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20 Years of Hope: Tobias

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Tobias was born in 2018 with a medical condition called anal atresia. With this condition, the anal opening is either blocked or missing altogether, making it terribly difficult (or even impossible) to expel any food that is taken in. Sadly, this led to Tobias’ abandonment and early life in an orphanage setting. Although anal atresia is a life-threatening, sometimes fatal condition, Tobias somehow managed to survive. Day after day, he lay in an orphanage crib in terrible pain. In an effort to ease the discomfort in his abdomen, he drew up his little legs like a frog.

Boy lying on a cot in an orphanage before his Story of Hope began

Tobias’ Story of Hope Begins

One day in 2020, an LWB team member visited his orphanage and was immediately drawn to this tiny boy in distress. Picking up Tobias, he felt the child’s thin arms and legs, and his bloated and distended belly. Tobias did not care to be touched and would not even make eye contact. He was terribly ill, body and soul. Thankfully, the orphanage director allowed us to immediately admit Tobias to our medical care program, and we rushed him to the hospital.

Serious boy lying in hospital bed wearing a red and white striped shirt

The medical team was heartbroken as they viewed the scans of this tiny child. A portion of his intestines had died and would have to be removed. He would need weeks of painful treatments to prepare his body for his first major surgery.

But Tobias was no longer alone in an orphanage crib. He quickly gained a host of supporters and fans who cared about what happened to him and believed his life mattered.

When the parents in his hospital ward learned that Tobias was an orphan, they showered him with kindness. When they found that he was too weak to sit or roll over, let alone put any weight on his legs, they took turns holding him and trying to teach him to use his muscles.

Chinese boy in red and white striped shirt with IV in hand standing at hospital with the help of two nannies

In addition to these loving parents and his medical team, Tobias captured the hearts of our LWB volunteers and staff. Next, generous donors around the world took his story to heart and helped to fund his life-saving surgery.

Best of all, he had the love of an LWB nanny who stayed with him and carried him around the hospital so he could see that there was a world beyond his orphanage crib. The two bonded deeply during his time in the hospital.

Boy with IV in hand hugging his nanny in the hospital

During that first surgery, the dead portion of bowel was removed, and a colostomy was installed so that Tobias’ insides would have time to heal. In the weeks following this operation, Tobias made amazing progress in the hospital. He was able to take a tiny bit of formula, and the pain in his tummy lessened with each day. He gained the strength to sit up for brief periods and view the world from an upright position.

Serious boy sitting in hospital with IV in hand wrapped in a pink blanket

Before he was discharged from the hospital, Tobias showed his resilience with the first of many, many smiles. Can you imagine the joy amongst “Team Tobias” when this photo arrived from China and was shared with the world?

Boy with IV in hand smiling in hospital bed

Hope at the Healing Home

After two months of post-operative care in the hospital, Tobias was discharged to our China Healing Home to continue his healing and prepare for his next operation. He quickly decided that a warm bed, nutritious food, and the love of his devoted nannies were pretty wonderful things.

Tobias gained weight and strength, learned to pull himself up and cruise around the furniture, began to walk independently, and became just a little bit naughty. We always love to see that day when a child feels well enough to get into a little trouble!

Chinese boy hugging his nanny's neck

Because Tobias went so long without medical care, there have been a few bumps in the road and several return trips to the hospital. But he has come through every procedure very well and never lost that glorious smile.

Tobias had his final major surgery in 2022 and then returned to our China Healing Home to continue his healing, and his physical and social development.

Tobias now speaks in full sentences, and he has made fast friends with some of the other children in the home. He is a sweet boy, quick to invite some of the more timid children to come and play with him. The love and generosity of “Team Tobias” must be contagious as they have rubbed off on this kind and compassionate boy.

Chinese boy grinning in a whiteh sweatshirt with a mustard turtleneck

Tobias is just one example of our belief that Every Child Counts. What a blessing that so many people came together to make sure he had his chance for love, healing, and happiness. We give thanks for Tobias’ beautiful life, and for his smile that truly brightens the world.

Stay tuned for more Stories of Hope to come as Love Without Boundaries celebrates our 20th anniversary!

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