November 20, 2014
Allison Smyth, Operation Smile Volunteer
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When Cong and Thu learned they were expecting twins, they were ecstatic. But those feelings of pure elation turned to profound worry when they learned at Thu’s 20-week ultrasound that one of their babies would be born with a cleft lip. Cong and Thu worried about not only how to care for twins, but how to care for a child who suffered from a cleft lip.
The couple’s doctor helped ease their concerns and calm their initial shock when he explained to them that cleft lip surgery was an option and that an organization called Operation Smile devoted their time and resources to help give children like theirs a new chance at life with free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery. Their doctor told them tt would be essential for them to keep their baby healthy and well-nourished so that he could be a candidate for surgery when the time comes.
The couple received strong support and encouragement from their friends and family when they returned home after the birth of their twin boys, Thien and Phuc. While Phuc suffered from a cleft lip, his family and community treated him the same as his brother, Thien. Cong and Thu were told that Operation Smile would return with a medical mission in Hanoi in November. The family held onto hope that Phuc would able to receive surgery.
This week, a local group in their village provided transportation for the family, and other families in the region, to travel to the hospital where Operation Smile would be working. Upon arriving at the hospital, Cong and Thu were very surprised to see so many other families with children who were born with cleft lip and cleft palate.
After a day of medical screening and other tests, Cong and Thu were so thankful to learn that Phuc was cleared for surgery. While the new parents were worried about surgery, they were hopeful of a bright life for Phuc as a result of safe and effective surgical care that Operation Smile provides. They knew they were handing their baby to the capable hands of a dedicated surgical team.
This evening, Thu sits holding Phuc in her arms. Looking down at her son, she could not be happier. Phuc smiles back up at her as though he didn’t even undergo a surgical procedure. Not only are Cong and Thu thankful for Operation Smile’s work, but they find peace in the fact that both their sons will now have a chance to grow up together, both with bright futures.
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