What Unconditional Love Can Do to a Severely Disabled Child*
By Brianna Acuesta
When Priscilla Morse was browsing through Facebook in 2015, she and her husband David already had four children of their own and were living in the U.S. She came across a photo of a 7-year-old Bulgarian orphan with several severe medical conditions on her newsfeed and, despite it being a crazy and seemingly irrational decision, Priscilla decided that her family was going to welcome him into their home and save his life.
The ill boy was Ryan and he lived in Bulgaria, meaning the Morse family would have to endure a foreign adoption process before they could bring him home to help. After they were cleared to adopt him, Priscilla went alone to Bulgaria and brought Ryan back to America. The family immediately had him tested thoroughly to determine what his ailments were, and the results were less than promising.
The doctors couldn’t believe that this tiny child was seven years old because his size alone indicated that he was more likely a toddler. In a post earlier this year, Priscilla recalled how,
“Grown men, doctors who have probably seen horrible things over the years, held Ryan’s little hand and cried. No one could understand how this was allowed to happen, and when I said there were orphanages full of kids just like him, they just stared at me in shock. Everyone told me to prepare for him to die.”
He was diagnosed with dwarfism, scoliosis, cerebral palsy, and clubfoot, all of which adversely affect Ryan’s size. He was also severely malnourished and had grown dark hair all over his body in an effort to keep his body warm.
Despite warnings that he would not survive his childhood and would likely show little improvement, the Morse family refused to sit idly by while their new child suffered through his birth defects. He had already spent seven years in agony and without parents to care for him, and that simply was not an option once he was taken in by the Morse family.
Then something amazing happened: Ryan’s condition and health began to improve. Little by little he gained strength with weight and a loving and mischievous personality emerged where a near lifeless child used to be.
It hasn’t always been easy, but the Morse family maintains that the sleepless nights at the hospital have all been worth it. Ryan’s siblings adore him and have been a crucial part in his recovery, and Priscilla said,
“The skeletal near death child crying in pain…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. He rolls all over and can be a naughty little butterball!”
Ryan’s battle isn’t over, but he has come such a long way since his first doctor’s visit. In the near future, he is scheduled to have a surgery to straighten his spine. He’s still tiny, but he’s full of life in a way that no one who knew him a year ago can believe. If you would like to follow Ryan’s story, you can follow his Facebook page here and get updates on this amazing boy’s progress.