“When her baby was born without eyes, a young Russian mom made the heartbreaking decision to abandon him, fearing that the little boy would never have a loving family. The orphanage began a campaign to get Sasha adopted. Then something unbelievable happened to him that would change his life forever.
At 31 weeks pregnant, Sasha’s birth mother went for a regular checkup. She was excited but nervous about bringing a child into the world. She didn’t have much and had no experience in looking after children. She worried whether being a mother would come naturally to her.
Throughout her pregnancy, she had been concerned about whether she would be able to properly provide for her child. During the checkup, she noticed that the nurses had concerned looks on their faces as they called a doctor into the room. She began to feel panicked, but she wasn’t prepared for the news the medical professional was about to give her.
The doctor told her that there seemed to be a problem with her baby’s eyes. He told the young woman that she should prepare herself for the likelihood that her little boy would be born without eyeballs. The young woman stumbled out of the hospital feeling lost. All the way home, she contemplated what life would be like for her and her son.
As the weeks passed by and it got closer to the due date, the young woman made a difficult and painful decision. She just didn’t think she had the skills to properly take care of the little boy in the way he would need. She would have to put her baby up for adoption. She didn’t feel happy about the decision, but she felt she had no choice. She didn’t have any family and friends to help her, and dealing with such a rare medical condition overwhelmed her.
When the young woman gave birth, she couldn’t even look at her son, fearing that she might form an attachment to a child she couldn’t care for. As much as it broke her heart, she handed over her baby to the care of the doctors and nurses, abandoning him to an unknown fate. She walked away from the hospital with tears in her eyes, still unsure if she’d done the right thing.
It would seem that the worst-case scenario had come true. Little Sasha was indeed born without eyeballs, an extremely rare medical condition making him only one of three children in Russia with the same syndrome. There was a glimmer of hope, though. Sasha amazed doctors; his condition, known as SOX2 anophthalmia syndrome, usually came with lots of other severe medical issues: cognitive impairments, speech difficulties, and hearing loss. It only affected just one in every 250,000 births. Despite this, though, Sasha had defied all odds and was actually a healthy and resilient little boy with no other health issues. He soon captured the hearts of all the staff at the hospital who marveled at how special he was. The boy wouldn’t stop smiling.
Sasha had two benign cysts on his forehead, but doctors weren’t concerned and quickly and easily removed them. It was quite remarkable that the little boy didn’t seem to have anything else wrong with him beyond having no eyeballs. Once doctors were sure that little Sasha was completely healthy, he was handed over to a local orphanage in Tom’s Russia.
Doctors and nurses were saddened to see Sasha leave and were deeply concerned about what life would hold for him. They knew that even though he was healthy, a medical condition like his wouldn’t make it easy for him to get adopted. As the medical staff waved goodbye to Sasha, they couldn’t help but feel heartbroken at his sad situation.
Sasha soon charmed all the staff at the orphanage who were pleased to see that he was a very smiley little boy despite his difficult start in life. On days when things felt tough, a bright smile from Sasha could soon lift the mood of the orphanage. The orphanage knew that Sasha would thrive in the care of a loving family, but finding him that special family would be incredibly hard.
The hospital where Sasha was born stayed in close contact with the orphanage as they began to formulate a care plan for him. Due to having no eyeballs, the little boy would need tiny orbs implanted to stop any facial deformities as he grew.
The implants would have to be replaced every 6 months to adapt to Sasha’s changing face. There was no chance that Sasha would ever see, but being born blind meant it would be easier for him to adapt in the right environment. There was no reason why Sasha couldn’t thrive the same as a child without his condition. The eye orb implants would ensure that Sasha’s face looked the same as any other child’s, giving him the most normal life possible in his circumstances.
One particular nurse at the orphanage had grown very attached to Sasha, and the thought of him not finding a home broke her heart. Being a loving and compassionate person, she decided to travel to St. Petersburg with Sasha when he had his operation. That way, if a familiar person would be present when the little boy woke up, she knew he wouldn’t be able to see her and he was still a baby. But she felt sure that he would sense her presence and be comforted by it.
The kind nurse patiently waited in the waiting room of the hospital. She said silent prayers, hoping that everything would go smoothly. It seemed like such a big operation for a tiny little boy. Thankfully, after a few hours, doctors informed the nurse that everything had gone to plan and Sasha was doing very well.
As soon as she walked into the hospital room, a huge smile broke out on Sasha’s face. It seemed that nothing could dull the brave little boy’s spirit. The nurse couldn’t help but smile back. Even though she knew Sasha couldn’t see, she got the feeling that he would know how happy she was.
With a proper plan in place for Sasha’s medical care, the orphanage now began the difficult task of trying to find the little boy a loving family—one that could deal with the operations the little boy would need twice a year but also a family that could see past his medical condition and love the little boy. No one anticipated just how heart-wrenching the task would be, though.
Every time a family came to the orphanage, Sasha would be met with looks of pity and sometimes even disgust. Some families just weren’t interested in hearing Sasha’s story beyond the fact that he was born blind. They missed out on details about his beautiful smile, his loving nature, the way he loved playing with the other children, and how much joy he got from going swimming—all the little pieces of information that made Sasha who he was didn’t seem to matter. People saw a child with a disability and nothing else.
