DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - A Haitian toddler in Delray Beach is proving that survival is in his blood.
After the earthquake, along with his poverty-stricken mother, he was found huddled in a basement by nurses who worried he would die of a heart problem unless he got help in the United States.
Jeff and Diane Rose's lives changed with an email.
"We were asked 'did we know of a host family that would be willing to take care of an infant who had a life-threatening heart condition?' " remembered Jeff Rose.
They did. And they didn't have to look very far.
"We prayed about it. And within 24 hours, we were ready to go," said Rose.
A year ago, thinking he’d only be here a few months, Jeff and Diane Rose became Adriano Victor's American caretakers. He had a hole in his heart, and needed surgery in Philadelphia, where the Roses live half the year.
"His heart was functioning at five percent and after the surgery, at the end of the surgery, it was at 85 percent."
The snowbirds brought him to Florida this winter for what they thought would be the end of his recovery. But his health problems were just beginning. Now something was wrong with his stomach.
"It got to the point he'd take a bottle and he'd spit up. He threw up 36 times in a couple of hours," said Diane Rose.
Adriano would need another surgery. He went to West Boca Medical Center to get it. It was one of the first operations of its kind performed in Palm Beach County.
Dr. Melvyn Karp used a robot to repair Adriano's stomach. It worked.
"I like to do it with the robot because the robot allows a tremendous delicacy," said the pediatric surgeon.
With only a month to go before Adriano's visa expires, the Roses might need help with their own broken hearts, as they prepare to bring him back to his mother in Haiti. Not only do they love him but... "After a year, it's like 'oh my gosh, I've had him longer than his mom,' " said Diane Rose.
But they're worried about the care the boy will get in Haiti. He also has Down syndrome.
"He's a child that's always going to have issues I think. And can they deal with it?"
For all he's fought through, this 15 pound, 17-month old boy is going to have to survive Haiti now. His American family will be cheering all the way.
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