Earlier this evening, WUSA9 shared a story about a local doctor battling Haiti’s cholera crisis in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. What we did not share is how that same doctor saved a Haitian boy’s life and then adopted him three years later.
The pair are a perfect match. And at first glance, you would never that this young boy has overcome more than many of us could imagine. Why? His smile lights up the room.
Luke Freishtat is a well-adjusted 5-year-old boy from Haiti. He likes to look at pictures from his home country with his new dad, Dr. Robert Freishtat.
The duo first met about three years ago when Luke was dropped off and left for dead at Hôpital Sacré Coeur, a hospital in Haiti that his dad helps run.
“It was love at first sight,” Freishtat said.
Yet, at the time, Luke was in a fight for his life. He was severely mal-nourished, potentially days away from death. But with the help of a nurse, an occasional lollipop -- and a doctor who would become his dad -- he pulled through.
It took Freishtat and his wife Jamie, a doctor in her own right, three years to navigate the agencies that oversee Haitian adoptions.
“There is no words to describe how worried we were,” she said. “Every single day was a struggle.”
Luke finally came home in December 2015.
During the struggle to get Luke home, the Freistats said Luke would cry every time they left (even though Luke denied that claim on camera). And after seeing Luke’s big smile, one might be inclined to agree him.
“There was no greater joy than being able to walk into that orphanage and know that this is the time that we were actually going to be able to bring him home,” Jamie said.
Ironically, Luke, the same kid who almost died from malnourishment, is now big for his age.
PHOTOS: Luke's journey in Haiti