On September 18th, a very special baby was born in a small village in Assam.
At Burrows Memorial Christian Hospital, this baby wasn’t placed in a bed like all the others – instead, he was forced to live in a little cardboard box.
With child abandonment illegal in India, his parents were planning to poison him as soon as they got back home.
Born with a whole mess of external abnormalities stemming from a genetic disorder called Bartsocas-Papas, the newborn was a horrifying sight.
Villagers came in to see the baby with no nose, no eyelids, no hands save for a single finger, a cleft palate, and fused legs.
Although his internal organs were fine, the baby’s prospect was dim – who would take a child who looked like a monster, a child who needed external help to breathe and defecate?
In him, 31-year-old Raja Paulraj and 25-year-old Jessica Cooksey Paulraj saw a child created that God had created in his own image.
So naturally, they were shocked to hear the fate that was to befall the boy – from an uncle who was there to offer the boy his final prayers, no less.
Without missing a beat, Indian psychiatrist and the missionary from Jacksonville adopted their first son and named the baby Adam.
The race was on – there have only ever been 26 cases of children born with Bartsocas-Papas, and all of them have died either in the womb, or shortly after birth.
The newborn would need to undergo as much as 10 surgeries if he were to survive past a few days.
Or rather, continue to survive.
Despite all odds and no surgical intervention, the baby was a survivor, outliving all his predecessors and amazing everyone.
He bought his parents two months – the amount of time they needed to pool together enough money from both friends, family, organisations, and the adoring public that came to the rescue.
After undergoing at least 17 surgeries, Adam Paulraj was able to not just live and survive, but grow and thrive as a child in his family home in Jacksonville, Florida.
Alas, this didn’t mean he was cured – after all, surgery can only do so much to a body damaged at a genetic level.
4 years later, on the 12th of June, Adam Paulraj passed away.
Struck with what doctors suspected to be pneumonia, the miracle child suffered from respiratory failure 3 days after his admission into the hospital.
He then passed away shortly afterwards, leaving behind a heartbroken public and a family who adored and loved him with all of their heart.
Still, it was incredible just how hard he had fought against the odds.
His parents, grandparents, and two younger siblings, Elliot and Rohan, are glad for the short time they had with him.
The toddler had taken to life with an inspiring amount of gusto and determination, and had proved himself to be a joyful beam of sunshine.
It is absolutely undeniable that it will those memories that they will cherish the most.
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