Miss Sunshine's cleft palate is only one of MANY craniofacial defects. While cleft lip and cleft palate are certainly the most common, (in fact, they are one of the most common birth defects PERIOD, occuring in roughly 1 in every 500 births) they are by no means the only. All of these defects affect a child's face and head. Most of them will endure numerous surgeries in attempts to correct problems that may arise from the defects, and many of them will have visible scarring or abnormalities long after surgery is completed.
The time to educate ourselves about these things is now. More than ever I have come to realize that you just truly never know what can happen. Miss Sunshine's cleft certainly threw us for a considerable loop as we had no prior family history and no indications on any of the (many) ultrasounds I had during my pregnancy that she had a defect. (And again, a post for another time on how I hate that term...) These things just happen. Doctors don't know why, parents don't know why. Only God (or whatever you happen to believe in) knows why our children are born the way they are, be they "normal" or not. It certainly doesn't make them any less of a person or less important or just less. If anything, I think it makes them MORE. The bonds that are developed when you go through surgery with a child are so much stronger than I ever imagined they could be.
I can tell you that if we had it to do over, I don't think we'd change a thing about Miss Sunshine being born with a cleft palate. Granted, we certainly wouldn't want her to have to endure the pain of surgery like she has, but beyond that, I don't know that we'd change it. This whole experience has made us stronger as people, stronger as parents, stronger as a couple, and most importantly, stronger as a family. It doesn't get much better than that.