Back in 2015, it looked like the days were numbered for a baby named Ryan. He was malnourished and severely ill.
But when a couple from Nashville, Tennessee, saw pictures of the emaciated orphan from an orphanage in Bulgaria, they couldn’t just sit back and do nothing. So they packed their bags and went to fetch him.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Last year, Priscilla Morse saw a photo on Facebook that broke her heart. It was of a baby boy starving and near death in a Bulgarian orphanage.
Ryan, as the boy was later named, was emaciated, pale, and would soon die if he didn’t get help. At that time, he weighed only 8 pounds – even though he was 7 years old.
Priscilla wanted to adopt him, but she already had two sons, as well as an adopted daughter who has Down syndrome and a heart defect.
And bringing Ryan into the family would be a lot of work.
Priscilla talked with her husband, David, and he felt just as strongly as she did. They needed to give Ryan the life he deserves. So they packed their bags and flew to Bulgaria to adopt Ryan and bring him home to Tennessee.
When Priscilla arrived to the orphanage, she could hardly believe her eyes.
First she thought the nurses had made a mistake, the boy in front of her was so small for his age.
“He was bones and skin, he literally looked like a skeleton,” Mrs. Morse told InsideEdition in 2016. “The first thing that went through my head was, ‘he’s going to die.’”
Ryan’s journey toward a normal life wasn’t easy.
As a result of being malnourished for so long, he had severe health problems, and since he didn’t have any subcutaneous fat to keep him warm, his entire body was covered in hair.
But Priscilla and David fought to make sure Ryan had a good life.
After they landed back home in Nashville in November 2015, the couple rushed him to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
“I had never in my life seen doctors look at a child and burst into tears,” Priscilla said.
“They did call social services. They said, ‘I’m sorry, he’s probably going to die.’”
Ryan had to spent a month at the hospital. Doctors discovered that Ryan had ”refeeding syndrome”, something that made it difficult introducing food into his system.
Aside from that, Ryan also suffered from cerebral palsy, dwarfism, scoliosis, microcephaly, and severely clubbed feet.
But his devoted parents refused to give up on him and and a year after Ryan’s adoption, he was unrecognizable.
“You can tell he’s just a happy little boy. He looks like he has hope now,” Mrs. Morse said.
The mom told Today: “No one should be written off if they have special needs just because it’s going to be hard. Life is hard anyway, so you adjust and you learn, because these kids—they are so worthy.”
Priscilla also noticed the biggest surprise of all: Ryan’s smile.
Check out more info about Ryan’s journey at Saving Baby Ryan
Ryan probably would have died if Priscilla and David didn’t adopt him and give him a loving home.
But thanks to their humanity, he received medical care, nourishment, and a family who loves him.
Please share if you want to pay tribute to Ryan’s wonderful parents Priscilla and Dave.