Couple fought to adopt two-month-old baby born with neonatal abstinence syndrome
The parents shared their trials and tribulations of bringing the severely ill, less fortunate child under their care.
Texas couple Chas and Katie Shira knew that they wanted to adopt a child someday, and when they heard that a baby with neonatal abstinence syndrome needed a home, they decided to become his foster parents.
As reported by Love What Matters, Chas shared that shortly after he and his wife moved to O’Brien, they registered with the adoption agency Christian Homes.
The Shiras received a call from the agency on December 11, 2015, about a two-month-old baby named Jett. He was informed that little Jett had been flown from Abilene to Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Jett was no ordinary child. He was born with methamphetamines in his bloodstream and had other health complications apart from a broken femur.
Although Chas and Katie had wanted a slightly older child and were worried that they did not have prior parenting experience, they decided to adopt Jett as their foster child owing to his dire health condition.
Initially, the couple had difficulty gaining access to visit the child at the hospital. Since Jett was a victim of child abuse, he was listed under a different name.
The hospital staff, who had taken good care of Jett for a few weeks, asked the couple numerous questions related to their knowledge of feeding, changing and caring for an infant.
The lack of the couple’s experience was not very encouraging to the hospital nurses. Looking back, Chas felt grateful for the caring nature of the nurses and also learned that caring for a sick infant was not easy.
For instance, a full-body Pavlik harness was attached to Jett, which made changing his diaper appear as complicated as diffusing a bomb.
After a few difficult weeks, Jett was showing signs of recovery. The broken femur began to heal and his eyes began to look livelier.
The Shiras then began taking their foster child to his biological parents even after both of them were admitted to a rehabilitation center.
After a year of such visits and sporadic court hearings, Child Protection Services (CPS) informed them that the parents had completed their treatment at rehab and wanted the custody of their child back.
In order to get information on any pending charges against the biological parents, Chas struggled to get answers from CPS and law enforcement.
After an 18-month ordeal, CPS finally decided that Jett was safer with his foster parents. Since relatives from Jett’s biological family continued their attempts to regain custody, the Shiras hired their own lawyer.
The trial lasted 5 days, after which the jury ruled for the termination of the biological parents’ rights to the baby and gave Chas and Katie full custody.
In the 6 months that followed, the biological parents and relatives tried to challenge the jury’s decision multiple times.
However, after 821 days of being in foster care, Jett was registered as the legally adopted child of the Shiras.
Although the new family-of-three eventually moved to a different town, the parents decided to give Jett the middle name Brien, in honor of the town where he became a part of the family.
Although Chas admitted not knowing what the future holds, he stated that he and Katie felt grateful for being able to do something good, and hoped that their story would inspire others to adopt a child in need.