MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A 5-year-old boy was not expected to survive his injuries from a roadside bomb in Iraq as an infant, but now, he is very much alive and has been formally adopted by his uncle at a special ceremony on Long Island.
As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, Dean Khazaal, whose name at birth was Zeenabdeen Hadi, loves to play with trucks and is always excited to share what he is learning in school.
Dean is active and mischievous now, but he has physical and emotional scars. He was seriously wounded by an improvised explosive device about four years ago, when he was just 11 months old.
Dean’s uncle, Hasan Khazaal — just 18 at the time – helped save his infant nephew’s life that day.
“The moment when the accident happened, when I did to him CPS and his whole flesh came off on my mouth, that’s the moment, the beautiful moment, that make me — don’t leave him alone,” Hasan Khazaal said. “He’s really in my heart”
With the help of several international organizations, Dean was brought to the United States by his uncle, for surgery after doctors in Iraq gave the boy no hope of recovery.