A baby girl who was born prematurely and had no visitors in hospital has been adopted by a nurse who cared for her. Baby Gisele did not have the greatest start in life. She was born prematurely, at just 29 weeks, to a drug-addicted mother and father, weighing less than two pounds.
She also had health issues as a result of her mother’s drug addiction and she had no visitors for several months. Gisele was being cared for by staff at the NICU in the Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts, USA, and that is where her life started taking a turn for the better.
Liz Smith, a nurse at the hospital, had always wanted to have children, but she suffered from infertility, and was told she was not a good candidate for IVF, so she was unable to get pregnant.
The 45 year old woman had never considered adoption or foster care before, but from the moment she met Gisele, Ms Smith instantly bonded with her and began to visit her regularly.
The state of Massachusetts gained custody of the girl when she was 3 months old in October 2016, and a few months later Ms Smith volunteered to foster her.
Gisele who was diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome as a result of being exposed to drugs during the pregnancy, went to live with Ms Smith in April 2017 and the nurse said she knew the first time that she saw the baby girl that she wanted to be her mum.
Speaking to CNN, Ms Smith said, “It was an emotional roller coaster. When I initially started fostering her, the goal was reunification with her birth parents. I always had that as a reality in the back of my mind while I was taking care of her, but in the moment I knew she needed and deserved every ounce of love I had to give her.”
Last June, the parental rights of Gisele’s birth parents were revoked as they were deemed unfit to care for Gisele. “It was very bittersweet. I was experiencing this tremendous gain and happiness in my life where others were experiencing the opposite.” Ms Smith added.
Ms Smith officially adopted Gisele, now aged two, at a court hearing last October. During the hearing the judge said, “When a judge walks in the room, everyone stands out of respect. But today I stand in respect for you, Liz because you deserve the respect from this room. A birthing day is a miracle. But adopting a child from miles away is destiny. That’s what brought you two together.
Despite having a difficult start in life, Gisele is now healthy and thriving. Ms Smith said, “She is thriving. She has a feeding tube where she still gets the majority of her nutrition through, but other than that, the specialist thinks she is just remarkable. They can’t believe the strides she has made and how healthy and strong she is. Her resilience is inspiring to me and every day I’m amazed by her.”
“We talk about the power of love, but to witness how it can transform a life and to witness how it transformed her life and mine is unbelievable. I have never been happier or stronger and just I couldn’t imagine life without her.” She added.