MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A baby boy from Haiti who was born with a skull defect that was affecting his nasal cavity is recovering after receiving lifesaving surgery in South Florida.
Anderson Destine recently turned 9 months old, and was given only a few more to live.
He was born in Haiti with a small bump on his nose.
His mother said she thought it was just fluid, but in eight months, it continued to grow.
Tears rolled down her face Thursday as she remembered people saying, "your baby is no good."
"Several people told me to leave the baby at the hospital or just abandon him," Anderson's mother, Judith Destine, said through a translator.
After three no's, Anderson's mother found strength through Living Hope Haiti, an organization that helped connect Destine and her baby to Baptist Health.
"I'm full of joy. These are tears of joy," Destine said. "I always believed the baby would be saved and that God would have his will."
Dr. Vitaly Siomin performed the surgery last month that saved Anderson's life.
"It's not very common, especially on this side of the world," Siomin said about Anderson's condition. "It was a very large ball essentially in his face. It obscured his vision."
Siomin said Anderson might lose sight in his right eye and needs therapy for a full recovery, but has a resilient spirit.
"He would hold it up a little bit -- maybe it's my imagination to push it to see," Siomin said. "So long-term the baby probably has a very good prognosis. It's not something that is going to grow in the future and cause other problems."
Doctors and nurses describe Anderson as a joy to be around and treat.
His family is now eager to bring him back to Haiti, where he'll join his 5-year-old sister and have a second chance at life.
"When I look at him and he is laughing, I'm full of joy," Destine said. "And I think of the person that told me that my baby was no good (and) that I should just leave him somewhere."