"What a wonderful surprise to find out that at 40 years of age and after 7 years of marraige we were pregnant. 'Delightedly gobsmacked' was the phrase we used in those early days. Emily's birth in July 2003 was a time of much joy for our families.
"Unfortunately, it was followed 3 days later by news that Emily had a bi-lateral cleft palate. Doctor's visits, medical tests and feeding issues dominated the first 6 months of her life.
"Once major surgery to repair the palate had been done we felt at last able to relax and enjoy our beautiful little girl.
"Then in early 2005, Emily's paediatrician advised us that her speech was not developing as well as it should. It was on his advice we contacted The Infants' Home as he felt you would be able to provide the environment and support we needed.
"In June 2005, Emily commenced at Murray House for 3 days per week. At first we were a little nervous about how she would deal with moving from a home-based environment with only one other child into a much larger, centre-based situation.
"However, within 2 weeks the morning grizzle had stopped and been replaced with cuddles for Rebecca and her team. Within 3 weeks there was a noticeable improvement in Emily's speech.
"All of a sudden Emily went from having a vocabulary of 3 words in total, to actually stringing together 2 and 3-word sentences!
"She also sleeps and eats better when she is with you and she has appeared to gain confidence socially.
"We recently saw our paediatrician and he is delighted with Emily's progress, as are we. From the very first contact we have been listened to and as a consequence felt cared for and important.
"We have always been open about Emily's cleft and obviously the team was aware of the situation.
"We get the feeling that they watch over this aspect unobtrusively but carefully. Overall, Emily is cared for with much care and affection.
"As time goes on we continue to see improvements. With your help we are starting once again to relax and not worry. In a way it feels as if we have come home.
"So from our family to yours – thank you".
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