Smile Train – Providing Correction of Cleft Malformations

Smile Train pic
Smile Train


As an attorney at The Law Office of Bryce D. Neier PLLC in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Bryce Neier focuses on family law , international law, entertainment law, and other state and federal civil litigation. Bryce Neier supports Smile Train, a charity that performs surgeries for children with cleft palates.

A cleft is an oral malformation that occurs during fetal development. It happens when there isn’t enough tissue in the lip or mouth area, resulting in the tissue not joining together. Clefts can be successfully treated with reconstructive surgery. Because of technology and evolving surgical procedures making things simpler than in the past, the surgery now typically takes just 45 minutes.

An international children’s charity, Smile Train provides completely free cleft care to children. Since its inception Smile Train has expanded to serve over 85 developing countries to provide this procedure. More than 170,000 children are born with a cleft malformation every year. Approximately 1 in 700 Caucasian births, nearly 1 in 500 Asian births, and 1 in 1200 African births results in a cleft defect. Since 1999, Smile Train has performed over one million surgeries.


Hague Convention Provides Guidance for International Adoptions

Attorney Bryce Neier has a unique knowledge of domestic and international family law. Through his practice, Bryce Neier has gained strong and keen understanding of international family law practices, including in particular international child custody and child abduction as part of the Hague Convention. In addition international adoption has become a huge part of international children issues. The Convention’s key aim is ensuring that inter-country adoptions are in the best interest of adopted children and protect against child abduction and trafficking.

Under the Hague Convention, all subscribing countries must establish a central authority to oversee international adoptions. In the United States, the Department of State serves as that authority. For Convention member countries, an international adoption may occur if the child’s home country has deemed the child adoptable, and if adoption authorities have pursued an in-country adoption. Currently, the Hague Convention has approximately 90 member countries.

As stated in the Hague Convention preamble, all children should have the opportunity to “grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love, and understanding.” As a result of specific international adoption guidance, many children can find home environments in other countries if a suitable home is not available in their native country.