Soldier Saves Disabled Iraqi Youngster

Unlikely journey takes orphan from Baghdad to Wisconsin
By John Abell,  Newser User
Posted Dec 23, 2007 10:00 PM CST
Scott Southworth, right, is seen with his adopted son, Ala, July 19, 2007, in the home in Mauston, Wis. Southworth first met Ala, who has cerebral palsy, at the Mother Teresa orphanage in Baghdad in...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ala Eddeen was destined for a miserable, perhaps short life. Born with cerebral palsy, the 9-year-old orphan was on his way to an institution where at best "he would stare at a blank wall for the rest of his life," says Scott Southworth, a US military officer who managed against all odds—Iraqi law prohibits foreigners from adopting Iraqi children—to adopt and bring Ala home to Wisconsin.

It took years, the AP reports. First Southworth got permission to bring Ala stateside for medical treatment. Then he campaigned to get Ala "humanitarian parole," lining up everyone from a nun who cared for Ala in Iraq to Wisconsin's lieutenant governor. Southworth and Ala made it home in January, 2005. Last June 4, Ala officially became Southworth's son.