‘We Locked Eyes and That Was It:’ Nurse Adopts a Preemie in Withdrawal Who Nobody Visited
Liz Smith, the director of nursing at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Brighton, Massachusetts always knew she wanted to be a nurse and follow in her mom’s footsteps. While she accomplished her career goal, which was fulfilling, there was still a void. She had always wanted to be a mom, but with her demanding work schedule she hadn’t yet found “the one,” and her insurance wouldn’t cover in-vitro fertilization.
Then one day back in July of 2016, she learned about a preemie named Baby Gisele whose biological mother used heroin, cocaine, and methadone during her pregnancy. Weighing just under 2 pounds at birth, Baby Gisele had neonatal abstinence syndrome (drug withdrawal symptoms while in the womb) and underdeveloped lungs.
While Baby Gisele’s condition was heart-wrenching, there was something else that added to the heartbreak – for five months nobody came to visit her. This crushed Smith, especially when she first “locked eyes with her,” a profound instant that would ultimately change her life.
“Since the moment I met her, there was something behind her striking blue eyes capturing my attention,” Smith told The Washington Post. “I felt that I needed to love this child and keep her safe.”
Shortly after, Smith began fostering Baby Gisele with the understanding that she must try and reunite the baby with her birth parents. While Baby Gisele’s parents were granted supervised weekly visitations, eventually their parental rights were terminated by the state. They were deemed “incapable of caring for the child” and there weren’t any other blood relatives to adopt her. Being that Smith’s “gain was another’s loss,” was bittersweet, but she couldn’t be more honored to now be a mom.