There are plenty of parents who will tell you that without a doubt, their children are the best thing that ever happened to them. As demanding as raising a child can be, the love and joy they can bring to a parents life is like nothing else.
Unfortunately, there are some parents out there who don’t deserve the children they’re given. For whatever reason, some parents respond to the unconditional love of their children with nothing but cruelty. When a pair of abused children came into her life, one woman decided to take action…
Jess was a 30-year-old nurse who worked in the intensive care unit at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. Working in a children’s hospital, she regularly came across adorable kids. She and her coworkers would often joke about wanting to take kids home with them.
While many of the kids were cute, they were all in need of medical attention, which meant Jess and her coworkers had to put their emotions aside and focus on the task of making children well. But when one child came into the hospital on a March day in 2017, it would be impossible for Jess not to get emotional…
When a 14-month-old baby named Delilah was admitted to Wolfson’s intensive care unit for severe injuries, Jess was one of the nurses who attended to her. “She had a skull fracture with a brain bleed from her head trauma. She had a broken femur, multiple fractures in all of her extremities.”
Rather than being from a car crash or some other accident, the baby’s injuries had been inflicted intentionally. Aside from being beaten, “She was very malnourished. She was 14 months and about 11 pounds, so she was just skin and bones,” Jess said…
Jess and her coworkers immediately went to work stabilizing Delilah’s wounds. As they worked, Jess’ heart melted instantly when the severely injured infant reached out and grabbed her hand. “My heart was broken,” Jess said. “She was just so lifeless, but she still held onto my finger.”
“I just said, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to take you home. I already love you,’ “ Jess recalled. A few hours after Delilah had been stabilized, Jess learned that she had a twin sister, Caroline, who had also been admitted to the hospital. Jess didn’t get a chance to meet Caroline but learned that she was also malnourished and had healed fractures throughout her body…
Mind Made Up
As she left work that night, Jess Hamm couldn’t get the twin sisters out of her mind. By the next morning, she had made a decision and called up the Florida Department of Children and Families. She was going to adopt those little girls.
Start the Process
“I gave [them] all my information and a few hours later [they] called me and that same day came to my home. That was Friday,” Jess said. When her coworkers learned what she was doing, they banded together to donate clothes, toys, and other necessities. “The following Monday, I was approved and I brought Caroline home. That was actually the day I got to meet [her],” Jess said.
Jess wanted to bring Delilah home as well but at that point, her health was much worse than her sister’s. She required a risky surgery to address the bleeding in her brain. “To be honest, I didn’t know what kind of state she was going to come out in,” Jess said.
Jess didn’t know if Delilah “was going to be developmentally delayed, if she was going to even survive the injury. So that first month was very stressful. [Delilah] wasn’t eating. She wasn’t really responsive.”…
Still, Delilah had some kind of inner light and seemed to have formed a bond with Jess. Despite her condition, “she would smile a little bit. She would hold her hand but she was so weak,” Jess said.
Thanks to the solid work of the staff at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Delilah’s own resilience, her surgery was a complete success. The sweet child made a full recovery and after a month, she was able to go home with Jess and join her sister Caroline…
Still, there was a long road ahead for the twins. Being subjected to such terrible abuse at a young age could have terrible effects on their development, especially for Delilah who had the more severe injuries. When Jess first adopted them, neither girl was able to even sit up on their own….
But after several months with Jess, both girls were making great strides. Delilah’s recovery was especially inspiring. “She’s walking now. She’s talking. She’s a great eater,” Jess said. “You wouldn’t even know that she has gone through the trauma that she’s been through. I might be biased but I think they are doing amazingly.”
In Time for the Holidays
Though the twins were already living with Jess, it would take several months of going through the adoption process before she could officially be called their mom. The process was finally done on Halloween, making them a family just a few of weeks before Thanksgiving.
Over the next few months, the twins also developed distinctive personalities. Caroline has a lot of empathy for others, loves to help out and is very protective of her sister. Delilah, on the other hand, is a classic charmer and loves to share kisses with everybody, though she’s also loves to absorb herself in an activity and entertaining herself for a long time…
One year after she adopted them, Jess had absolutely no regrets about adopting the twins. She celebrated her anniversary of becoming a mother by taking her pair of beautiful 2-year-olds on a trip to Disney World.
“I’ve always wanted a family,” Jess said. “I’ve always been open to adoption. I didn’t expect it to happen right now. It wasn’t part of my plan, but once I met them and I made the decision in my heart to open my home up and give them somewhere safe.”…
Consider the Option
Jess hopes that adopting the twins won’t just help them out. Delilah and Caroline weren’t the only children out there in need of a good home. “I hope when people hear my story it opens them up to the possibilities of adopting,” she said.
Even though she’s raising the twins as a single parent, Jess never feels like she’s alone with the support of the people at Wolfson Children’s Hosptial. “They really are like part of our family, the whole hospital. I can’t go to the hospital with them without going to visit all the different floors that love them,” Jess said. “I never really knew love until I became a mom.”