Liz Smith, like a lot of others, had dreamed of finding a husband and having children. But unfortunately for her, she reached her 40s single and had no children. After several failed attempts of IUI hoping to get pregnant alone, she put her hopes of having children behind her and concentrated on her job as a pediatric nurse. It was on a normal day at work that she spotted a tiny girl with bright blue eyes and a single soft brown curl being wheeled down the hall. And that miraculous encounter changed her life forever.
“Who is this beautiful angel?” Smith asked the nurse who was wheeling the infant down the corridor. The nurse replied, “Her name is Gisele.”
Smith, from Brighton, Massachusetts, is the director of nursing at Franciscan Children’s Hospital. The infant had been in the hospital for five months but that was the first time Smith saw her.
Gisele, who was 8 months old at the time, had been delivered prematurely at a different hospital in July 2016, weighing just under 2 pounds. She was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which was caused by her biological mother’s use of heroin, cocaine, and methadone while she was pregnant.
Gisele was taken into custody by the state of Massachusetts at the age of three months and moved to Franciscan Children’s Hospital because she had a feeding tube and needed specialist care for her lungs.
During her five months in the hospital, she had not had a single visitor and she was to be placed in foster care soon. Liz Smith decided, “I’m going to foster this baby. I’m going to be her mother.”
“Since the moment I met her, there was something behind her striking blue eyes capturing my attention,” she told Boston. “I felt that I needed to love this child and keep her safe.”
She immediately completed the necessary papers to adopt Gisele. “She was behind developmentally, and I wanted to get her out of the hospital and get her thriving,” Liz commented.
Three weeks later, she was told that Gisele was hers, but that she would be reunited with her biological parents as soon as possible.
Gisele’s biological parents were permitted weekly supervised visits for a while, but their parental rights were eventually removed when they were deemed to be incapable of caring for a child.
“The day I got the call that their parental rights were terminated was very sad. My gain was another’s loss.”
Surrounded by Liz’s affection and expert care, Gisele grew healthier every day.
It was only after 18 months that Liz was able to legally adopt Gisele and be presented with the legal documentation proving she was her mother.
She said, “When I became Gisele’s mom it really was a feeling I can’t even describe.”
“It was this relief and stability and just so much to look forward to without all of the questions and the unknown.”
Gisele still requires the use of a feeding tube, but she eats and appears to be getting better by the day.