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OHU helps newborn with life-threatening condition find family

One Hope United is proud of its employees for helping create the miracle of quickly finding a home for an abandoned newborn baby with a life-threatening birth defect.

On Aug. 7, 2012, baby girl Doe was born in Sebring, Fla. The newborn was abandoned at the hospital, and through the Safe Haven Law, it was planned for her to be surrendered for adoption and placed through a private agency. This plan changed drastically when it was discovered that the child was born with a birth defect known as anencephaly, meaning she was missing parts of her brain and skull. Children with this defect typically live hours or days.

The hospital was intent on a prompt discharge of this infant, and the abuse registry was contacted based on the lack of a willing private adoption agency. Tireless efforts and collaboration occurred by Child Protective Investigations, Child Welfare Legal Services, and the lead agency, Heartland for Children, to prevent the child from entering foster care.

One Hope United was brought into this collaborative effort soon after, with state-level individuals also working to find this child a happy ending.

OHU Adoption Supervisor Barbara Hester completed an expedited home study to help give the baby girl a family and a name, although it was fully expected that the child would pass away before completing the legal process of adoption.

Ironically, the child was not deemed eligible for Children’s Medical Services, but was able to be placed in a home with licensed medical foster parents who had previously fostered a child who also had anencephaly. Her foster parents named the baby girl Maiya.

Barbara continued to reach out to the family following completion of the home study, and kept others working on the case informed of the status. Everyone working on the case was touched by the baby’s story, and one of the caring professionals cried after witnessing the miracle of finding her a home.

A garden sanctuary is being planned at OHU in Sebring as a daily reminder of this miracle. Special thanks to everyone involved who worked tirelessly to give little Maiya the fundamentals of an identity, a mother and a father.