Diana Amadeo was working as a night charge nurse of a hospital’s Special Care Nursery, and two decades ago, she met what she thought was just the most gorgeous baby.
“He had thick, wavy blond hair, and his big blue eyes followed my gaze,” she remembered. “He seemed more alert and observant than most newborns. His eyelashes were long and his eyes were expressive.”
Then she pulled the blanket back a bit, and let out a breath. The baby had a cleft lip and palate—he would need surgeries eventually. Amadeo smiled at the baby and gently stroked its cheek, before bidding him goodbye to get on with her shift.
She met the nurses from the day shift in the report room, then and one of the nurses updated everyone on the new babies. The gorgeous, blond boy was born to a 16-year-old mother who had been planning to give the baby to a 30-something professional couple. She had been prepared for this for months; the couple paid for all her medical expenses and attended doctors’ appointments, and the teenager detached her emotions from the process.
But now the couple did not want the baby, and they wanted their money back.
Throughout the tests, the baby had seem normal and healthy, and they were severely disappointed when they saw him.
“Do they realize it’s just superficial?” Amadeo couldn’t help but interjecting.
“Tell me about it—his brain, vital organs, body, and movements are normal. He’s got a dynamite personality—you can tell by those expressive eyes,” the nurse replied. The couple made it clear they wanted the perfect baby. “To them, that baby is defective merchandise.”
Amadeo groaned, disappointed, and asked the baby’s name.
The day nurse looked at her with sad eyes, Amadeo recounted in a story submitted to Chicken Soup for the Soul.
“He hasn’t got one. The teenager doesn’t want him, never bonded during pregnancy. Poor girl actively detached knowing he was going up for adoption,” the nurse said. Now her parents were frantically trying to come up with the money to give to the adoptive parents. “The baby had no one. To me, he looks like a Scotty.”
There had been three couples who had applied to adopt this girl’s baby and the other two were going to visit this baby the next day, but they had told doctors they weren’t really interested in a “special needs child.”
They weren’t interested in Scotty.
The next day, the second couple rejected him. The day after that, the third and last couple rejected him as well.
Amadeo and the day nurse looked after him over these 72 hours, feeding him through a G-tube (a thin mouth-to-stomach tube) because his cleft palate didn’t let him suck on even a specially designed nipple—though Scotty had quite the appetite and avidly tried. The day nurse also bought a front-pack carrier, so they could cuddle the baby.
“Though his time with us would be short, we wanted to convey to this tiny spirit that not everyone rejected him,” Amadeo wrote.
The birth mother had left Scotty as well, and the nurses were told he would be going to a foster home. A doctor told him surgery could be done on Scotty’s lip after he was about a month of age, and his palate could be worked on between 18 and 36 months of age—but who would he bill the work to?
Amadeo didn’t know.
It was nearing the end of these three days, and Scott would soon be a ward of the state. Just hours before then, a nurse came into the nursery—a nurse Amadeo didn’t recognize.
“No outside personnel are allowed in the nursery without permission or notice. Any nurse knows that. I was on heightened alert,” she remembered.
“Can I help you?” Amadeo asked out loud.
The woman replied: “I’m looking for—oh, there he is!”
Then she walked straight to Scotty’s crib, picked him up, and kissed him on the head. “Here’s my boy. I have been waiting so long for you.”
Amadeo, startled, said she wasn’t given any notice of her arrival and was going to be calling security.
“Please don’t,” the woman said with a crooked smile, and Amadeo recognized that this woman had surgery done for a cleft lip herself as well. “You see, I dreamed of a blond son with beautiful blue eyes and clefts.”
She had given birth to a daughter and son herself, and neither had a cleft lip. She had dreamt of Scotty.
“How did you know about Scotty?” Amadeo asked.
“The whole hospital knows about Scotty,” she replied. Years ago, she had dreamt of him, and then the night before she dreamt of Scotty again. She talked to her husband and they agreed to see the child, and once she held him in her arms, she knew.
“We’re going to adopt Scotty,” the woman told her. “And I think we’ll keep his name.”
Amadeo was silent, stunned. The woman asked if Scott could use a bottle, and she shook her head.
“That’s okay. My whole family knows how to tube feed,” she said, before addressing Scotty. “My mom, your grandma, did it to me for months. Just wait until she sees you!”
She gave him a kiss and set him back down to leave for her shift in the ICU, but not before promising to be back by the end of her shift with her husband and a lawyer.
“Molly and Paul will be thrilled to have a baby brother,” she said.