close of infant grabbing hold of an adult finger
Jade Small
Jade Small
January 4, 2024 ·  3 min read

Nurse Adopted a NICU Preemie Who Didn’t Have a Single Visitor For 5 Months

Some stories are simply unforgettable and worth revisiting. Your journey as a mom can be a tricky one at times, and we can all use a bit of inspiration sometimes. The story of Liz and Giselle Smith from Massachusetts has a happy ending where a nurse adopts a preemie. Liz always knew what she wanted to pursue a medical career as a nurse, and of course, like many of us, she dreamed of becoming a mom. Early on in her life, her ideas about having a family were stereotypical: marriage in her twenties, kids, and a large family similar to her own background. Liz felt, as so many women do, the pressure of adhering to having kids at a certain age. However, her own path to becoming a mom would be something else entirely.

Her career blossomed

After graduating from Villanova University in 1996, Liz moved on to Boston University to eventually complete a master’s degree in 2007. She focused on her career and even opened a small clinic in Richmond, Virginia. When she got out of a long-term relationship, Liz headed home to Boston and accepted a post as the Senior Director of Nursing at the Franciscan Children’s Hospital. The move felt right, as she had volunteered there 20 years before. Although her career was thriving, she began to feel like she had neglected her personal life just a little, and her family could tell. [2]

She struggled through her personal heartbreak

Liz was approaching her 40s, and her sister and brother both had children. She enjoyed being the favorite aunt to each one of her thirteen nieces and nephews, but something still felt missing. At this point, she consulted a fertility specialist for advice who was positive about her age and prospect as a single parent, but sadly she learned it wasn’t meant to be. Liz was heartbroken when she found out that she didn’t qualify for in vitro fertilization, and after trying other options, she decided not to have children of her own. [2]

Nurse adopts preemie Liz and Gisele Smith
Image: Kerrianne Sullivan

It wasn’t until the nurses at Franciscan Children’s where she worked introduced Liz to the premature baby Gisele that her life changed completely. When asked by CNN what moment made her consider adopting Gisele, Liz said, “Really, the first time I saw her,” she continued, “Gisele crossed my path in a stroller and we locked eyes and that was it.” [3]

After she was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome Gisele spent nearly 5 months in NICU without any visitors. Liz explained that Gisele was then “transferred to Franciscan Children’s for acute rehab and that’s where I met her.” She spoke of how Gisele’s parents had battled with addiction problems and that the child’s condition was a result of exposure to opiates. [3]

Liz and Gisele Smith. Nurse Adopts preemie
Image: Franciscan Children’s Hospital

Read: Woman Who Fostered 600 Kids in 50 Years Took in Anyone—Regardless of Age or Medical Condition

Then against all the odds she became a parent

With the help of her friends and co-workers, Liz began fostering Gisele once the state had taken custody of her. She cared for her as she overcame the withdrawal symptoms and required feeding each day through a gastro tube. Liz originally hoped to reunite Gisele with her parents. However, as her bond with Gisele grew, they began to trust the process. [1]

Gisele Smith on her adoption day.
Image: Ashley Pizzuti/Pizzuti Cuties

Thinking back Liz revealed, “I remember certain nights, one in particular, when she was hooked up to the feed and I was walking by the mirror and the thought went into my head of losing her.” She continued, “I had to go there in my mind because it was still a reality, but it made me sick to my stomach. You can’t just love a certain percentage. You have to give it your all.” [1]

Liz adopted Gisele Katherine Smith on the 18th of October back in 2018. The presiding judge said, “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.” [1]

Keep Reading: Elderly Man Takes Hair And Makeup Lessons So He Can Help His Aging Wife


  1. Nurse adopts baby girl after parents didn’t visit for 5 months; judge calls it ‘destiny.’USA Today. April 7, 2019
  2. Liz & Gisele’s Story.” Franciscan Children’s.
  3. 2-year-old hijacks interview about her adoption story.” CNN. April 4, 2019.