Monday, September 05, 2005

Julianna Whetmore

Many months ago, I linked to a newspaper story about a young girl named Julianna Whetmore. My mom happened to be watching the TLC channel the other night and a one-hour program entitled, "Borm Without a Face" came on. She taped it for me and I watched it this afternoon. It turns out that the program is about Julianna. Check the TLC listings. If it is re-aired at any point, it is well worth seeing.

Julianna's parents are courageous and loving people. It was interesting for me to see Julianna's story told through their perspective - it gave me a unique angle to my own situation and all that my own parents probably went through in the early days when no one knew what was wrong with me or if I had any future at all. It also reminded me, once again, that there is never room for self pity, because even those of us who have suffered much -- there is always someone who has suffered more.

Please be praying for Julianna. She is only two or three now and will need a lot more surgery. I have included some links that tell her story, show some pictures, as well as a mailing address should you want to write the Whetmore's a letter of encouragement.

Here is a link to a local newspaper story about Julianna

Here are some photos of Julianna taken at birth

If you would like to send Julianna a letter:

JULIANA WETMORE
c/o THOM AND TAMI WETMORE
P.O. BOX 65852
ORANGE PARK, FLORIDA 32065

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42 Comments:

Blogger Clint and Heidi said...

Hey stranger! :-)

Thanks so much for including Julianna's story - I remember seeing commercials for that program but didn't get to see it. But wow, what a remarkable family - I was so touched by the way she'd reach out her arms and grasp for someone, what a sweetheart.
Take care - when do you leave by the way?
-Heidi

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to see the documentary on Julianna and her family this week. What an amazing story and what a strong and loving family! My heart absolutely broke watching Julianna crying silently before her operation. Thank you so much for putting this information on your website. God bless.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was channel surfing and came upon the TLC show as sweet, little Julianna was celebrating her 2nd birthday. My heart aches for this precious little spirit and her loving family. My prayers will always be with you, Julianna and family. And TLC, thank you for being there. God bless you and keep you in His care forever, Julianna.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I watched the TLC documentary on Juliana and her wonderful, loving parents, I realized that God placed her in their care for a reason. He knew that she would need an enormous amount of love and encouragement, and support through the years, and Thom and Tami were perfect for the job.
Little Juliana is sure to amaze us all with her gifts as she gets older. My hope is that people will look beyond the surface and see inside her loving, sweet heart and allow her to touch them. May God bless you all.

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this. do you happen to know if the address is current? i would like to try to raise some money over the holidays to send to the wetmore family. my email is fashionpl8@gmail.com if you have any more info.

9:22 PM  
Blogger j.leon said...

That documentary will be airing again for those that have Satellite TV on Discovery Health tommorw, Monday Nov 21st at 8pm

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never had my heart captured as much as I did seeing Julianna! What a courageous, beautiful little girl! The love she has for her parents as she reaches out to them when she is scared just broke my heart. All my love and prayers go to this amazing little girl and her very loving parents.I so want her to be happy!

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this child, she's a beautiful soul. I too would like to know if Julianna's address is current, I'm at ukmisgirl@hotmail.com
God Bless
Joanne

4:52 PM  
Anonymous NanC1112 said...

This little girl has captured my heart hook, line and sinker. My daughter is approximately the same age and it broke my heart watching her cry before surgery as well. I would like to keep current on how Julianna is doing and send encouraging words to her parents. They are the most loving and caring people I think I've ever seen. I am at nlsimoni@comcast.net

12:19 AM  
Blogger J. Harrietha said...

