, the Kolewa shelter home, for at least fourteen days. Andreas, Tobias, Erikson, Komang, Gede, Nesila, Xavier, Trica and Novita… they all left facing the future with a new smile!
And the next group of children has already arrived!
After a short break related to the burns project, new cleft lip children have arrived in Denpasar. Their surgeries are already planned. A sponsor from Arnhem (the Netherlands) will take care of the travel and accomodation costs of EUR 550 per child. Rotary Club Nusa Dua will pay for the surgeries using the Global Grant they obtained from the umbrella Rotary Foundation.
It’s never finished… we still find older children who never had surgery and every month new cleft lip children are born. The sooner we can help those children, the better. On this same forum you can read how traumatic having a cleft lip is to children… we want to keep them from being bullied and isolated by having them operated at a very young age.
Syta Plantinga, chair person and field worker
This baby, just 3 kg, does not have a sponsor yet. Will you help us?