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Emma, 5

Henrico | Services: Center for Craniofacial Care

A Bright Smile

Before they adopted Emma Blair, 5, from China, her parents Tricia and Ed knew that she had been born with a cleft palate that would need to be repaired when they brought to their home in Henrico. They met with specialists in the Center for Craniofacial Care at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU in advance, and the surgery was completed when Emma was only 18 months old.

Emma and her family still return to the craniofacial clinic every six months and see a dentist, audiologist, ENT (ear, nose and throat specialist), psychologist, plastic surgeon, and speech pathologist. The team makes sure Emma is on the right track and collaborates on any clinical recommendations, such as issues with her speech or future orthodontic work.

“We appreciate having the specialists all at the same facility when we attend clinic,” Ed says. “It makes it easier on Emma and on us as a family to travel to only one facility instead of many.”

“Throughout everything, we also like that the specialists talk to Emma directly, and explain things to her as well as to us,” Tricia adds. “She has a big personality, and they all know her well and have developed real relationships with her.”

When asked what she likes best about the craniofacial clinic, Emma’s answer is more straightforward: “They adore me, and I adore them!”

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