Jackson and his amazing Mama Kara joined me in the studio a few weeks ago. This beautiful little man is three and a half months old and has the most gorgeous, engaging eyes! His peaceful disposition is not a photographic illusion— he was such a pleasure to work with!
This project is about the children and the families. This project is intended to bring awareness and compassion and love and respect. I have spent the past ten years yearning to give back to the Cleft-affected community. I realized that what brought me the greatest comfort was talking with other families. It is an honor to be of service to those who need it most.
When I asked Kara what she wanted people to know about her journey, she told me that accepting Jackson’s condition was most difficult. Before acceptance, there is a period of mourning. We grieve for the baby that we thought we’d have; we reconcile by filtering all of our love and protection into this little being that needs us so. So, how can one move on past the ideals of beauty, specifically the beauty ideals of other people? How can a mother embrace the future, the welcoming of a baby that will undoubtedly have a difficult journey ahead?
Kara stated: The most important step is realizing that the conventional idea of a “perfect” baby is so incredibly flawed. Every baby that enters this world redefines perfection. Their differences are what make them so amazing…and some differences are just more obvious than others. A cleft does not make a baby less incredible or less beautiful. We have beautiful babies that are happy and full of life…and we get to fall in love with our child’s smile twice. How many other parents get to have that opportunity?