Friday, June 29, 2012

Personal Interview: Cleft Lip And Palate

Poor Kim is finally turning the corner this afternoon.  It has been rough!  Before surgery Hubby suggested buying a Kindle Fire for Kim's recovery.  I told him he was crazy!  Too expensive! 

By yesterday, Kim's eyes were nearly swollen shut (she hasn't been able to get her contacts in and she can't wear her glasses because of the nose splint!).  Poor baby was a ball of putty on the couch! 

So, last night I was at Target.  I called Hubby.  Told him he's a genius at gift ideas. 

Guess who is now the proud owner of a Kindle Fire? 

Anyhoo, all this time at home has given me a chance to interview Kim about her thoughts on being born with a cleft lip and palate.  I was quite surprised by some of her answers.

Me:  So, tell me about yourself.

Kim:  I like reading, soccer, eating and sleeping.  I dislike argumentive people and drama. 

M:  Some people consider cleft lip and/or palate a special need.  Do you?

K:  In some ways yes, because of all the surgeries and speech therapies the kid has to go through.  In other ways, it's just like another person being born.

M:  How has it affected your life--or has it?

K:  It's hard to go through so many surgeries, but the good thing is you get presents and visitors.

M:  Has it affected your life on a regular basis?

K:  I feel special because I have a cleft.

M:  Special in what way?

K:  Like I stand out. 

M:  In a negative or positive way?

K:  Positive.

M:  Do people ever notice your scar?

K:  Yes!  A lot in elementary school.  And when I first started middle school LOTS of people asked about it.  Other kids would come up and say, "I don't want to be rude, but what happened to your lip?"  I would just tell them I was born with my top lip not connected and I had to go do a lot of surgeries and the scar is just part of that.  They might say, "Oh, gross," (just because they aren't use to people explaining things), or some people will give a personal reaction asking questions about if it hurt or how many surgeries I had.  It's kind of awkward.  But the more I talked about it the more people understood it.  Now that I'm in high school people rarely ask me about it because in high school more people understand what cleft lip is, and there is another kid in high school with repaired cleft lip. 

M:  How often do you think about it?

K:  Since middle school I think about it a lot more because I have an ugly scar.

M: Hmmm.  So, do you think this surgery will be worth it to make that scar less noticeable?

K:  Right now, I'm not so sure.  I'm still the same person.  I like myself.  Most people have things they do and don't like about themselves. 

M:  What would you say to parents who are considering adopting a child born with a cleft?

K:  It's a lot of work, but it's worth it for both the child and the parents.

M:  What advice would you give to a cleft affected child in regards to questions about their scar?

K:  Don't let it mark you.  Don't let it define you as a person. 

M:  What advice would you give to a child who has to go through the surgeries?

K:  Take a lot of painkillers and try not to laugh because it hurts.  Don't have a funny mom. 

M:  Thank you for willing to be interviewed Kim.  I know you've always been open to sharing your story, and I appreciate you sharing it with all of us.  You're a remarkable kid and I love you to the moon and back!  Enjoy that Kindle, don't let your cheap mom borrow it, and keep recovering! 

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