Mother Can't Care for Baby with Rare Birth Defect. Surgeon Adopts Her After Saving Life


Dr. Christine Finck was no stranger to getting calls in the middle of the night. Since she is the Division Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Connecticut Children’s Hospital, it was quite normal.

In February 2006, a seemingly normal late night call ended up changing her life forever.

A premature baby girl had just been born with gastroschisis. That means that the baby was born with her intestines outside of her body.

Finck was taken immediately, enamored by the baby’s personality. “Despite having all her intestines not where they were supposed to be, she was feisty! Her bright blue eyes seemed to be smiling at me,” she recalled.

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The baby’s mother, who was young at the time, told Dr. Finck that the girl’s name was Isabelle.

The first year of Isabelle’s life was filled with operation after operation. As her primary surgeon, Dr. Finck spent every day with her, ending each visit by holding one of her small hands.

The two had built a strong bond and many of the nurses often teased Dr. Finck that she would end up taking the blue-eyed girl home.

“I had grown very close to her. I was at her bedside a lot, and I think watching her frail but tough spirit made me just feel a special connection with her,” she said.

Right before the baby’s first birthday, doctors were ready to release her back into her mother’s care. While she was well enough to go home, she still required a lot of care.

She was still on IV and had a feeding tube in her stomach.

Her mother took her home, but returned after only 2 nights. The young mother walked into Dr. Finck’s office and admitted that she didn’t have enough support at home to care for her daughter.

Dr. Finck recalls what happened next, “Right then and there I blurted out, ‘I can take her.’ I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who said that?!’ And then her mom stated, ‘Oh that would be great. You know her the best.'”

When she called her husband to ask if he’d be willing to adopt Isabelle, he immediately agreed.

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The couple then started the process of going through adoption agencies and lawyers to bring their precious new child home. They were eventually able to bring her home almost two months later.

The hospital staff cheered as they walked out of the hospital as an official family for the first time.

“She has just turned 10, and I cannot remember a life without her. She has taught me so much about being a mother and a doctor,” Dr. Finck said.

“I often look up at the sky and thank God I was on call that night.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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