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Burned Ugandan boy arrives in Los Angeles for reconstructive surgery

Monday, November 19, 2012

An 11-year-old Ugandan boy, crippled and terribly burned while trying to get food, arrived in Southern California Monday for reconstructive surgery.

There was a look of wonderment on the face of Adolf Baguma as he was met at Los Angeles International Airport by a barrage of TV cameras and a brand new family who's been anxiously awaiting his arrival.

Baguma was only 7 years old when his aunt burned his legs with hot banana leaves for trying to take food. The burns were never properly treated and his legs healed at a 90-degree angle, forcing him to crawl on all fours. The boy, whose parents are deceased, ran away. Last year, he was picked up on the side of the road by a woman who works at a Ugandan orphanage.

"I got out of my car, went to see him and just see what's happening with him. I got the story that he had been burned by his auntie and he was living on the street by himself," said Faith Kunihira, founder of the Bringing Hope to the Family Orphanage.

Laine Wagenseller was volunteering at the orphanage when he met the young boy.

"It really hits you in the gut when he couldn't keep up with the other kids walking to school, when he's walking on a dirt path on all fours," said Wagenseller.

Wagenseller was determined to help the boy stand up on his two legs again, so he contacted the Children's Burn Foundation in Los Angeles.

"When I see him and his little bent legs, I just know that the Children's Burn Foundation is going to give him such a gift," said Carol Horvitz, executive director at the Children's Burn Foundation.

This Thanksgiving, Baguma is going to have a family, thanks to Wagenseller's brother and sister-in-law, who have agreed to take him into their home as he undergoes the surgeries necessary to for him walk again.

"He has had nothing in his life that has been very good for him and we're just very thrilled to be sharing our lives and for him to be sharing his life for us," said Ashley Wagenseller.

Baguma said he loves his new family and wants to enjoy his time with them. Baguma will undergo surgeries over the next six to nine months. The Children's Burn Foundation is hoping someone in the U.S. will adopt Baguma once he recovers.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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