Some Cleft Lip kids still have a Scary Face after Halloween

610px-Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31By Terry Ryan

A scary face is acceptable at Halloween time, in fact expected, and the scarier the better according to most children. But what happens to the child that still has a “scary” face after Halloween when they take their Frankenstein or Dracula masks off? I’m talking about children who suffer from cleft lips.  They can never take off  their facial deformities or scars from the many operations they have had to endure to correct their smiles. These children have to tolerate the stares and questions from “normal” kids, and it’s a cruel world so they must persist through years of  humiliating bullying because they look different.

Why do people single out and abuse people that are different? When did this all begin?

When did staring and picking on someone because they are unusual become a normal thing to do? For people who suffer with facial deformities, this is a horrible part of life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently estimated that each year 2,651 babies in the United States are born with a cleft palate and 4,437 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate. Cleft lip is more common than cleft palate. Isolated oralfacial clefts, or clefts that occur with no other birth defects, are one of the most common birth defects in the United States.

In Cleft Heart, Karl Schonborn describes in detail the ordeal that he went through living with a cleft lip and palate. He was by engulfed by doctors as he went through many operations and tormented  by bullies for his remaining scars. It wasn’t a glorious childhood but more of a struggle to survive.

{Aside: I myself had my first experience of seeing a cleft lip on one of my young customers at a place I once worked. Interestingly, his name was Karl too, and it was very obvious that he had a cleft lip. He was adorable and had a sweet personality, but I noticed the other customers shaking their heads once he and his parents left the room as to say, “poor  child.” Poor child?  I thought this Karl was great, but I also realized that people are so judgmental about physical appearance that he would always have a hill to climb to fit in.)

So, I would dare to say that Halloween must be a cleft lip child’s favorite holiday because that is the only day that he/she gets to put on a scary mask and for that one day, be like all the other scary faces ringing doorbells for candy.

For more information about Terry, guest blogger and an expert in Internet Marketing Training,  connect via @Mslakegeorge  and

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To learn about CLEFT HEART: Chasing Normal, click the Amazon or Barnes & Noble buttons in the margins. Or click the image of the book cover. My coming-of-age memoir has intertwining love stories, mystery, tragedy, and triumph.


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