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Nicholas was born to Jim and Joni on January 12, 1998, the 11th child of our proud family and the only one affected with left unilateral cleft lip and pre palate, possibly sub mucosa, defect. He will need a bone graft, full rhinoplasty, and "touch up" repair.

Nick at 3 months, 1 day before repair.

We took Nick to all the brother's and sister's classroom's at our Catholic elementary school and explained the causes, genetics and emotional aspects of the cleft affected family. The children in the classrooms were so extremely delighted with the knowledge that they received, and were so relieved to learn the details of cleft affected family's, that they turned the fear and ignorance into joy and prayer for Nick by writing many prayers for his successful surgeries. They gave these written prayers to us and we have kept them in his baby book! The children actually "fought" over who could hold and kiss our precious little Nick!

When ignorance is replaced with knowledge, wonderful things happen!

-- Joni and Jim

P.S. We visited the classrooms when Nick was about 1 week old. He didn't have his repair until 3 months old. Many of the older generation called our son "harelip" etc... The hurt feelings that we experienced on Nick's behalf was almost unbearable. We were resigned on staying at home until these delightful children showed us "the way"!

Nick at 11 months.

Nick's siblings...all 10 of them!

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Nick's parents, Jim and Joni

In memory of Joni ~ April 24, 1999

You spent your life here on earth committed to making this world a better place. Rest in peace, Joni.

Terry posted this on CT...I thought it was appropriate for Joni.

Mothers Never Die -- They Just Keep House Up in the Sky

When we are children, we are happy and gay
And our mother is young and she laughs as we play
Then as we grow up, she teaches us truth
And lays life's foundation in the days of our youth---
And then it is time for us to leave home
but her teachings go with us wherever we roam,
for all that she taught us and all that we did
When we were so often just a "bad little kid"
we will often remember, and then realize
that mothers are special and wonderfully wise...
And as she grows older, we look back with love
Knowing that mothers are "Gifts from Above,"
And when she "goes home" to receive her reward
She will dwell in god's Kingdom and "Keep House for the Lord"
Where she'll "light up" the stars that shine through the night
And keep all the moonbeams "sparkling and bright"
And then with the dawn she'll put the darkness away
As she "scours" the sun to new brilliance each day...
So dry tears of sorrow for mothers don't die---
they just move up with God and "Keep House in the Sky,"
and there in God's Kingdom, Mothers watch from above
To welcome their children with their undying love!

Author Unknown

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