She Was Born ‘The Girl Without a Face.’ If Only Those Who Suggested Abortion Could See Her Now.

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She made headlines worldwide after she was born. Known as “the girl born without a face,” Juliana Wetmore’s progress has been tracked over the years by First Coast News (FCN). It recently shared an update about 12-year-old Juliana now playing the violin and graduating from the fifth grade.

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IJReview reached out to Juliana’s mom, Tami Wetmore, to find out more about this family’s amazing story. Tami shared how it all started:

It was noticed very early in my pregnancy that something was different with Juliana. During the routine ultrasound the tech was not able to locate her stomach.

We returned for a follow-up ultrasound and then were sent to a larger hospital which deals with high risk pregnancies. They were finally able to locate her stomach, but during that ultrasound we were told that she was not developing typically.

Then they were confronted with the decision whether to continue the pregnancy or not. They chose life. Tami explains why:

We were a little taken aback by the question. We are not supposed to have all of the answers, we know the one who does!

Thom and Tami went ahead with the pregnancy. Tami only remembers “bits and pieces” from Juliana’s birth, but husband Thom’s Navy training kicked in and helped him calmly handle the chaos of the situation. Tami continues:

[Julaina’s] birth was very traumatic. The doctors and staff were very prepared and God was orchestrating every detail of it. We had been told that if my water broke anywhere but in the hospital she most likely would not survive. The doctor ended up having to break my water. She was born an hour-and-47-minutes later.

After 16 days in the NICU, the proud parents were able, “with trembling hands and tears of gratitude,” to take home their new bundle of joy to join her big sister, Kendra:

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Some may wonder what it is like raising a child with Treacher Collins. For Tami, being a parent is being a parent, no matter what challenges a child may have:

We have never treated Juliana as different other than her medical needs. She is expected to work hard in school and earn her grades just like any of our other children. She is expected to keep her room tidy and she has responsibilities in our house, just as everyone else does.

Today, their family consists of parents Thom and Tami, Kendra, Juliana, Danica, Kyra, Alexis and Caleb. Danica, who is from Ukraine, also has Treacher Collins and was adopted by the Wetmores. Kyra, Alexis and Caleb are three siblings whom the Wetmores also adopted.

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For Thom and Tami, the greatest challenge they’ve faced in raising Juliana has been handling watching her have to undergo so many surgical procedures:

As parents, our greatest challenge has been laying her on the operating table time and time again. It never gets easier. Juliana will still have a couple of more procedures done on her cheeks. Other than that, she is content and confident with how she looks.

There have been two separate occasions over the years when as parents we have heard “she may not make it through this”. Both times the only control that we had was to hit our knees and pray healing over our precious girl.

The family is particularly grateful for her medical team in Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. Tami says of them, “We are forever grateful for the special people who have cared for [Juliana]. Dr. Anthony Wolfe is her Craniofacial surgeon and we are blessed by his expertise in the field.”

For Thom and Tami, the greatest challenge they’ve faced in raising Juliana has been handling watching her have to undergo so many surgical procedures:

As parents, our greatest challenge has been laying her on the operating table time and time again. It never gets easier. Juliana will still have a couple of more procedures done on her cheeks. Other than that, she is content and confident with how she looks.

There have been two separate occasions over the years when as parents we have heard “she may not make it through this”. Both times the only control that we had was to hit our knees and pray healing over our precious girl.

The family is particularly grateful for her medical team in Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. Tami says of them, “We are forever grateful for the special people who have cared for [Juliana]. Dr. Anthony Wolfe is her Craniofacial surgeon and we are blessed by his expertise in the field.”

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The family recently moved to Texas from Florida. Tami says Juliana adjusted well and that both school staff and students “welcomed her with open arms.” Tami shared that Juliana has the same interests and dreams as other children:

She loves to watch movies and listen to music. She will be joining the school orchestra this next school year and she is very excited about that.

What does Juliana want to be when she grows up? Tami answered that “she has dreams of being a deaf ed teacher.”

5Tami added, “I am most proud of the love that Juliana shows to everyone that she meets. She is most definitely a world changer through her heart and compassion.”

What advice does Tami have for people when they encounter someone who is “different”?

Treat them with kindness. Chances are they are more like you than you think. Please be respectful and speak with kind words, but ask your questions. Think first about how you would want that same question asked to you.

Tami adds that as a parent, she would much rather answer questions than have her daughter be treated differently, noting that even when other parents try to avoid making a scene, “we still see you when you pull your children away.”

Note: This article was edited for accuracy after publication.

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