Christmas was fast approaching, and the orphanage had seen a lot of success with children getting new families in time for the festivities. As Christmas trees began to be placed around the orphanage and the decorations were hung, there was a sense of sadness that stopped everyone from truly getting into the spirit of the season. Everyone had one little boy on their minds: Sasha. It was looking very likely that the happy and loving little boy would be spending his first-ever Christmas at the orphanage.
And although staff always did their best to make the Christmas season as magical and happy as they could, they knew they could never match the Christmas joy that a family could provide. They wanted to see all the children in their care go to happy homes, but Sasha especially had charmed them, and for him to have a family for Christmas would be truly a miracle.
The staff at the orphanage got together to form a plan. They needed to do something that would actually get people to give Sasha a chance and not just overlook him. The nurse who had traveled to St. Petersburg with the little boy had an idea. She wanted a journalist to do a piece on Sasha that could be shared on social media. Although most people agreed this would probably give Sasha the exposure he so desperately needed, they were also concerned about the little boy’s safety and about turning him into a media spectacle. It was a delicate situation that would have to be handled respectfully and kindly.
The search for a journalist that could tackle the sensitive situation began. Staff met with Svetlana Sova and immediately knew that she was the right person to tell Sasha’s story. The team at the orphanage began to build a perfect adoption page for the little boy, painting a picture of a happy and smiley baby who responded with joy upon hearing familiar voices. Meanwhile, Svetlana began crafting the perfect article that would show the world how special Sasha was.
Just days after Svetlana published her piece on Sasha in the local paper, the story was picked up by global news outlets, keen to share the story of a happy baby looking for a home for Christmas. The orphanage couldn’t believe how much interest Sasha was receiving. They hoped and prayed that the article would attract interested families in Russia, but they never imagined that they’d be met with prospective parents expressing interest from all over the world. Sasha had gone from having no one interested in him to the whole world falling in love with him overnight.
Staff at the orphanage were overwhelmed with the response to Sasha’s story and began the tough task of filtering through the adoption requests they’d received for the little boy. They had received a large amount of interest from families outside of Russia, and although they were happy that people were finally interested in Sasha, they had been keen to see him go to a family in Russia where adoption authorities would be able to keep a close watch on him to ensure he was getting the right care.
Sifting through piles of adoption applications, authorities now had some very difficult decisions to make. Let Sasha be adopted outside of Russia or keep him at the orphanage. However, in the middle of the challenges, Sasha’s fate took a miraculous turn just as Christmas approached.
Adoption officials received an application from a family in Russia who were interested in learning more about Sasha. His story was still being shared around the world, but the authorities hadn’t received any interest from families within Russia up until this point—at least no viable families. They reviewed the applications very carefully, being mindful that they didn’t rush into anything just because the family was based in Russia. They had to be the perfect match for the special little boy.
Everything seemed to be perfect with the application, so the family was invited to come and meet Sasha at the orphanage. The big day came, and tensions were high at the orphanage. Everyone desperately wanted the meeting to work out, but they didn’t want to get their hopes up in case everything fell through.
As soon as the family stepped into the orphanage, everyone immediately relaxed. Warmth and love radiated from the family, and when they met Sasha, a huge smile spread across his face. The family spent the afternoon at the orphanage, playing with the little boy and learning more about the medical care he would need. With operations every 6 months, nothing put the family off. They were more interested in learning about who the little boy was outside of his blindness. They accepted it would always be a part of him but saw no reason why he couldn’t live his life like any other child. It was all the orphanage had wanted for Sasha.
Just in time for Christmas day, Sasha joined his new family. Everyone who had gotten to know Sasha over the last few months was overjoyed at the unbelievable Christmas miracle that had happened. Details of the family were mostly kept secret to protect them and Sasha, but some details that were revealed hinted at the now happy life that the little boy would be living.
Everyone expressed how pleased they were that Sasha now had a family to call his own, and they wished him and his parents all the best.
Svetlana Sova, the journalist who had played a crucial role in sharing Sasha’s story with the world, set about crafting another article that would inform everyone who had been closely following the little boy’s story of the happy ending. In her new article, she described the adoption as special Christmas magic. She shared with the world that not only did Sasha now have two loving parents but sisters to play with too. She shared that the family had a summer dacha, a country house where Sasha would spend long summer days outside with his sisters. It hinted at a life filled with warmth and laughter.
Sasha’s new family was delighted to have Sasha join them. They opened their hearts to the loving little boy and embraced all the ups and downs they knew would come with having a blind child. They were determined to teach the little boy that his blindness wouldn’t hold him back. With their love and support, he would be able to achieve anything. His sisters loved having a little brother to play with and didn’t treat him any differently. They laughed, played, and occasionally fought, but they had that sibling bond as if Sasha had been born into their family.
As the Christmas lights twinkled in Sasha’s new home, his family knew that although he couldn’t see the magic of Christmas, the little boy could certainly feel it. Sasha, once abandoned and facing an uncertain future, was now in the care of a loving family. It was a truly unbelievable Christmas miracle that warmed the hearts of everyone who had come to love Sasha.