Creating Smiles

When we went in for our 20 week ultrasound with Jules and found out that she may potentially have a cleft lip/palate, it was devastating.  It took us awhile to process it, and even though we knew it could be fixed, it was still hard to know that something was wrong with your baby.  Oh how there are days that I long that that was all it was.  It’s so funny how we went from hoping she didn’t have a cleft, to praying it was just a cleft, to praying maybe she just had Downs.  To finding out it indeed was trisomy 18.

With that being said, Jules was born with a cleft lip and palate as well.

 And although I noticed it at first….I can’t believe how soon after I barely realized it was there.  I mean..isn’t she perfect!:)

Her lips were just as kissable and her nose was just as cute:)  To me at least!

The reality of it all though, was that if the cleft was her only problem, we would have gotten it fixed.  We live in a country where medicine and technology is available to make it practically disappear.  Her lip would have been fixed around 2-3 months and her pallet around 12-18 months.  We wouldn’t have even had to think about not being able to fix it as an option.

The sad part is…a lot of parents do.  A lot of parents have to watch their children struggle to eat, talk, and even breath because of it.  They have to watch their kids get teased, become outcasts, and become extremely shy because they don’t have the money to fix it.  It’s hard for us to even fathom…but it’s their reality.

I”m sure you’ve been sucked into some of their hour long shows on a Saturday afternoon.  At least I have been.  And I would bawl my eyes out every time.  And I’m sure you probably know what I’m talking about now as well. Operation Smile

Operation smile is an organization that travels across borders and over seas to provide surgeries for kids with clefts who have parents who can’t afford it.   Within 45 minutes and $240 later a little persons life can be transformed.  Here’s a video that shows a little bit more…


So, in honor of  Jules we were able to give 4 kids their smile back:)  It makes me so happy to think about.  I so wish I could be there when they get to see in the mirror for the very first time and look at that beautiful smile!

Even though Jules was completely perfect in my eyes, I did wonder what she would have looked like with her new smile.  So since she got her new smile already, I’m sure she’s happy we’ve been able to pass hers on….


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12 thoughts on “Creating Smiles”

  1. I love that you did this in honor of your precious girl. What an incredible story to read–and I only stumbled onto it because of your epic girls vacation post that made me jealous! :) Thank you for being raw and sharing.

  2. What a wonderful and thoughtful gift for this great cause. The company I work for, Close To My Heart (scrapbooking/stamping) supports Operation Smile. I love supporting this amazing charity as well.

  3. Even though you don’t know me , I have been following Jules story via Charlie and Lynda Young. How sweet that you were able to give 4 kids their new smiles! I was born with a cleft lip and palette and this just brought tears to my eyes.

    God bless you and continue to give you strength to touch other’s lives even while grieving.


  4. How awesome this is, Operation Smile is so great and to think Jules is helping four kids. She was beautiful, huggable and yes so sweet. She is smiling down as they prepare to fix up some others Smiles, she already has hers. Blessings to all of you .
    Gail Nelson

  5. Allie,

    Such a beautiful way for u to honor Jules memory. She is a beautiful girl. Our daughter was born with cleft lip and palate as well and it is amazing the transformation that comes from those surgeries! You have blessed those for sweet already beautiful kids with a new outlook on life. Our Ava looked just like Jules when she was born. If u would like u can check out her caringbridge site. It is avaandresen. I just recently discovered ur blog and your inner beauty and faith in our all loving Jesus our in inspiration to me as I’m sure all who read ur beautiful writings. Thank u for sharing ur story and ur faith with others.

    Tawnya Andresen

  6. Allie,
    Thank you so much for having shared and continuing to let us know how you and your family are doing. As a mother myself, I can only imagine how this felt for your family and it’s nice to see how open and honest you are about your healing process. I admire how you share your honest feelings, that there are good days and not so good days. it helps us to understand what you are feeling, such as how it was wo wake up without her on your chest. These are very important moments and when you share them, we can see the picture and feel them and no matter what we’re doing , we send you love so that’s the strange things you’re feeling. Just random love hitting you sent from someone somewhere. So please talk about Jules as much as you feel comfortable because we love reading it and when you run out of her, talk about those other two adorable children too:)

    1. I second what Kari says. Well said Kari! I love to watch operation smile and I cry everytime as well. Jules was beautful. I love looking at pictures of her and am very excited to finally get to see her in heaven. :)

  7. You are such an inspiration and amazing woman/mother. My son was born with bilateral cleft lip and this piece especially touched me. The first thing I told myself after I accepted what he was going to be born with was that it was fixable and I was blessed because many other mom’s deal with far more than just that. It has been a long road and we are still having surgeries at the age of 9 but it has been a road that has changed me and brought me closer to God. When I first happened upon your facebook I didn’t realize that Jules had trisomy 18. As I began reading your blogs and understanding more about it, I was so touched by the person you are. You have a beautiful heart. One thing I remember from the hospital with my son is the nurse telling me that cleft babies had the most beautiful smiles. I always remembered that when my son smiled and now looking at beautiful Jule’s photos… it is so true. Those beautiful smiles and precious hearts. <3

  8. That is so great! What a blessing you are to those families! Thank you for doing that!! We missed Jules tonight, i sure think of her often, the kids ponder at her pictures and play with their jewels, damien still thanks Jesus for baby jules and auntie allie! (dont worry ryan, i am sure to thank Jesus for you too!) :) great to see your smiling faces toniight, damien and samara miss tate and kynlee lots lately

  9. Oh, won’t that be a beautiful smile when you are united with Jules in Glory….it will be a completely whole, perfect, heavenly smile…as it is right now. And in the presence of the Lord together – amazing grace and miracles! Thank you for your beautiful writing, sharing your thoughts. It’s very special that those four kiddos will get new smiles on this side of glory. Sending you special Christmas smiles and wishes for lots of love, joy, peace and a sense of our loving heavenly Father’s arms around your whole family – especially your mama heart. Love, Wendy

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