This little girl is the bravest darling I have ever seen. My heart goes out to her, and the beauty of her spirit, despite her difficulties, shine through like a beacon. Juliana, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
mharrietha@cogeco.ca

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the TLC program the other night and was so touched by that brave little girl. I truly believe that she is going to be a very strong force in this world. You are an amazing girl Juliana - stand strong!!!
jackhsowers@cs.com

9:55 PM  
Anonymous jeannie verzi said...

i saw julianna the other night on tlc and i cannot get her off my mind.her inner beauty shines brighter than the rich and famous and so called "beautiful" people of this world. i just wanted to hold her and kiss away her fears of this world and assure her that God has wonderful plans for her in the future.may she and her loving parents hold tight.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If her parents were really loving, they would have ended her suffering a long time ago. She's going to lead a long, painful life now, thanks to her "loving" parents.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, my fellow Anonimi, we are better than this. While there are places worth tarnishing, this site is dedicated to helping the disabled. Did we not flood for injustice on the beaches of eBaums? Did we not fight the cutting Bosnians or so many a black and red themed BBS? Can we not draw the line when it comes to people honestly attempting to aid the unfortunate.

Anonymous may not forgive, but Anonymous is not without compassion!

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We could have aided the unfortunate by pitching in 75 bucks for an abortion 2 years ago.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously. If we were any other mammal, a baby half as defective as this one would have long since been killed.

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

QFE

I would gladly have donated money.

That kid...

UGH.
THE GOGGLES THEY DO NOTHING

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She can rest in the fact that millions of apthetic saps feel sorry for her being too ugly to live and pray for her safety, even though there is no God or Jesus, so your prayers do nothing.

If you want to help, give her family moeny to pay for the medical costs you ignorant saps.

/b/

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

/b/



Her face really did look like a foot.

LOL AM I RIGHT?

Frog.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry but...

::barfs::

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she was designed by a loving creator, why are you trying to alter her with surgery? You christians make no sense, praying to an imgainary person who doesn't exist, and hoping that something will change? Pfft.

11:27 PM  
Blogger VeeJay said...

All,

Thanks so much for taking the time to post to my site. I am really intrigued by the various responses to Julianna's story!

I have intentionally not deleted the harsher comments posted. I did delete a few, but not because they were offensive (they only contained jibberish text or spam). However, if someone writes an honest opinion, they will remain here to read.

The comment just before mine is a good question. One my parents got a lot! It is fair to question such things.

My initial, non-spiritual, answer would be that parents alter their children with sugery, not to make them look like super models, but because in the early stages of bone development and growth, severe face, skull, and cranio deformities can grow into larger medical issues and create a lot of additional physical pain. The surgery is reconstructive, not plastic.

Regardless of who you believe created these children, their parents love them and want to correct what is correctable so as to provide them with as much of a quality of life as possible.

This is no different from the instincts of any parent. What parent wouldn't take their "beautiful" child to the doctor to set their broken leg in a cast?

One could argue, "If a sovereign God willed that the boy break his leg, why would the parents take him to the doctor?" And one needs to depart the realms of common sense to start arguing such nonsensical scenarios.

I will end by saying I am absolutely thrilled that some atheists have stumbled upon my site! It is hard work keeping a blog going and I have no desire to minister only to people who already know and believe and agree with everything I say. So, Anonymous bloggers, keep reading, you are welcome here!

VeeJay

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the program about this incredible little girl and family. I think the most amazing people are the parents, they are the strongest people I have ever known of. I am so happy for Juliana to be able to experience her life so far with such an amazing set of parents and older sister. And Juliana has such a great temperment to be able to go through such adversity and take it in stride. I think about the Whetmore family everyday, I am not a religious person at all, but I now find myself praying each and every day that her life keeps getting better and better and that some day we will be reading about her going to college and having a boyfriend and getting to experience things that she might not have gotten to experience if not for her courageous and proactive parents who are always doing their best in her behalf, even though it must be very difficult on them. I would say they deserve a reward of some kind, like the best parents on the planet, but I hope they get the best reward of all, a happy and healthy Juliana someday in the not too distant future.
If every parent were as special as Thom and Tami, then the world would not have any problems because everyone would have come from such a place of love.
Thank you Thom and Tami for being the best you can be and taking care of your little girl so well. Juliana is so lucky to have you, keep doing what you are doing and nothing but goodness will come from it.

