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27th Jul 2023

Nurse adopts NICU preemie after no one visited for five months

A nurse has made the heartwarming decision to adopt a premature baby who was left under the care of her hospital for five months without any visitors.

Liz Smith from Brighton, Massachusetts adopted her daughter Gisele from the hospital she worked at in an utterly selfless move.

According to, Liz – who was director of nursing at the Franciscan Children’s hospital in Brighton at the time – was walking towards the lift when she saw the 8-month-old girl.

She asked the nurse on call who she was and was told the baby had come to the hospital five months prior and had been there since.

She was a ward of the state and was born prematurely at a different hospital in July 2016 at 1 lb. and 14 oz.

Gisele suffered from neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is a condition in infants which sees them need to withdraw from drugs they were exposed to before birth.

The baby was in NICU as her lungs needed specialised treatment and she had also developed an oral aversion which made her reluctant to eat.

Gisele then needed a foster family quickly in hopes she could get back on track but after five months at the hospital and not one visitor, it was soon became an even more heartbreaking story.

While social services had been trying to place her in a home, they were having no luck so Liz told herself: “I’m going to foster this baby. I’m going to be her mother.”

She told The Boston Globe that she had always wanted to be a mum and it was her own mum who had inspired her to be become a nurse.

After losing her mum to cancer when she was 19, Liz wanted to honour her memory by living a selfless life.

As she entered her 40s and there as no sign of becoming a mum, Gisele changed everything for her.

“Since the moment I met her, there was something behind her striking blue eyes capturing my attention,” she said. “I felt that I needed to love this child and keep her safe.”

After putting in the request to foster the little girl and waiting for the paperwork to process, she would visit everyday and after three long weeks, she could call herself Gisele’s mum.

“I was excited but nervous, realizing that I was committing everything I had to this child who might not be in my life forever,” she said.

At the beginning, Gisele’s birth parents were given weekly supervised visits but were deemed incapable of caring for their child and their parental rights were terminated.

Knowing her gain was another’s loss, Liz was aware of how hard becoming Gisele’s mum was for her birth family – but has spent each day ensuring her daughter is getting all the help she needs to thrive.