- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - The love of a family brought Ryder Jomar Reddig to Minot.

The 11-year-old was born near Rizal in the Philippines with an encephalocele, a rare birth disorder in which the skull doesn’t close and the brain protrudes, The Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2eHdCAP ) reported.

Born with severe disfigurement, he was abandoned by his mother at the age of 5 and entered the Rehoboth Sampaloc Ministries’ orphanage in Rizal near Manila.

Ryder’s facial mass had necessitated surgery to save his life. He had a lifesaving operation in Manila to remove the encephalocele shortly after entering the orphanage.

Ryder has nerve damage, leaving him with facial paralysis and blindness and deafness on the right side of his face.

The Reddigs of Minot Quinn, a BNSF train conductor and Alyson, a stay-at-home mom, who are the parents of two children, Jadyn, 8, and Addison, 7, had discussed the idea of adopting. In July 2014, they were invited to attend the Summer of Hope Program in Gillette, Wyoming, where families could meet children in need of homes.

Provided with photos of the children who would be at the event, when Alyson saw the photo of Ryder she said, “I wanted him to be my son.”

Within days, Quinn, Alyson, Jadyn and Addison were on their way to Gillette where the Summer of Hope event was being held. This was a meet-and-greet event and Ryder was not told the Reddigs were hoping to adopt him.

Immediately, the Minot family fell in love with Ryder who was 9 at the time.

The adoption process would take months so Ryder returned to the orphanage in the Philippines. Soon after, he received a package containing a family photo album from Alyson and Quinn.

“He kept it close to him. He completely wore it out,” Alyson said.

In late April of this year, Ryder’s adoption was approved and Alyson and Quinn flew to the Philippines to bring Ryder home to Minot. There was no “warming up” period. Ryder immediately took to his new parents. “He ran to us,” Alyson said when he saw them.

When Quinn, Alyson and Ryder arrived at the Minot International Airport he reunited with Jadyn and Addison, his new brother and sister. He first met them in Gillette about two years ago.

Ryder’s life has changed. He learned English in the orphanage and now is home schooled with his brother and sister.

His first name was Jomar but when the Reddigs adopted him, he wanted a different name. He chose Ryder which means “warrior” and his name now is Ryder Jomar Reddig.

Ryder and his family have become acquainted with the FilAm (Filipino American) group in Minot. Alyson said the group has been very supportive of Ryder’s adoption and are helping him with his transition.

Before Ryder’s arrival in Minot, Alyson searched for a doctor specializing in facial paralysis treatments. She located Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, a renowned Los Angeles area facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

She contacted Azizzadeh in May after Ryder arrived in Minot. She said he offered to perform Ryder’s necessary surgeries and cover extra medical expenses. She said the surgeries will take place in the coming months.

Earlier this month, Ryder and his family were at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he had a complete medical evaluation. There, it was discovered he had an incomplete encephalocele repair which required surgery on Oct. 3, Alyson said. She said Ryder is doing very well following the surgery. Ryder and his family returned home this past week.

Ryder has a great deal to look forward to now with his new family and in his new hometown.

___

Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com


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