Shawn from San Francisco

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there Juliana. I am from Guam, U.S.A. I saw your story on TLC and was touched at heart. You are a remarkable little girl and I wish all the best for you as an individual. May your life be filled with happiness and joy. Always know that there are many, many people out there, to include myself, that are here for you. When you are feeling down and blue, always know that you are loved and cherished by many. Take care precious Juliana. May God continue to bless you!!!! Always your far away friend from Guam, Francine Manibusan.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

To Anonymous (all of them):

One might find it cowardly for you to share your opinions about "defective" children and how they should be killed, aborted, given up on, etc., then not have the courage to use your name. Really takes a lot of guts to post an imbecilic statement, then hide behind the moniker "Anonymous".

Let's imagine for a moment that you should one day find yourself with an excruciatingly painful, debilitating disease that will ultimately lead an agonizing death. Fortunately for you a gifted doctor, who has dedicated her life to finding a cure for that very disease, finally does. Your life is not only saved, but you go on to lead a happy & healthy life.

Now let's suppose for a minute that doctor's name is Dr. Julianna Wetmore. Would you still feel like she was "defective" and that you wished you would have "aided the unfortunate by pitching in 75 bucks for an abortion"? Or would you be grateful that her parents chose not to "end her suffering a long time ago"?

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I watched the documentary on discovery health. It broke my heart. I sat and cried as Julianna and her family went through all the pain and tourment of surgery after surgery. That poor little girl can't even express her pain in any other way than whimpers. If there is anything I can do I would feel absolutley obliged to do so. I know if Julianna was my child I wouldn't have the strength to see her go through so much pain. My whole heart goes out to Julianna Wetmore and I would love to know if there is anything I could do for her. If anyone knows how to contact the Wetmore family, I would love to know.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw Julianna story. I just watched with tears in my eyes, thinking about my 2 year old sleeping down the hall. I am outraged to find this sight and see bashers. Who are they to make some of the suggestions they have made ( I can't even repeat the remarks) If that precious little girl were born without an arm would they be so harsh?? She has a normally functioning brain and has all the needs, and all the love as any other 2 year old.
Julianna, God bless you and your family.

Lisa Rooney

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Karen Antalek said...

God bless you Julianna. Those who do not support you and your loving parents are only jealous, for they realize they are not perfect (who is?) and feel they now have someone whom to take it out on.

I support you 110% and you will get thru this and you will be happy (you seem happy and loved now) and I support your parents 110%. A prior poster said you were given your parents because they are strong and loving and will do anything for their beautiful baby girl. You are more fortunate than most of us, even if you don't realize it now.

Karen Antalek (no anonymous here!)

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the latest picture I've found of Julianna...

http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h196/edgetheghost/dsafsdf.jpg

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How old is that documentary? Does anyone know where you can get updated info on Julianna?

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How old is that documentary? Does anyone know where I could find updated info on Julianna?

11:41 AM  
Anonymous courtney said...

As said before all those who made nasty comments don't have the guts to give their name. Regardless of belief in God or Jesus, we are ALL imperfect. Don't judge those whose imperfections are more noticeable than others! Animals don't have the mental and emotional capacity to deal with maimed young ones... that's why they are animals and WE are humans. But it is obvious that some humans' imperfection is that they lack compassion and feeling. Let us all be glad that the majority of people reflect these wonderful qualities, especially the Whetmore family. What a wonderful thing for them to give this beautiful child a chance to live.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Isaia said...

When I was a kid, I've also reacted in fear towards other people with birth/physical malformations..and realizing the pit of that fear..is in fearing something unfamiliar..outside the norm.
The feeling of one's brain reacting towards such situations.

As I've been told, I think in the way how people react towards Juliana in fear is because through her face they are confronted with something that doesn't fit into their idea of "normal", and humans react visually to the expression to other human faces...it takes a while for them to process the worth of another human being through a different way other than how pleasing one's face looks.

Haters on the internet towards Juliana say that it is "attention-whoring" of the parents to put this up on the internet.
That her parent's are feeding off of the sympathies of other people... not realizing that their digging into the intentions of Juliana's parents is something that they themselves would not have the balls or courage to do ..and questioning the unconditional love a parent has for a child.

The somethingawful.com article/s
etc etc.

But I can say that no child should grow up feeling hated or feared simply for her physical extremeties.

