Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia –
Aris Warsianto and his new wife were overjoyed when she began to show signs of pregnancy. A daily worker at a logging company earning less than $35 a month, Aris was happily looking forward to the birth of his first child, but his wife’s belly was getting larger than he ever expected. A local doctor soon gave the couple the news: TWINS! Months of earger anticipation culminated on what was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives. As the doctor handed him his first born son, Aris’ joy turned to sorrow and confusion. His son had been born with a grotesque facial deformity. In shock, Aris clutched his infant son in his hands as the doctor showed him his second son, with an even more pronounced cleft. He could not hear his wife’s calls to hold their sons. He could only stare blankly, wondering what he did wrong. The doctor informed her that their sons had cleft lips and cleft palates: tears ran down her cheeks when she saw her sons for the first time and finally understood what he meant.
In an instant, all of their dreams came crashing down. Their hopes of sending their boys to school and raising a family, replaced by dread, hopelessness, and the knowledge that their boys would never have normal lives. The doctors had mentioned that a surgery could repair Ahamd Alfin Darmawan and Ahmad Alfan Darmawan, but Aris knew they would never be able to afford the surgery. For weeks, he wrestled with this despair and concluded that the only way to prevent the pain and suffering his boys would face was to end their lives. He thought of numerous ways to do it, but he could never bring himself to commit such an horrific act. Aris and his family would suffer, but they would suffer together.
Then one day, after hearing of the twins, a man from a nearby village came to speak with Aris. The man arrived with his own young child who was born with a cleft, but had received surgery through Smile Train. Aris ran his finger across the child’s lip as the man told him that the Surabaya Cleft Lip Palate Center would do the surgeries for free. Aris did not wait. The next day, the boys were being examined at Surbaya Cleft Lip and Palate Center as the staff showed the parents pictures of other patients who had the surgery and how different they looked afterwards. The staff set a surgery date for both little boys and lifted the heavy burden from their young parents, renewing the hope and joy that preceded their births. As our Smile Train doctors brought Ahmad Alfin and Ahmad Alfan out of the operating room, Aris could not hold back tears of happiness.
Thanks to our amazing partner in East Java, the benevolvent stranger who had suffered the same pains, and our donors, Ahmad Alfin and Ahmad Alfan have been given beautiful smiles that will last a lifetime.