Commencing the amazing adventure of parenthood reveals the limitless happiness and radiant optimism that feed a mother’s spirit and shine a bright light on the path

Christian Buchanan was diagnosed with Tessier cleft lip and palate, an ultra-rare condition caused by facial tissues not joining properly during development. This heartbreaking condition has left Christian, a six-year-old boy from Woodbury, Tennessee, completely blind with large gaps in his face, making it difficult for him to eat and speak.

Christian’s condition is so rare it has only been documented 60 times in medical history. Despite these challenges, Christian leads a full life, enjoying activities like wrestling with his younger brother, playing with Lego, and learning karate.

Lacey Buchanan, Christian’s mom, explained to Barcroft TV: “Christian’s condition is called Tessier Cleft Lip and Palate, with classifications three, four, and five, including microphthalmia. His condition was caused by amniotic banding syndrome, where fibrous bands in the womb attach to the baby, cutting off blood flow, which in Christian’s case, happened to his face.”

At birth, Christian was unable to eat due to the gaps on his face and has used a feeding tube since he was four days old. His condition has also impacted his learning and speech development, but these difficulties have not hindered his vibrant personality and zest for life.

Lacey described Christian as a typical six-year-old boy: “He likes to wrestle with his little brother and enjoys all the things any six-year-old would. The biggest way Christian’s condition affects his daily life is his vision impairment. Our world is made for sighted people, and he has to navigate it without sight, which requires some adjustments, but he is managing it well.”

Christian is home-schooled and attends Special Kids Therapy & Nursing Centre in Murfreesboro once a week, where he learns various skills, including dressing himself and improving his speech. Currently, he is participating in a Lego class, a US geography class, and creative writing, which have significantly boosted his social skills.

Christian has undergone seven operations to reconstruct his face and close the cleft gaps, enabling him to eventually speak and eat properly. He will need more surgeries in the future.

Lacey shared some of the social challenges they face: “I was unaware before Christian was born that there is a huge social stigma about being different. Recently, while in a store, a lady saw Christian playing with a toy and said, ‘eww.’ He hears kids asking why he looks different or what’s wrong with his eyes. I always answer positively, explaining it’s just how Christian was born.”

Christian has learned to respond confidently to such questions, saying, “That’s how I was born, and I was born awesome.” He is a keen violinist and is working towards an orange belt in karate, which has significantly boosted his confidence.


Lacey proudly described her son’s independence: “A few years ago, he started saying, ‘I want to do it all by myself, mommy.’”

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