Upon first meeting him, his adoptive mother couldn’t fathom how the child had managed to survive. He was so sickly and frail that his survival seemed improbable.
At the age of 7, he weighed a mere 3.6 kilograms when his adoptive parents brought him from Bulgaria to their new home in the United States.
Originally from Tennessee, Priscilla and David Morse came across a photo of the young boy in a Bulgarian orphanage and promptly decided to adopt him.
The child was severely malnourished, and upon traveling to the orphanage to bring him home, the couple was shocked by the reality of his condition. Despite having seen pictures that indicated the need for assistance, being with him in person revealed an even more dire situation.
He was so petite that it was hard to believe he was 7 years old. Priscilla and David couldn’t comprehend how a child of that age could be so small. At one point, they even considered the possibility of a mistake by the nurses.
After confirming his identity, the couple was in shock because the child was on the brink of death.
“He was skin and bones, we literally saw a skeleton,” David told local media. “The first thought that crossed my mind was, ‘This child is going to die.'”
Despite the grim outlook, his adoptive parents were determined to do everything in their power to save his life. They named him Ryan, and despite being emaciated, his entire body was covered in hair due to malnutrition.
“The first time we saw him was extremely shocking,” recounted Priscilla, who also believed that the child wouldn’t survive the journey to the hospital.
Upon completing the adoption process, they returned to the United States and admitted him to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
The doctors at the hospital were moved to tears upon seeing him.
“I have never in my life seen doctors look at a child, get emotional, and cry,” Priscilla said. “They called Social Services and told us, ‘I’m sorry, he probably won’t make it.'”
Ryan spent over a month in the hospital, initially being fed through a tube. Despite facing refeeding syndrome, which made reintroducing food into his system challenging, Priscilla and David made him their top priority.
In addition to severe malnutrition, Ryan had other medical issues such as cerebral palsy, scoliosis, dwarfism, microcephaly, and a severe case of flat feet.
Once he showed signs of improvement, he was able to go to his new home, where he now lives with his adoptive parents, two brothers, and an adoptive sister with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect.
The entire family, parents, and children, forms a complete unit.
Under their care, Ryan gradually gained weight and grew stronger. The hair that covered his body disappeared, and after several months, he was able to attend school.
Thanks to medical care and love, the child regained his health.
Moreover, Ryan continues to receive ongoing medical treatment designed specifically for him. In just one year, he gained over 7 kilograms in weight.
Priscilla and David understand that it will take many years for Ryan to fully recover physically and emotionally, especially considering the years he spent in the orphanage. However, they remain positive and believe that Ryan will continue to improve. But above all, what matters most is that he receives the care and love he deserves.
“Now we can say he is a happy little boy. He looks hopeful,” his mother affirms, delighted to witness his daily progress.
Today, Ryan shines with the joy of a happy child!