Giselle, who was just 8 months old at the time, was a ward of the state and had been staying at the hospital for the previous five months. She was diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome in addition to being born prematurely and weighing only a little bit less than 2 pounds.
Gisele was born in July of 2016, and on her third month, the state of Massachusetts acquired custody of her and transported her to the neonatal critical care unit of the Franciscan Children’s hospital.
She was a premature infant who spent time in the NICU, and as a result, she required particular care for both her feeding tube and her lungs. Gisele did not have a single visitor throughout her whole stay, which lasted for a total of five months.
When Smith came upon the infant, social services were in the process of attempting to find a foster home for Gisele. The instant she laid eyes on the newborn, she knew without a doubt that she would be providing foster care for the child. I’m going to take care of her like a mother.”
Smith spent her childhood in Andover, Massachusetts, and lost her mother to liver cancer when she was 19 years old. She came to the conclusion that the best way to respect her mother was to follow her.
“My mother worked as a pediatric nurse, and she always placed the needs of others before her own, as a result, I spent my childhood aspiring to work in the medical field.”
Smith had two brothers and two sisters, and when her younger siblings began starting their own families, she was surprised and disappointed that she did not do the same.
“I never in a million years thought that having children would be difficult, it is a want that, no matter how much you try to ignore it or satisfy it with anything else, it will never leave you.”
Smith quickly gained the reputation of being “the world’s greatest aunt” to her 13 nieces and nephews, but she longed for more children to care for.
Smith explored her other choices, but she lacked the financial means to undergo in vitro fertilization, and she was adamantly opposed to the idea of adopting a child.
Gisele, however, had a change of heart. “Ever from the first time we met, there was something captivating about the gorgeous blue eyes she had that drew my interest.
I had the overwhelming sensation that it was my responsibility to cherish this kid and watch out for her.” She wasted no time in initiating the adoption process for Gisele.
As quickly as possible, it was decided by the state that Gisele’s parents were unable to care for her, which paved the door for the infant to be adopted. Smith’s reaction to the news was complicated by feelings of joy and regret, “someone else’s misfortune was my good fortune.”
Gisele is now 2 years old and still has her feeding tube, but she has put on 23 pounds, and her favorite foods now include cheese, avocados, and pizza.