It’s taken more than a year, but a bill inspired by Hope is now part of Ohio Law.
This evening, Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 135, designating September as Craniofacial Acceptance Month. The Civee, Hope, Luke, The Civee’s parents and myself attended the signing with the bill’s sponsor, Senator Eric Kearney and some of the staff from the Cleft Lip and Palate Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It was an incredible event to be a part of.
After waiting with sponsors and people involved with other bills getting signed, we got our own session with the governor. Luke had fallen asleep in my arms while we were waiting. We were ushered into the governor’s office, introduced and he started to talking to us. We thanked him and right off the bat, The Civee mentioned several of the state agencies and programs that helped us with Hope’s surgeries and therapy. The Governor invited Hope to come sit in his lap, which she did. He was explaining the signing process to her, but I think she really wanted to steal one of his pens.
He looked at me and said “tell me about her.” Even thought I was on the spot, I threw out everything I could think of-I mentioned she was born with a cleft lip and palate, has had two surgeries (but left out that she’ll need more) and has received therapy both at Nationwide and from a county school. He said it looked like she was doing great, which I agreed with.
The Governor then asked me about Luke (who had made it up to my shoulder, still asleep) and said “he’s perfect, isn’t he.” I instinctively replied “yes, they both are,” not trying to correct him, but more proud of both of my children.
Governor Kasich was really nice with us and took a bunch of pictures while signing the bill. He asked Hope to sit in his lap again at the end and pointed out the desk was used once by Abraham Lincoln. Hope seemed to like listening as he told her a bit about the 16th President. I really wanted to say “Hope, we met him at the fair,” but this time I kept my mouth shut.
And just like that it was over. We got one of the 50 pens used during the signing, which I’m going to put away somewhere for Hope. I’m happy we did this for many reasons, but the biggest is to raise awareness and get appreciation for those affected by craniofacial issues and those who help them. I’m also happy we did this for Hope. She’s too young to appreciate it now, but maybe she can use the experience for a civics class or something in the future.