How would you feel if you couldn’t share a sweet smile, full toothed grin or even a smirk with your friends and family?
A young boy named Ryder Reddig doesn’t have to imagine it, its his everyday life and a sentiment he struggles with on a regular bases. At a young age, Ryder was abandoned by his birth mother due to his extensive health needs in his native homeland of the Philippines.
Now he’s grateful to be in the United States for so many reasons, one in particular is related to his dream of having a smile.
Since Ryder was a little boy, he wanted to feel and look like an average kid, but that didn’t seem possible because of the rare birth related facial deformity he was born with. But now at 11 years old, his adopted family, the Reddig’s are making sure the young boy can get the smile he’s always dreamed of.
The special boy with special needs has had a long medical journey that first started years ago. In the last couple of months, Faithwire shared his story of overcoming bullies, undergoing brain surgery and his commitment to his faith.
Now at this stage in the process, Ryder’s mother, Alyson Reddig gave Faithwire an update on the progress of her son and said he’s “doing great” so far.
At the end of January, the young man had a cosmetic surgery performed by Dr. Babak Azizzadeh with The Facial Paralysis Institute in Beverly Hills, Calif.
The medical facility specializes in the treatment of individuals with facial paralysis and Bell’s pals, according to the website.
The two thumbs up given by Mrs. Reddig means that her son’s health is looking up and so does his journey to having a smile.
Reddig said, in the surgery, “(the doctor) found a long ankle nerve that will work great to provide enough energy to the gracillis muscle which will be transplanted in 3-6 months.”
“It has been stretched across the upper lip and placed high into the cheek offering the best possible outcome…the incision line was along the ear with a few incisions at the upper lip and cheek to pull the nerve through.”
All in all, the complex surgery went as planned and Ryder’s future grin seems promising.
Reddig adopted the 11-year-old in May of last year and since that point, she’s been working tirelessly to make all of her son’s hopes and dreams come true because she wants him to be confident, happy and healthy.
In 2016, Ryder participated in a Gillette, Wyoming hosting program designed for “hard to place” children. It was there that the Reddig family felt called to bring the child into their home, even though they were on the fence about adoption and had concerns over the child’s medical needs.
So what swayed them to move forward with the process? Reddig explained that, she just knew that he was meant to be her son. And as you can see the rest is history.
According to Ryder’s fundraising page, the young man was born with a congenital defect which is a sac of brain tissue and fluid protruding from his skull.
At the age of five, Ryder was abandoned by his birth mother and was placed in a private orphanage in the Philippines.
Fast forward years later, Ryder is now living with the family he has always prayed for. The mother of three home schools her children, so the family can regularly travel to get Ryder the medical help he needs across the country.
However the road hasn’t been easy. The family has had many unexpected financial burdens come up in the last year.
But Mrs. Reddig explained that God has allowed all their needs to be met, often in unexpected ways.
“I remember walking out the door with Ryder to fly out and get his prosthetic eye in Los Angeles. We were so strapped for funds and decided to go any way trusting that somehow God would meet our need. As we walked out the door with our suitcases in hand, the mailman approached and gave us a letter. It contained the funds we needed for the trip.”
“The most important message we could share to families who are contemplating adoption of children with special needs or to anyone in dire circumstances waiting for God’s provision in this: Go. Get moving. Walk in faith. Faith requires us to act.”
“It makes us dependent upon God, the only one who can truly help us.”
“God is faithful always and knows exactly what we need and when we need it.”
“His timing is perfect.”
“Faith in action is the biggest lesson God has taught us in the last three years through our adoption and medical journey with Ryder.”
At this time the family is still requesting financial assistance on Ryder’s page and they need help paying for travel funds for Phase II and III of the facial reanimation surgery.
In the interview with Faithwire, Reddig explained that family is grateful for airline miles, meal vouchers and hotel points as well as any monetary donations.
Both surgeries will happen over the next 18 months and help Ryder get a smile.
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