That they ask the value of her life, or the validity of her parent's love for her..how people react to her..building up her very existence to something cynical and hopeless...making her the butt of jokes..

not asking instead questions such as:
"What are her favorite activities to do?"

"What makes her feel afraid?"

"Is she kind, what does she believe in? What gives her hope? And how has she conquered such circumstances?"

No child should have to sit by as people make comments on the value of her life just because they feel shocked or uncomfortable being confronted with something visually unfamiliar to them. ..Being afraid of something they need not be afraid of.
Feeling angry towards someone for no reason. that they have trouble processing as someone who has the same feelings, fears, and love as they do.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Thomas Carver said...

I just watched the documentary on Julianna last night. I cried throughout the program, tears of sorrow at first, then tears of happiness and when i saw how Julianna was just a normal child at heart. When i saw her scared before her surgery and then raising her arms for a comforting hug from her father, I broke down thinking of my children doing the same things. I do not know if there is a God, but I prayed to Him to send his strength to Julianna and her family. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. Julianna, you are an inspiration to us all.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an athiest. Juliana is a wonderful little girl and her parents are strong wonderful people full of pure love. They are a beacon in a sea of indifference and a universe of void. They are the angels we dream of when we clutch for the idea of God. May your 'angels' bless you Juliana.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous saucetin@yahoo.com said...

The anonnimi--if that's a word, are not Xtians or anything. They chose to be voices in the void and are only so much noise.

My immediate reaction to the TV image of Juliana was visceral, not charitable, but I was drawn in.

I loved Autobiography of a Face, about facial disfigurement (redundant, if you know the Latin root), and am here now.

But I am less horrified by this girl's facade than I am by the inborn stupidity of the annonymous quoted before me. Their *inner deformity* will be harder to cure, especially as they pass as normal.

And, once you get to know them, they do not become more beautiful. Quite the opposite seems true of this child of God.

1:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless this family.

7:41 PM  
Blogger jen said...

what bugs me about this is all the people saying how amazing, what a gift from God, how special this girl is blah blah blah. She is a normal kid with a physical defect, no different than any other kid except that she will always look the way she does - not a blessing in a world obsessed with the physical appearance. There is no special plan from God here, just a fluke of nature, a mistake in development. Why do people have to make so much more of it?

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep Going. For all it's worth, Juliana is a beautiful girl; and has a pure heart.Malakis Gredraenomae.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have our love and support whetmore family . paul jill & leia x

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful soul. But is it really a gift from god? What god would allow someone to be born into constant humilliation and suffering? I'm not making fun of anyone, but it is actually a question i'm curious about.

1:29 PM  
Blogger VeeJay said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your thoughtful question. God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. We have our definitions of love and happiness and blessing, but God has an eternal perspective, not an earthly perspective.

Scripture calls all of our trials and sorrows on earth "light and momentary afflictions." He says this, not because He is callous or indifferent to our pain, but because He has an eternal perspective.

In light of eternity, our lives are like candles that are very quickly snuffed out. Even with incredible amounts of sorrow, 80 years on earth will pale in significance to an eternity that goes on forever and ever and ever and ever without end where there will be no more sorrow or tears. And the joy of being in the presence of Christ and basking in His glory and holiness will overwhelm any troubles we once had here – in fact, those sufferings on earth will enhance our joy. Who is happier to see a deliverer arrive – a rich man sipping drinks on his yacht or a man on the deck of the Titanic?

On the surface, sparing us from all sorrow might seem like the only definition of mercy and kindness. But God's desire for us is not that we be comfortable, rich, and popular, it is that we be Christ-like and holy. That will likely not happen in our own strength. Suffering enables us to see weaknesses that strong, self-sufficient people are often blind to.

Scripture says that when we are most weak, that is when we are the most strong because we can do all things through Christ's strength. But we do not inherit that strength until we forfeit all of our own.

It is a good thing that mercy is stirred up in your heart when you read stories like Julianna's. But I have a hunch when we see her in eternity; our pity will turn to envy. God promises that heaven will be a place where the first become last and the last become first.

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

1:37 PM  

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