Most of us who are blessed with children find it almost inconceivable that we would abandon our child, and yet there are those individuals who can simply walk away without any self-recrimination or guilt. Perhaps in the long run they may actually be doing that child a favor, sparing it from further abuse.
This is the tale of one such infant abandoned for over 5 months at Franciscan Children’s hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts. The child had become a ward of the state and had been hospitalized, suffering from multiple health issues, one of which was being born prematurely and weighing less than 2 pounds. The baby also suffered from neonatal abstinence syndrome due to the mother being a heroin addict and using cocaine and methadone during her pregnancy.
The infant had been languishing in the hospital without receiving even one visitor, until one day Liz Smith, the director of nursing, suddenly set her eyes upon the tiny tot with big blue eyes, a captivating smile, and a single soft brown curl across her forehead.
“Who’s this beautiful angel?” Liz asked the nurse. “Her name is Gisele,” the nurse replied.
A week later, fate brought the two together again. “Literally, Gisele crossed my path in a stroller and we locked eyes and that was it,” Liz told CBS Boston.
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That chance encounter with baby Gisele was all Liz needed to convince her that some way, somehow, “I’m going to foster this baby. I’m going to be her mother.”
The Andover native had always dreamed of being a mother, however nursing had become a full time career, along with never quite finding “Mr. Right”.
Gisele, who was 8 months old at the time, was born at another hospital. She was then transferred to Franciscan Children’s hospital after the state of Massachusetts took custody of her when she was 3 months old because she needed a feeding tube and specialized care for her lungs.
Liz had felt an immediate attachment to baby Gisele. Perhaps it was because she also lost her mother to liver cancer when she was just 19-years old.
“My mom was a pediatric nurse who always put others first, so I grew up wanting to be a nurse, too,” Smith acknowledged.
Now, in her mid 40’s, Liz thought about getting married and raising a family just like her siblings, but it just didn’t happen. “I never imagined becoming a mom would be a challenge, it’s a desire you can try to push away and fill with other distractions, but it never goes away,” she said.
Everything changed the day she saw Gisele. “Since the moment I met her, there was something behind her striking blue eyes capturing my attention,” she said. “I felt that I needed to love this child and keep her safe.”
“She was behind developmentally, and I wanted to get her out of the hospital and get her thriving,” Smith recalled. The first thing she needed to do was to put in a request to foster Gisele, which was granted in April of 2017. Smith received permission to take Gisele home with the stipulation that the state would try to reunite the baby with her birth parents.
After an extensive investigation, the state concluded that both birth parents were incapable in taking care of the baby, and there was no other family member stepping up to adopt the child. Liz was now able to apply for adoption.
“The day I got the call that their parental rights were terminated was very sad; my gain was another’s loss. It’s a feeling difficult to describe when you are experiencing this life-changing moment that someone else is as well, in the opposite way. The bottom line is: It’s devastating for another family.”
With the help of her brother Phil Smith, who lived with Liz and other caregivers at that time, Gisele was thriving medically and achieving every major milestone.
In October of 2018, the state of Massachusetts granted Liz Smith full adoption, officially making her Gisele’s mother.
Her brother said, “This is the mother-daughter relationship my sister has waited a long time for, it’s plain to see that they have brought a completeness to each other.”
Nurse Adopts Baby Girl who had no hospital visitors for five months.
In 2017, Liz Smith, director of nursing at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts met 5-month-old Gisele, while going about her regular day. https://t.co/vzhWuH3J2W
— ᵁⁿᵇᵒʳⁿ ᴸⁱᵛᵉˢ ᴹᵃᵗᵗᵉʳ (@RockofLifeNI) February 24, 2020