WJTV News Channel 12 - Baby born addicted to drugs given second chance

Baby born addicted to drugs given second chance

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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) -

A staggering number of babies born in our region enter this world addicted to drugs. 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one baby is born every hour with a dependency on a drug taken by the child's mother. Often those children face tremendous medical problems. 

One child in Elizabethton named Hope, was born addicted to a mother who's brain damaged by drugs. If you look into baby Hope's big brown eyes, you would never suspect how far she's had to come to be in such warm company.

"I'm still trying to grasp how this baby could be looking at me and look so perfect and this happen," said Angie Odom, Founder of Abortion Alternatives and Women's Center in Elizabethton.

When Hope was brought to Odom at Abortion Alternatives in Elizabethton - she had one question. "Where is this birth mother?, said Odom" and I was told at this time that she had overdosed on drugs at 8 weeks of pregnancy."

Hope's mother was brain damaged from a drug overdose and had to be put on life support. Hope was born at 34 weeks - addicted to drugs. 

"They had to wean her from the prescription drugs. Like they have to do with babies that are detoxing," said Odom.

But she didn't hand Hope over to the Department of Children's Services.  "We just picked her up and started loving her and kind of going on the instincts of what she needed," said Odom. 

She adopted the 5-month-old as her own. 

"Every time I'm rocking her, I hear her little noises and her little cries I just realize I'm a part of a miracle," said Odom.

But Hope's story is her mother's story too. 

Odom learned the baby's brain damaged mother was languishing in a nursing home needing a higher level of care.

After a lot of calls and, eventually, help from Congressman Phil Roe, Hope's mother was transferred to a better place. 

"Now she is in a nursing home now locally where she can get the care she needs," said Congressman Roe.

Hope came from the hopelessness of addiction. 

"I never dreamed I would be holding her child and that she would be in a nursing home," said Odom, "…more than anything, understand that, she's wanted and that she's a miracle and has such a purpose in her life."

Odom also told News Channel 11 Baby Hope's detox is almost complete. She will undergo a little more physical therapy in the coming weeks.

Hope's adoptive family is actively involved in the care of her birth mother. Odom has taken the responsibility as a surrogate and she will pay for Hope's mother to stay in the nursing home. She will even bring Hope to the nursing home to see her. She didn't just adopt a baby – she adopted a family.

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