They didn't speak the same language, but it was love at first sight for a Maryland doctor and his future adopted son.
"It was sort of a gut feeling... and I like to think that he knew it too," said Dr. Rob Freishtat, emergency room chief at Children's National Medical Center. "That little boy and I really hit it off from the first day."
Freishtat met his son Luke while on a medical trip to Haiti in 2013.
Luke was 3 years old at the time and had been abandoned at a hospital and was starving.
"I called my wife Jamie and said 'I think I found the little boy we’re gonna adopt,'" Freishtat said.
That phone call was the start of a years-long journey, but Rob and Jamie stayed determined through it all.
"There was just no way in the world he wasn’t going to be part of the family," Jamie Freishtat said.
Nicknamed "Ti prezidant," or "little president," Luke began to heal and grow.
After several months, Luke finally met his future mom and brothers, Nate and Max.
"When I met him, it was almost similar to the day I gave birth to my other children," Jamie said.
For three years, Rob traveled to Haiti to see Luke every few months.
"He wasn’t crying when other people left the pediatric ward. He would only cry when I left," Freishtat said.
Finally, after mountains of paperwork and waiting, Luke came home to America earlier this year.
This summer, Jamie enlisted the help of her local congressman to nominate Rob for the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute's Angels in Adoption award to honor his passion for the children of Haiti.
"He didn’t just go and then come back and then never look back. Almost on a daily basis he's in contact with the hospital down there, helping kids, helping doctors," Jamie said.
While the award is a wonderful honor, Rob said the true prize is, of course, Luke.
"It was totally worth it. Worth all the pain, all the tears, all the money to bring this guy home," Freishtat said.