This book started as an idea between a couple of moms that wanted to help others in their own cleft journey.  We connected with our cause through an online support group for parents of children with a cleft.  We know how wonderful and encouraging it is to read and hear others' cleft journey.  As parents of cleft affected children, we may experience trials and blessings different than some may deem normal, but our children are more than normal, they are extraordinary! 
Putting together a collection of cleft stories is an incredible way to lift spirits and support others that are traveling the same road.
If you have any questions, feel free to send an email to

Julie Cwir is a full time mom from a small town in Canada and is the compiler and editor of this book.  Julie has always been creative, resourceful and driven.  She likes to exert her creativity through singing, sewing, and writing songs and children's books.

In July 2011, Julie gave birth to a son with a cleft lip. This event has introduced another passion in her life and that is to support the cleft lip and palate cause

Dr. Andrew Ordon, MD, FACS, from the TV show The Doctors, has written the foreword for the first book, I Wish I'd Known... How Much I'd Love You. Of the book he writes, "I, personally, now feel better equipped to treat my cleft patients having the benefit of better comprehension of our patients as  whole and not just an operation."

Dr. Ordon practices plastic and reconstructive surgery in California, USA.   Ordon is one of the founders of the Surgical Friends Foundation

Dr. Ordon has also had the opportunity to work with Smile Train.  Ordon had wonderful things to say about his experience with Smile Train.  "Working with Smile Train in India was the best experience I have had in my career! The whole trip left me inspired with a sense of accomplishment I have not felt before. It made me feel proud to be a plastic and reconstructive surgeon... utilizing my skills for such a noble cause."

Frequently Asked Questions


>>We have compiled cleft stories written by parents of cleft affected children to create a book titled, I Wish I’d Known… How Much I’d Love You!  This first book was published in 2013 and we are now working on the second edition titled I Wish I'd Known Clefts Create Courage

>>The book includes stories, photos, our cleft survey results, cleft information, resource lists, cleft frequently asked questions and more!



>>We are simply some moms of cleft affected children who have gathered together to work on this project. Julie Cwir is the compiler and editor for the book.

>>We are not an organization, nor are we affiliated with any group or organization.

>>Dr. Andrew Ordon of The Doctors TV Show has written the foreword for I Wish I'd Known... How Much I'd Love You.

>>Proceeds from your book order will be going to Cleft Charities. There are many wonderful cleft organizations that we support through social media as well. So far, donations have been made to Smile Train, Transforming Faces, About Face, and Cleft Advocate.



>>Story Submissions for the current book are being accepted now until filled. Stories will be accepted until June 5th, 2016.

>>I Wish I'd Known... How Much I'd Love You was published December 2013. The book can be ordered online, through your local bookstore, or you can purchase an ebook via Amazon. People on our email list will be receiving updates along our journey.


>>Because of the wonder of the internet, this whole book has been put together online.

>>Stories have been submitted from all over the world. You don’t need to be from a certain country or culture to submit a story



>>We have a stories to share. We have experiences and advice to pass on to others. These books are incredible resources to those in the cleft community and others wanting to learn more.

>>We also aim to bring about cleft awareness through Facebook, Twitter, and media.

>>Why I Wish I’d Known… How Much I'd Love You? After first facing the news that their child has a cleft condition, many parents go through a grieving period. This first phase of the cleft journey can be sad, depressing, frightful, stressful and leaves many heavy-hearted. Once parents meet and bond with their precious and perfect child, they all come to the realization that love conquers fear. The love that a parent has for their child is so great that it surmounts any grief, any stress or sadness. Also, with each story submission, we ask what the parent wishes they would’ve known about their cleft journey.

>>Why I Wish I'd Known Clefts Create Courage? Those born with a cleft may experience a lot more physical and emotional struggles than those born without a difference. These life experiences shape us in to the people we are destined to be. These children are brave, beautiful, happy, loving, sensitive, and COURAGEOUS. Despite their uncommon journey, cleft children are just like anyone else and are NOT defined by their physical difference.



>>Submit Your Story!!!

>>Tell everyone you know about our book!  Parents of cleft affected children, medical professionals, as well as the everyday person will find this book interesting.

>>You can also help by donating to Smile Train in honor of our initiative. 

>>Follow us on Twitter (@cleftbook) and ‘like’ our page on Facebook “I Wish I’d Known”

>>Do you have a special talent or profession that may be helpful for us in the editing process?  If you would like to offer your help with possible future projects, email