When the foster mom saw the boy for the first time she was frightened, believing he couldn’t possibly survive. At that time, he was 7 years old but still he weighed only 8 pounds (approx. 4 kg). Afterward, his new foster parents took him back to their home in the United States … and just look at him now!
When the couple Priscilla Morse and David, from Tennessee, saw the picture of a small boy from an orphanage in Bulgaria, immediately the couple decided to adopt him.
Shockingly, the boy was underweight. The couple, however, after seeing his picture already, couldn’t believe their eyes, when they arrived at the orphanage to collect their son. She thought the nurses had made a mistake—the 7-year-old boy in front of her was so small for his age.
After confirming that this boy was indeed the one, she was horrified by what she saw. The boy was on the brink of death.
“He was bones and skin, he literally looked like a skeleton,” Mrs. Morse, 33, told InsideEdition. “The first thing that went through my head was, ‘he’s going to die.’”
Not only was Ryan all skin and bones, his whole body was also covered in hair, due to malnutrition.
“The first meeting was pretty scary,” said Mrs. Morse. At the time, she had feared the child was going to die before they even had a chance to take him to the hospital.
After the couple was done with the adoption procedure finalized they landed back in the United States, and took him straight to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
“I had never in my life seen doctors look at a child and burst into tears,” Morse said. “They did call social services. They said, ‘I’m sorry, he’s probably going to die.’”
The poor little boy spent more than a month in the hospital. When they first tried feeding him through a tube, he had refeeding syndrome, which meant that it was difficult introducing food into his system.
The boy also suffered from other afflictions such as cerebral palsy, dwarfism, scoliosis, microcephaly, and severely clubbed feet.
Finally, he returned back to his new home, and now lives with his adopted parents and their two biological sons, 13-year-old Dylan and 7-year-old Jack, as well as their adopted 7-year-old daughter, McKenzie, who has Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect. She was adopted from Russia in 2012.
Even Mrs. Morse was also adopted when she was young. Her eldest brother was a special-needs child and passed away at age 9.
“I was pretty young when he passed away, [but] I remember how much my parents loved him in spite of all his special needs,” she said. “I wanted to give that to a child that was given up because of his special needs. Everyone is deserving of a family.”
Under the love and care of his new family, Ryan gradually gained weight and strength. The hair covering his body has disappeared as well. And, after several months, he was able to enroll in grade 3 in public school, where he continues to work toward the goals his doctors set for him. In just over a year, he gained 15 pounds (approx. 7 kg).
The foster parents learned that it could take years for Ryan to fully recover from the physical and psychological trauma of his early life at the orphanage. Still, they remained positive, and believed that one day Ryan will improve continually. What matters most is that he is loved and now has proper care.
“You can tell he’s just a happy little boy. He looks like he has hope now,” Ryan’s mom said.