When Priscilla Morse saw a video of a skeletal seven-year-old boy lying motionless on a bed in a Bulgarian orphanage on Facebook in 2014, she immediately booked a plane ticket to Bulgaria from her home in Tennessee.
Morse discovered the video by pure coincidence as she aimlessly scrolled through the Facebook app on her phone in June 2014. After making some inquiries with the orphanage, Morse and her husband David chose to adopt the boy.
She flew to Bulgaria alone in 2015 to finalize the adoption of baby Ryan, who weighed a mere seven pounds.
Ryan, who was born with dwarfism, was so gaunt that hair grew all over his weak body as he desperately tried to protect himself from an imminent and premature death. Morse feared that he may die before she’d even completed the paperwork.
“The first meeting was pretty scary. He was bones and skin, he literally looked like a skeleton. The first thing that went through my head was, ‘he’s going to die’,” she told Inside Edition.
Despite his delicate form, Morse took baby Ryan back to the United States in November 2015. He was immediately admitted to the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and doctors swiftly put him on a feeding tube to try and feed vital nutrients into his juvenile body.
“I had never in my life seen doctors look at a child and burst into tears,” Morse recalls.
Ryan would stay in the hospital for an additional two weeks before being discharged. However, his time at home wouldn’t last for long. He was sadly readmitted shortly after, and this time he stayed in the hospital for a month.
At this point, it may have seemed that Ryan would never be healthy enough to live a normal life. But Morse never gave up on her mission to save the malnourished orphan, and Ryan himself never gave up on his new mother.