Nurse Adopting Girl She Cared for as Infant

ABC7 tells the touching story of a retired nurse who plans to adopt a child she cared for years ago while the girl was an infant.

The nurse, Mary Ann Wells, had been working with Loma Linda Children's Hospital when she first met the two-and-a-half week old Sophia, a girl born with a debilitating defect known as Gastroschisis. "Her intestines were born on the outside of her abdomen," she explained, with Sophia requiring surgery to continue living and spending the next eleven months in the hospital recovering.

Despite the seriousness of Sophia's condition, neither of her birth parents seemed to care. Her father was entirely absent, her mother spending little time with her over the course of her entire hospital stay. "When it was determined by the medical staff that there was excessive medical noncompliance, that's when CPS got involved in the case," Wells said.

It was around that time that Mary Ann and her husband Steve, both well into retirement age, began to consider adopting Sophia themselves. Mary Ann cites the amount of time she spent caring for Sophia during her hospital stay as what originally made her consider this action, upset by her birth parents' complete lack of care for their infant.

Over a period of three years and costing the couple more than $100,000 in legal costs, they had finally managed to convince the courts to allow them to adopt Sophia. As of November 4, Sophia was one of 52 children who had their adoptions finalized. Her last name has now officially become Wells just like her parents, and she has picked the middle name Genesis for herself.

"It's going to be like a new beginning," she explained. "It's going to remind me how my adoption is going to happen." Though the road ahead will certainly be challenging, the family couldn't be happier now that they're finally together.