A three-month-old baby girl born prematurely had no visitors for five months of her life, until someone finally spotted and adopted her.
When the baby, Gisele, was born, she had complications and only weighed two pounds. She was diagnosed with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which was a result of her birth mother’s usage of heroin, cocaine, and methadone during her pregnancy, according to reports.
Gisele was born in an unknown hospital until she was transferred to Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts, when she was 3 months old. For the next five months, was under observation—her complications required a feeding tube and specialized care for her lungs.
By then, the state of Massachusetts had taken custody of Gisele, until Liz Smith came along.
Smith, the director of the nursing department, spotted Giselle being wheeled down the hall of the hospital. She was intrigued by the 8-month-old and asked about the baby. Despite the baby being in the hospital for months, Smith had never noticed her before.
According to Richmond Times-Dispatch, Smith asked the nurse, “Who’s this beautiful angel?”
Smith then learned of Gisele’s origins—she was born in another hospital, had complications and depended on a high level of care to save her life.
According to the March of Dimes, when a baby’s mothers takes drugs like opioids during pregnancy, the drugs can go through the placenta and cause serious problems for the baby.
“I came out of the medical unit one day and in the stroller was this beautiful little girl,” Smith recalls. “I said to…
In an interview with TODAY, Smith said Gisele was taking in nutrition through a feeding tube for 16 hours every day.
“She was losing weight quickly,” Smith recalled, “being born at one pound, 14 ounces, you can imagine you have to catch up.”
Smith’s knowledge and experience enabled her to take Gisele home and care for her, and soon she knew that she wanted to adopt the little girl.
Smith had always wanted to become a mother—her other dream of becoming a nurse had come into fruition, but throughout her life, the chance of becoming a mother never come to be.
“One night [Gisele] was hooked up to the feed … and the thought went into my head of losing her,” Smith recalled, “it made me sick to my stomach.”
She had her own reasons to want to be a mother. At the age of 45, she watched all her siblings marry and have children. While being an aunt to her nieces and nephews was great, her yearning to become a mother became more evident. Smith was a middle child, and she always thought that she would find someone and start a family for herself, but that never happened.
Liz Smith, Director of Nursing at Franciscan Children’s, first laid eyes on little Gisele when she was a patient in our…
She recalled that her selfless mother took care of everything for Smith and her siblings. Ever since her parents divorced, her mother had put everything into raising and taking care of them. Her mother’s selfless nature both at home and at work was what inspired her to become a nurse.
“I never imagined becoming a mom would be a challenge,” Smith recalled. “It’s a desire you can try to push away and fill with other distractions but it never goes away.”
Her siblings also thought that she would always make a good mother, saying, “she’s a nurturer by nature.”
No matter what she did, it never worked. Her insurance company wouldn’t cover her fertility treatments, and at the time, she didn’t consider fostering or adopting as an option.
But Gisele changed all that—through this little girl, Smith could turn that dream into a reality.
After nine months of fostering Gisele, the birth parents’ rights were terminated, and Smith recalled it being a very emotional time for her.
“It hit me, all of a sudden, that my life had changed,” Smith said.
For the next 30 days, Gisele’s birth parents did not appeal for any change. Smith knew her dreams were within grasp.
“The day I got the phone call with the adoption date was the day that I was jumping up and down,” Smith recalled to TODAY, “they said October 18th. And it’s my grandmother’s birthday and I just started crying.”
Smith said in the interview that when the judge referred to her as a mom, that was when it all sunk in for her. She was finally a mother.
The 45-year-old said motherhood was better than she dreamed it was going to be. She told TODAY that she was able to experience moments that she wasn’t otherwise able to as an aunt or a nurse.
“The things that make her giggle, [or] the times that she’ll notice I’m sad and come up to give me a hug, or seeing her wake up in the morning. You love them so much that you can’t imagine anything else,” she said.
Gisele is currently a happy and healthy 2-year-old. Although she still needs the feeding tube, her condition has greatly improved.