A nurse from Massachusetts Liz Smith, then 40, would visit an abandoned baby girl at the end of every workday. Gisele came into the world at 29 weeks in July 2016. She was diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) due to her biological mother's drug abuse.
The baby girl was born weighing just 1 pound, 14 ounces. She developed oral hypersensitivity and as a result she refused to eat. Gisele spent three months in the ICU. During that time, no one ever checked on the baby except Smith who couldn't become a mother for a long time.
Soon afterwards, the state took custody of Gisele and with the guidance of friends and co-workers, Smith began fostering 9-month-old Gisele. Liz helped her through cocaine and heroin withdrawal and fed her through a gastrostomy tube about 16 hours a day. At the same time Liz fell in love with the baby girl.
"When I got the call with the information that the parents had lost their rights to the baby, I thought it was great news," Smith shares.
"That was the day I got really sad and happy at the same time. I was getting her and they were losing her."
Two years after Giselle had come into the state custody, Smith legally became her mother.
The woman said that when the judge entered the room on the day of her adoption, October 18, 2018, he addressed her with these words:
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"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."
Gisele develops well under Smith's care. Even though the baby still eats through a feeding tube, Smith helped her start eating some solid foods.
"From the moment I saw her, I felt like I could love and protect this baby," Smith said.
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