ST. PAUL (WCCO) — It’s a story that spreads across the world from Minnesota to Africa. With help from Minnesota doctors, an Iowa family is giving new hope to their adopted son.
“Scott and I could not live with knowing that we knew about this boy on the other side of the world that was going to face a life of begging if we didn’t do something,” said Diane Larson.
She and her husband Scott adopted Teme, a boy who had nothing and needed much more than money. He needed an operation after an accident where he rolled into a fire and severely damaged his leg. It happened when he was less than 1-year-old.
Teme’s family had nothing in Ethiopia. In fact, just to support them he begged on the streets for seven years.
“We knew about this one particular kid who may not have a chance unless we do something,” said Diane.
She remembers watching an adoption video from African Widows and Orphans Project. Diane and Scott adopted a little girl but they couldn’t look away the video when they saw Teme. His clothes were falling apart.
The Larson’s were also drawn to Teme’s disability from that fire. His femur bone protrudes visibly, resembling a large tumor.
“My mom, no money,” Teme said. “My mom, no hope.”
The Larsens gave him that hope when they adopted him. Now doctors at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul want to give him more hope.
The 11-year-old has always wanted to walk on his own. He had surgery late last week at the hospital.
“He and everybody in the family is ready for this,” Scott said before the surgery.
A pediatric orthopedic surgeon and plastic surgeon operated on Teme for more than five hours. They amputated the bottom portion of his leg from the knee down. In the near future, Teme will receive a prosthetic on his lower leg and his foot.
One of his surgeons said he expects good things in the future.
“I think he’s going to be a very functional young man, who’s going to be able to go out and play and ride a bike and do the things that he wants to do,” said Dr. Mike Healy.
The surgery was successful. Teme will ditch the crutches and start walking normal once he gets the prosthetic in as early as a month. He wants to wrestle and run someday.
Teme will practice walking with a prosthetic leg before he gets his permanent one.
Diane and Scott were first to free him, giving him a chance at a new life. The doctors were next, giving him the chance to live that life like he wants. Teme’s tomorrow looks much better.