BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. --An 11-year-old boy from the Philippines came to California for a chance at a new life.
Ryder Reddig was born with a disfiguring tumor, but his adoptive parents sought out the help of local plastic surgeons.
While Ryder has much to smile about, right now he can only smile half way.
"It was really important for us just to help him feel confident in himself, in his image and his appearance," said his adoptive mother Alyson Reddig.
Ryder was born in the Philippines with a rare deformity as the bones of his skull didn't close completely. The result was a facial tumor that covered the right side of his face.
He ended up in an orphanage after his parents abandoned him. Surgery in the Philippines resulted in facial paralysis and left him blind in one eye.
But life changed when he came to the U.S.
Ryder met his adoptive parents, Quinn and Alyson Reddig and his future siblings Addison and Jadyn.
"We felt like he fit into our family. He's the missing piece to the puzzle," said Quinn Reddig.
Since the adoption, his mother searched for top doctors to help Ryder with his many challenges.
"He's had some struggles with children teasing and bullying," said Alyson Reddig.
Money is also a challenge, but facial plastic surgeon Dr. Babak Azizzadeh agreed to donate his surgical fee.
"Fixing his paralysis is going to involve multiple surgeries," explained Azizzadeh.
To make Ryder's smile complete, Azizzadeh needs a long enough nerve graft to string from cheek to cheek. And the nerves in Ryder's ankle are just the right length.
"Once that nerve is activated and it takes anywhere from three to six months, we will then go get a muscle from his inner thighs. It's called a gracilis muscle. It's a very teeny muscle that we get," Azizzadeh described.
The new muscle will be attached to the nerves and blood vessels. The entire process will take a year and a half.
In the meantime, Ryder loves his new family - and playing the trombone.
To be a part of Ryder's journey, you can learn how to donate here.