No Visitors for Five Months

Photo credit Ashley Pizzuti

Our lives are not driven by the things we buy or the accomplishments we achieve, rather by the moments that touch us, we cherish those moments that have a profound impact on us.  Recently I read an article in the Washington Post An infant did not have any hospital visitors for five months. So this nurse adopted her”.  With the political mudslinging that is so prevalent in today’s news stories, I am always eager to read a feel-good story and this story definitely caught my eye.

This article spread like wildfire and shared the story of a nurse who was inspired to foster and then later adopt an infant that she saw in the hospital. A child she learned had been removed from the birth mother’s care and placed into state custody due to drug use by the birth mother during her pregnancy.  The child, Gisele, was born premature and under 2 pounds had been hospitalized for five months to be treated for neonatal abstinence syndrome (withdrawal conditions suffered by a newborn due to drug use by its mother) because of her mother’s use of heroine, cocaine and methadone during her pregnancy.  Just reading the first paragraph of this article made my mommy heart ache for this child.  An infant who upon birth not only had to struggle and fight for her life, had to go through the physical agony of withdrawal, and additionally, had no one in a world filled with 7.3 billion people who came to visit her or hold her.  This baby girl had a rough start in life and had no one to call mommy or daddy and had no one to soothe her during the pain and trauma of her early existence.

As I read on I learned that Liz Smith, the Director of Nursing at this hospital stepped up and took on the role of parenting this child in need.I related to Liz as she spoke about her deceased mother as I had recently lost my own mother as well. When my own mother passed, others who had went through this same grief told me they felt like orphans. I thought to myself if this is what it feels like as an adult to be an orphan, I cannot even begin to comprehend what a child feels who does not have a mother or father, a child who feels all alone in the world.  Luckily the child in this article will no longer have to experience the feeling of being alone in the world.

Liz had never considered adoption previously as a way to expand her family and what made it a reality for her was the connection she experienced upon seeing this child.  When she saw this child in need, she formed a connection or bond with her and yearned to help her thrive.  Liz began daily visits with Gisele and was granted custody of her when Gisele was 9 months old as her foster parent. Eventually the birth parents’ rights were terminated, allowing Liz to move forward with an adoption, becoming Gisele’s legal parent.

As Liz stated in the article, adoption happens from a place of loss and she recognizes this. But her commitment to this child in need has proven that an individual’s commitment to provide love and family to a child in need has helped yet another child thrive. This is after all what adoption is all about. Interested in exploring adoption? Contact

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.