Family adopts seven-year-old boy who was dying of malnutrition
Baby Ryan's story began with a photo on Facebook. Priscilla Morse from Tennessee was checking her newsfeed when she came across a photo of a baby that broke her heart. The child was in a Bulgarian orphanage and obviously terribly malnourished. When she saw him, Priscilla immediately knew that she had to adopt him.
However, Priscilla never imagined the scene she would encounter when she finally met the baby in June 2015. To begin with, it was not a baby at all, but a child about seven years old. The first thing Priscilla thought when she entered the room was that Ryan was going to die. The boy weighed only about 10 pounds and his body was covered with hair due to malnutrition. "It was shocking, photos don’t do it justice. He looked even smaller in real life. Sicker and more fragile. My index finger was the same size as his thigh," remembered Priscilla.
After waiting four months for the adoption to be processed, Priscilla returned alone to Bulgaria to finally pick up her son. The new mom and the tiny boy traveled five hours to the nearest town — 24 hours and several flights later, Priscilla was back in the US. But when they got there, they didn’t go home. Instead, Priscilla took her frail child directly to a children's hospital. That's where they took this photo:
"He was in critical condition, I had doctors questioning his age, going over his paperwork, doctors from all over the hospital came by to see the tiny 7-year-old. No one had seen anything like him before. Grown men, doctors who have probably seen horrible things over the years, held Ryan's little hand and cried,” explained the mother in a Facebook post. But when Priscilla told people that orphanages were filled with children like Ryan in Bulgaria, everyone was shocked. "It’s a beautiful country, but they don’t have the funding to take care of the kids, they do the best they can. All he needed was a feeding tube. What was killing him was starvation," said Priscilla.
"Everyone told me to prepare for him to die. That he was so sick, so fragile, that trying to help him could kill him. Food could kill him. Fluids could kill him," recalled Priscilla. But for once in his life, luck was on Ryan's side. Thanks to a great team of doctors and the support of his new family, the little boy began to grow healthy and strong. "The skeletal near death child crying in pain in this picture, he doesn't exist anymore. He's gone forever and he's been replaced with a chubby, giggly, happy boy who loves kisses and tickles," wrote Priscilla on her Facebook page.
Just a little over a year after leaving that orphanage in a remote region of Bulgaria, Ryan has gained about 15 pounds and is making great progress. Ryan's mother confessed: "We still have a long way to go, but we are so excited to see what the future holds for this little boy. He has a purpose, there is a reason he was able to hang on in a hopeless situation for all those years." Priscilla and her husband have also created a gofundme campaign to get a sensory room to aid Ryan's development — this family’s love for their little big boy is clearly immeasurable. Thank goodness there are people like them in this world!