Lacey Buchanan knew something was wrong with her son before he ever entered the world.
Sonograms showed he had a cleft palate and lip. Part of his face was affixed to her placenta, so there was no clear image of his countenance.
When he was born, via C-section, there was something much more wrong than a riven lip and mouth. Christian Buchanan had no eyes.
“It came as a total surprise to us,” Lacey told InsideEdition.com Thursday.
And thus began “a big adventure” of highs and lows, marked by Christian learning to walk and talk and the cruelty of strangers who would flat-out ask “What’s wrong with your kid?” The lowest point came when a woman posted on Lacey’s Facebook page, “You are selfish for letting him live just so you could have a baby. You are a pathetic excuse for a mother. He will have a miserable life.”
That is far from the truth says Lacey in a book debuting in January titled, “Through the Eyes of Hope,” a memoir of her family’s journey thus far.
“We just roll with it and have fun,” she told InsideEdition.com.
She married at age 21, and became a mother at 23. She and her husband, Chris, rooted by their deep religious faith, never considered abortion or that their son was damaged.
“It’s been a big adventure,” she says.
Being born without eyes is extremely rare, with only 50 other cases in the world, she said. Christian’s first four weeks out of the womb were spent in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Now 5, he has undergone several surgeries to repair his mouth. Because he’s completely blind, his advancements come slower than other those of other kids.
“He can’t see and mimic other behavior,” his mom said. He learns by repetition. He walked at 27 months and was 3 before he started forming words.
His speech is a bit mangled, but his mother understands exactly what he’s saying.
“He goes to a school for the blind that’s not that close,” his mom says. “That’s pretty exhausting, getting him there every day.
“But he’s worth it,” she says.
She would like to see him go to college, and do most everything that other kids do.
She says her faith has seen her, and her family, through the challenges of raising Christian. Her book, she says, was written to “encourage other people who were going through any hardship … to let people know that they can get through it and they’re stronger they think,” she said.
Christian is a very active boy who likes jokes. The sillier the better.
He has one he’d like to tell before his mother gets off Skype with IE.com.
He rattles off a set-up line and his mother translates: “What do you call fake noodles?”
“Impasta,” he says and collapses in laughter.