Emerging from Shadows: A Mother’s Delight in Her Son’s Inspiring Resilience

Christain Buchanan was diagnosed with Tessier cleft lip and palate, an ultra-rare condition resulting from facial tissues not joining properly during development.

This inspiring six-year-old boy, born without eyes and unable to eat, aims to change attitudes towards individuals with severe facial disfigurements.

His condition, documented only 60 times in medical history, left Christian completely blind with significant gaps in his face, affecting his ability to eat and speak.

However, it hasn’t hindered Christian from leading a full life, whether it’s wrestling with his younger brother, playing with Lego, or learning karate.

His heartwarming story challenges perceptions and highlights the resilience of the human spirit in the face of extraordinary challenges.


Lacey Buchanan holding Christian as a newborn (Barcroft Media)


Father Chris Buchanan peering over his son Christian’s crib in the hospital (Barcroft Media)

Lacey, Christian’s mother, shared with Barcroft TV: “Christian’s condition is known as Tessier Cleft Lip and Palate, with classifications three, four, and five, which include microphthalmia.

“His condition resulted from amniotic banding syndrome. Fibrous bands can form in the womb, and if they attach to the baby, they cut off blood flow. So, Christian’s banding happened to attach to his face.”

When Christian was born, he couldn’t eat due to the gaps on his face caused by the cleft, and he has been using a feeding tube since he was four days old.

For Christian, this condition has meant he has never been able to see, and it has also impacted his learning and speech development. Nevertheless, these challenges haven’t hindered him from living a full life.


Lacey and Christian are campaigning to raise awareness of individuals with facial disabilities.


Christian Buchanan in a graduation gown and his mom Lacey.

Lacey explained: “Christian is a very typical six-year-old little boy. He likes to wrestle with his little brother – all the things that any six-year-old would enjoy.

“The biggest way Christian’s condition affects his daily life is his vision impairment.

“Because he is completely blind, he has to learn to navigate the world in the dark.

“Our world is made for sighted people, and he has to learn to live in it without the benefit of sight, so it takes some figuring, and we have to do things a little differently sometimes but it’s totally doable, and he is doing i


Dad Chris Buchanan, Chandler, Lacey, and Christian.


Christian was born with large gaps in his face.

He is home-schooled and attends Special Kids Therapy & Nursing Center in Murfreesboro once a week, where he learns a variety of skills, from dressing himself to improving his speech.

Lacey said: “Right now, Christian is doing a Lego class, a US geography class, and creative writing. And he is with peers his age, and they are all good friends, and it has really boosted him socially to help him interact with his peers a lot better.

“In occupational therapy right now, he is dressing himself. He just mastered taking shoes off and on.”

To date, Christian has undergone seven operations, three of those to reconstruct his face and close the gaps that the cleft created, enabling him to eventually speak and eat properly.

imageLacey Buchanan cuddling her six-year-old son, Christian, at their home in Woodbury, Tennessee (Barcroft Media)

Lacey explained: “Christian will have more surgeries in the future; that’s just the nature of this beast.”

While Lacey hoped she’d be bringing Christian up in a world that understood his condition, she was shocked at some people’s reactions to Christian.

Lacey said: “I was unaware before Christian was born that there is this huge social stigma about being different, looking different, and most people didn’t know how to handle somebody with that type of difference.

“Just recently, we had an issue; we were in a store, and Christian was playing with a little toy on the shelf, and a lady walked by and said, ‘eww.’

“He has heard people making certain comments. He hears kids say things like ‘Why does he look like that? What’s wrong with his eyes?’

“I have always answered children in a very positive, upbeat tone, and I will say things like, ‘Oh, that’s just how Christian was born.'”


Christian Buchanan practicing karate with his teacher (Barcroft Media)

“And they will say, ‘Why does he have red eyes?’ I will say, ‘That’s just how he was made. Yeah, he has got red eyes, you know, it’s cool.’

“He’s learnt over the course of a couple of weeks to say, ‘Oh, that’s just how God made me.’

He would say, ‘That’s how I was born and I was born awesome.’ I give him some scripts to say.”

As well as being a keen violist, Christian is currently working towards an orange belt in karate, and Lacey has seen her son’s confidence grow.

Lacey said: “I would definitely describe Christian as independent. I remember a few years ago he started saying, ‘I want to do it all by myself mummy.’

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