Operations bring smiles back to cleft-palate tots

Lana Lam:

Moments after Mao Dongmei gave birth to her first son, doctors in her hometown of Qidong Lusi in Jiangsu province gave her one piece of advice: get rid of your baby because he is deformed.
“After I gave birth, the doctors suggested I abandon my son because he would not be able to suck on the breast,” 26-year-old Mao said.
Her son, Gu Yanhu, who is now 15 months old, was born with a cleft lip and palate, a congenital deformity that affects one in 600 children born on the mainland.
“But I felt confident that I could look after my baby. I could never abandon him. It was the right choice,” Mao said, as she stroked the dozing toddler after his operation at a charity hospital in Hangzhou run by Operation Smile.