This little ham, Miss Lake. From the moment miss thing and I hugged, we were "best friends." Which made complete sense, we share a genuine love for the camera. I let her snag a few photos of "Mommy" and "Gma," and they weren't half bad! A future-fellow-cleftie-photographer?! PERHAPS! After, I let Lake play with the camera a bit I sat with her mother, Lindsay, and her grandmother, Kim to share our cleft journey's with each other. I sat across from these two women, powerfully in love with this little girl, and just listened. How Lindsay found her life headed in a direction she did not want when she became pregnant with Lake; and how she found out while driving to work that her baby girl may or may not have a cleft lip that is typically partnered with cleft palate. This was a life altering change in a young woman's life...she had no idea what that even meant. The months pass and Lindsay's relationship with Lake's father grows stronger with the approaching due date. They have come to the decision that, regardless of what they have to deal with, they will get through it, together. 

Lake and Mom.jpg

  I was lucky enough to get to spend a beautiful Monday morning with this sweet girl. They say there is something in the eyes of clefties; well now imagine when two clefties meet. For me? There is something about the eye contact that gives me a specific emotion. Nothing like I have ever felt before. Some sort of powerful vibe? I don't even know the right word for it, but whatever it is, it moves me. To my new little darling sister, you are just at the beginning of your story, but you too are CLEFT STRONG. 

Plus, we are "best friends" now. I'm going to hold you to that, Miss Lake. 

Zachary Rodetis-Urenda