Thursday, February 19, 2009


thisibelieve.org was just introduced to me by my husband, John....who was convinced that I could write a This I believe statement. I thought he was nuts until I started writing. I just posted the following statement to this website. I won't hear anything for a few weeks as to whether or not they will use it-but it was fun to write and to think about nonetheless.

Hope you enjoy!!!

This I believe....

I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God is in charge of it all. He knew that I would be blessed with a child who would be born with a birth defect. Two years ago, I found out that my daughter was going to be born with a cleft lip. I knew something was wrong before the doctor even told us. God knew that I would think it was something "wrong" until the minute she was born.

My daughter’s birth taught me that beauty is all around us. We are so consumed with what others tell us is beautiful, that we often forget to see it for ourselves. I never saw true beauty until the minute I first laid eyes on my daughter, Adalynn. Her birth made me realize that having a cleft really wasn't anything that was "wrong", but something that just was.

God knows what we will teach others while we are on the earth. He knew Adalynn would be born with a cleft lip and he knew that she had a lot to teach. Much of her teaching would be done before she uttered a single word. She began teaching before she was born. She not only taught me so much, but my family, and even my classroom full of students. She taught me, and so many others, that beauty is not perfect. Perfect is not beauty. We see things that are beautiful when we really look around us and notice the small things. We do not see beauty when we dwell on what society tells us in beautiful.

Two years ago, I never would have thought I would miss that first wide smile, the way her lip spread apart when she grinned. I really thought that I would look forward to that first surgery, when she would be "fixed". That was until the minute she was born and I realized that she was not broken. I didn't realize how everything I once believed would change in just a few seconds.

I quickly learned that a mother's love knows no boundaries. I didn't really understand that until Adalynn was born. I knew how much I loved my two older children. I knew I loved them even when they were misbehaving and that I would love them forever. But when my daughter was born, I learned that a mother loves regardless of what society says is beautiful. I loved her exactly how she was and nothing would change that-not how she looked and definitely not what others said about her. I knew that God gave her to me to teach me how much He loves us. He loves us the way we love our children; regardless of what we do, regardless of how we look, and regardless of what others say about us.

Having a child born with a cleft lip and palate may be considered by doctors as just a fluke. It may be considered genetic. It may even be considered part of bigger syndrome. Honestly, I don't think so. I believe that it happens for a reason. I now understand that reason and that it is all part of God's plan.

That being said....it was two years ago this month that we found out about Adalynn's cleft lip and palate. So much has happened during the past two years and there were many ups and even more downs, but I wouldn't change them for the world! It has been a beautiful journey and I know God has been in charge of it all. Thank you for being apart of this journey with us!


  1. I have chills Shannon, that was awesome! Perfectly stated.

  2. VERY well said. Took the words right from my heart when my brain couldn't process them. My little guy has taught me more then any other single person in my life. We are approaching his first birthday in about 10 days and it amazes me more and more each day how he teaches the entire family on a daily basis. Thank you for this post.

  3. You totally made me cry.... thank you for stating that so wonderfully!

  4. That is really great Shannon, very well written. Thanks for sharing. And sheesh time flies, I can't believe that was 2 years ago already.