A baby who was abandoned by his birth parents because of the way he looked was then taken in by a kind woman, who had been contacted by the Social Services. After seeing the baby, she asked, “When can I take him home?”
Parents are known for loving their kids unconditionally, but this doesn’t hold true for everyone. Sadly, we live in a world where children often miss out on the tender love and care from their mothers and fathers without being at fault.
While a baby is not to be blamed for being born with a genetic disorder or health condition, it’s not always easy to make people understand this simple notion. This is one reason why families often disown children with health issues or genetic diseases.
Unfortunately, the same happened to Jono Lancaster, whose parents abandoned him only 36 hours after his birth. The tiny, fragile baby was left all alone, without the love and protection of his mom and dad. He told NORD Breakthrough Summit:
“I was born with a genetic condition that affects my facial features. I have no cheekbones, and so my eyes dip down. I love my little ears, they don’t get cold at night. But I do need hearing aids.”
Lancaster was born with a genetic disorder called Treacher Collins syndrome or TCS, which can affect 1 in every 50,000 people in the U.S., and around 1 in 10,000 people in the U.K., his home country.
TCS can impact the development of facial bone tissues, jaws, cheekbones, and chin. About half of the people suffering from this disorder have a hearing impairment, including Lancaster, who was born in 1985 and left by his family when he was 2 days old.
The hospital staff then contacted Social Services, who found a considerate woman named Jean to look after him. When Jean first saw Lancaster, she didn’t leave him or get scared. Instead, she asked the nurse: “When can I take him home?”
It was then that the tiny and helpless baby finally found a mother’s warm embrace. Jean began looking after Lancaster, giving him the love, care, and support he so rightly deserved. Finally, on May 18, 1990, she officially adopted him.
Jean even tried reaching out to his parents for 5 consecutive years but never heard from them. Growing up, the only place where he felt loved was his home and his mom’s presence. The outside world was harsh and cruel to him.
Lancaster grew up hating himself with all his heart. He avoided seeing himself in the mirror because his reflection scared him. He was ashamed of the way he looked and finally began understanding why he creeped out everyone.
This continued until he reached his twenties. He was laughed at wherever he went. Then one night, he was in a bar where he met a man who surprisingly joked and laughed with him instead of laughing at him. It was then that his perspective shifted.
Gradually, Lancaster changed the way he looked at things. In 2015, he met his partner, Laura, in the gym while working as a fitness trainer. The two of them worked together on spreading positivity and smiles around them.
Sadly, his parents still didn’t want to do anything with him. Regardless, he decided to keep going and began focusing on his dreams, ambitions, and goals. Ultimately, he became much more than a guy with TCS.
Since then, Lancaster has focused on raising awareness and helping people suffering from various disabilities. Instead of changing people’s thoughts about him, he started to work on himself.
For more than twenty years, Lancaster suffered because of the way people avoided him and made fun of him. But thanks to the support of his loved ones, he slowly shifted his mindset and realized his inner worth and potential.