Early in their marriage, Kari and Scott College decided to grow their family through adoption. After Kari volunteered at an orphanage in Beijing, the Colleges knew that this was the future of their family. With the help of an adoption agency, they found a baby boy from China with a third-degree cleft lip and palate.
“We knew he had a cleft palate, but didn’t really understand what that meant,” Scott said. “We jumped in, heart first.”
Based on a reference from a family friend, the Colleges sent the boy’s medical file to Dr. Edward Kolb, hospital director and medical director at Boys Town National Research Hospital. Dr. Kolb explained the implications and treatments of the condition.
It was a lot to take in, but Kari and Scott did not care. They had fallen in love with the little boy in the adoption file.
On May 13, 2008, Elijah (Eli) officially became a member of the College family. He arrived at age 2, never having heard the English language and never having received treatment for his cleft palate. After a year of surgeries and speech therapy at the Boys Town Craniofacial Clinic, his incredible progress was undeniable.
“His speech and language skills really took off,” Kari said. “It was like he was just waiting to be given the opportunity.”
With their support system and the success of their son in mind, the Colleges confidently started the adoption process again. When filling out the form for their next adoption, they were sure to check the box indicating they would adopt a child with a cleft lip and/or palate.
On July 6, 2010, 14-month-old Noah joined the College family. Like his adoptive brother, Noah had a cleft lip and palate, but Kari and Scott were confident he could be just as successful with the help of Boys Town Hospital.
With their care plan well underway, Eli and Noah are happy, healthy boys. Their parents joke that the youngsters “complete each other.” They began their lives as young strangers with cleft lips on opposite sides. They’ve grown to be brothers whose personalities are compatibly different.
“Boys Town has been life-changing for our boys,” Scott said. “The professional medical help and care we have received has far surpassed anything we could have expected. Over the years, they have become an extended family to us. You can tell they care about our boys and their development and well-being.”
Services like the Craniofacial Clinic exemplify the mission of Boys Town Hospital – to change the way America cares for kids and families. Through comprehensive, patient-focused programs, Boys Town Hospital provides life-changing care.
This Memorial Day, we invite the community to contribute to this mission. Join Boys Town Hospital at the Memorial Day Run, as we raise money to support the life-changing programs that impact kids with communication disorders and their families in Omaha, and around the world.