Why I won’t hide him from the world

Lacey Buchanan, 25, of Woodbury, Tennessee, created a video about her blind son, Christian, so he’ll know that he has value beyond his looks. The homemade footage made on her iPhone, tells the story with flashcards of what it was like learning that her son might not live when she was pregnant and then finding out that he had Tessier cleft, a diagnosis only about 50 people in the world share. The video initially posted on a religious website, was reposted to YouTube and other sites. The footage went viral with roughly 7 million hits.

My mom story

by Lacey Buchanan
as told to Julie Weingarden Dubin

I married my high school sweetheart, Chris, an insurance claims processor. I was so excited to start a family with him. But something didn’t feel right from the moment I learned I was pregnant in June 2010.

The day of the 18-week ultrasound, we weren't told anything. We got a call later in the week saying that we needed to come back in for more ultrasounds because the doctor was concerned about a cleft. As Christian got bigger, we had more ultrasounds to see if we could get a better idea, but the doctors just couldn't pinpoint exactly what was going on. We didn’t even know if he’d survive the pregnancy.

I’ll never forget the moment of his birth. He screamed — he was alive! His internal organs were normal but he was born without eyes. It took two months to get a diagnosis: Tessier cleft, which means he couldn’t fully close his mouth and his eyes are also clefted — they never formed.

Shaking my sadness

At first I was devastated — I already loved my baby so much and to know that he was going to have to go through so many hardships broke my heart.

It’s emotionally challenging raising a child who is blind. I think about all the stuff he’ll probably never do like drive a car and I also struggle sometimes with how to teach him things because I don’t know what it’s like not to have sight.

The hardest part of our journey so far has been watching Christian go through surgeries — knowing that he’s in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Christian still has dozens of surgeries ahead of him — all reconstructive surgeries to repair his cleft lip and palate.

A normal boy

Christian loves music, swimming, singing and playing outside. He’s so smart and figures things out faster than I’d expect him to. He’s silly and never stops laughing. He’s just a normal kid who loves life. He wakes up every day with a smile on his face!

I used to want to hide inside. Trips to the grocery store were painful. People would whisper behind my back and point to Christian. But then I realized I didn’t really care what people think. Thankfully, we’ve received a great deal of support from our friends and church.

My lessons

I initially had to overcome self-pity, but I dealt with it and moved on. I had to face the challenges of people who aren’t accepting of Christian. One girl even told me I should have aborted the pregnancy. I learned to let rude comments roll off my back.

Sometimes people feel sorry for me but I don’t want them to. I have hard times but I also experience joys most people never get to experience. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I still would have carried Christian.

I work full-time teaching at an in-home daycare, and a nurse comes to the house to watch Christian. I go to law school at night with the goal of helping people with special needs. Sharing the video with the world has brought our family many new friends and has shown me that Christian is going to be accepted and loved by those around him.

Motherhood’s helped me realize who I really am, and who I want to be. So many times when I’m trying to teach Christian, he’s really teaching me. Christian’s made more of a difference at 14 months inspiring others throughout the world, than most people ever do.

Mom wisdom

Appreciate the good in every situation and stop worrying about tomorrow. It won't change a thing. Do what you have to do to get through today and go to bed at night knowing you did everything you could to make your situation better.

Watch Lacey Buchanan's inspirational video

Read more on kids and special needs

Mom story: My daughter has Williams syndrome
Parenting a child with a disability: Welcoming your child to the family

Parenting and autism: Amy’s story

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Comments

Comments on "Mom story: I made a video about my blind son"

Cynthia June 17, 2012 | 3:26 PM

You are an amazing woman! I remember the dr.s trying so hard to talk me into having an abortion due to serious physical deformality. I, too, would have done it all over again to have my daughter, who is now 26 years old and have fallen in love with a man who loves her, even with her physical disabilities. You go girl! What a beautiful and wonderful family you have.

April June 15, 2012 | 3:18 PM

This video is so touching. Lacey, the emotion in your face took me on a journey. I laughed, I cried, I got angry...sad...happy. I was on the emotional roller coaster that you have been on. I feel so blessed that you shared your story with me...and the world. You and your family are now in my prayers. P.S.: I absolutely LOVED the music you played! They play those songs in my church :0). God Bless...

whelyne May 31, 2012 | 2:26 AM

I love you Christian! Lacey, you are still blessed to have Christian in your life. God have given us trials with purposes. I am very touch in your courage and love to your son. I am 27 and have two kids and I realized that our problem is so little than yours, but that problem makes you and your husband stronger that made you happy. My prayers be with you and Christian. Godbless and love you Christian From Philippines, Roxas City

Murielle May 28, 2012 | 3:07 PM

I love Lacey! And Christian,of course! And his daddy too! Beautiful loving family! I love you & pray for you! Thank you Lacey for your love and example courage! YES! You are giving so much to your son (Unconditionnal Love! ...and lets go shopping with mamma! The best friend Christian has,and with his loving daddy!) and also to this human world!Merci! de tout mon coeur!X! from: Québec, Canada We need it too! Lots of love, always!XXX!MC

older mom May 26, 2012 | 3:12 PM

god bless this woman,her husband and this child..it takes a great deal of strength and love to care for a baby with any type of problem..i will bet you he brings great joy to them , and god has a true purpose in life for them and this baby..people who stare or make remarks are cruel and insensative..

M. Eubank May 26, 2012 | 6:51 AM

The love this mother has for her son is so inspiring. Thank you for publishing it! I too struggle with a disability.

Sam0616 May 25, 2012 | 8:43 PM

This beautiful girl, woman, mother has been such an inspiration to me and many others. She probably has no idea of the impact her beautiful child has made on "us". She makes me feel like there is hope and beauty in the world and everything is not as bad as it may seem. I am not religious at all, but she makes me believe there must be a GOD. I am a 42 year old Jewish woman with a 12 year old daughter and a son the same age as Christian, (and am almost old enough to be her mother), yet she has taught me so much about love and I think she is one of the most amazing people I have come across in a long time (all at the age of 25)..all I can say is AMAZING!

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