Sometimes, a news story comes along that lets you go on with your day with a smile, content in the knowledge that there is still plenty of goodness out there to combat all the depressing headlines. This baby girl's adoption story will make you tear up, and that's never a bad thing.
As USA Today reported, Massachusetts caregiver Liz Smith was dedicated to her job as senior director of nursing at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts, when a new patient was admitted. Baby Gisele was born in July 2016, premature at 29 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces, and testing for neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a set of condition that can result from a baby's withdrawal from exposure to opioids, narcotics, or other drugs, the March of Dimes website noted.
Smith, 45, who had received bad news regarding her fertility, met baby Gisele after the little one had been at the hospital for a full five months, the paper added. The Washington Post reported that, incredibly, the infant had received no visits from friends and family in that entire time.
"Who's that beautiful little angel?" Smith recalled asking someone on her staff, the paper noted. As ABC7 New York reported, Smith, who had begun visiting the child every day, eventually heard discussions were underway to put the child in foster care and knew she had to do something.
The baby went home with Smith in April 2017, ABC7 reported. However, that doesn't mean it was all smooth sailing after that.
Smith became a foster parent to Gisele, who was experiencing cocaine and heroin withdrawal and fed through a tube about 16 hours a day, USA Today added. The initial goal was to reunite Gisele with her birth parents, but Smith told the paper she was growing more and more attached.
The heartbreak for Smith was, the legal process is always to reunite a family first. This meant Gisele's birth parents began to visit her, supervised by the state's Department of Children and Family Services, the hospital's website, Franciscan Children's, outlined.
"I remember certain nights, one in particular, when she was hooked up to the feed and I was walking by the mirror and the thought went into my head of losing her," Smith noted in an interview on the hospital site. "I had to go there in my mind because it was still a reality, but it made me sick to my stomach. You can’t just love a certain percentage. You have to give it your all."
When Gisele's parents' visits began to fall off, it became clear the next step in the baby's best interest would be adoption by Smith, Franciscan Children's noted. "When I got the call that the parents’ rights were terminated, I imagined that it would be a day of relief," Smith said. "And it was a day I was really sad. I was really happy. But I was really sad for them. I was gaining her but they were losing her. And to try to battle addiction and being a mom, that’s impossible."
Smith — who told ABC7 News that Gisele's health is improving, although she still has a feeding tube — got to formally adopt Gisele on Oct. 18, 2018, USA Today noted.
The paper added that the judge in the case made special note of the occasion, telling the crowd, "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."
Smith and Gisele, who looked amazingly healthy when the two appeared on NBC's Today, appear to be living their happily ever after. Smith told the show's audience she hopes people will be open to new ideas when they face a challenge, such as fostering and adoption for those who dream of becoming a parent. Thank you to this gorgeous family for making my week!