Teachers adopt little boy who's had multiple amputations: 'It's been the most incredible journey'

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Tim and Jenna Riccio with their son, Nathanael. (PHOTO: Instagram / @Kiloquiche
Tim and Jenna Riccio with their son, Nathanael. (PHOTO: Instagram / @Kiloquiche

Nathanael “Nate” Innocent Riccio from Connecticut in the US may be only 10 years old but he's already endured more challenges than most people do in a lifetime.

Nate has sickle cell anaemia, a blood disorder that changes the shape of red blood cells and blocks blood flow.

Due to complications from the condition, the little boy had to undergo multiple amputations and lost both his legs below the knee, his left arm and some fingers on his right hand.

Nate came from a difficult home environment and social workers removed him from it in 2019 because doctors feared he'd miss appointments and treatment.

When Jenna Riccio, one of his teachers at his primary school, learnt he was to be moved to a foster-care home an hour away from school, she knew she had to do something – and she set about finding out how she could foster him.

Tim Riccio, Jenna's then boyfriend and the school's art teacher, was also fond of Nate and keen to foster him. After background checks, Jenna and Tim were approved as foster parents and by October 2022 the three were a family. 

Jenna and Tim married in 2021, and they adopted Nate last year.

“This was so amazing! I couldn't believe this was happening right now,” Nate said during his adoption, which took place last November. 

“They take care of me in every way, the best way possible – the way that my parents weren't able to,” he added.  

READ MORE | Baby Theunsie was born into a cruel world but he has a bright future now thanks to his loving foster family  

“He's the toughest kid in the entire world. He's gone through more in his 10 years than most people I know have gone through in their entire life,” Tim said in an interview. 

Nate became a big brother when Jenna and Tim welcomed their daughter, Julien, last February and is delighted with his little sister, Jenna says. 

“It's been the most, most incredible journey,” she says. “Very emotional.”


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