Ethiopian boy prepares for new life in the U.S. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ethiopian boy prepares for new life in the U.S.


by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) 11-year-old Temesgen has only lived in the U.S. for 13 weeks. Scott and Diane Larson of Waterloo adopted Teme from Ethiopia.

They first saw him in February 2008 on a Waiting Child video. At that time, they planned to adopt two children they saw on the videos, Sabrina and Teme.

But another family was interested in Teme. When that adoption didn't work out, the Larsons put in another request for him.

"We felt we were ready to adopt. We looked at the possibility ten years ago, and we weren't ready and at this point in our lives we were," said Scott Larson.

The Larsons now have four children. Two of their own and two adoptive children.

But Teme is different from your average adoptive child. He can't walk. In fact, he can't even use his left leg.

"He was burned when he was six months old, and when the skin healed it webbed underneath the knee and basically pulled the tibia under the femur," said Scott Larson.

Crawling is typically how he gets around. But doctors at Gillette Children's Hospital in Minnesota plan to help Teme run like other kids. Doctors said the best option is a partial amputation above the knee.

"Quite honestly I've never seen a knee contracture and instability at this level. The knee joint is completely dislocated. Could we put it back together? It would be completely unstable and not viable for him," said Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Mike Healy.

Teme is starting to understand what's happening. He knows he'll be getting a new leg.

"Yeah, leg. Bicycle," said Teme.

The Larson encourage other families to consider adoption.

"I think it's very rewarding as far as being able to give a child a mom and a dad," said Scott Larson.

But if adoption isn't right for you, Diane encourages you to consider sponsoring a child.

"I think if each of us do something little, it all adds up to a lot," said Diane Larson.

Teme's surgery is tentatively scheduled for January or February. The Larsons said insurance should cover most of cost.

The Larsons are working with Clark Prosthetics to fit Teme with a new leg. Eventually, he'll get an athletic prosthetic so he can participate in sports.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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