Pediatric surgeon adopts little girl after saving her life

HARTFORD, Conn. – She always told coworkers at the hospital that it just wasn't the right time to think about motherhood, but everything changed for a Connecticut pediatric surgeon when she met a little girl who needed a lot of help.

Images of her three children adorn Dr. Christine Finck’s office at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where she is now surgeon-in-chief.  But it’s her oldest, Isabelle, who she met in 2006 at the beginning of her career.

“It was actually when I was first an attending and I worked in Philadelphia," Dr. Finck told WTIC. "One of the first nights that I happened to be on call, I did get the call in the middle of the night that there was a little baby that was born that had some birth defects. One of the birth defects happened to be that her intestines were outside of her body, and she was pretty sick.”

“Luckily, she turned the corner around September/October, and then, by December, she was ready to go home, and that was the time when her mother said she couldn’t take care of her," Dr. Finck said. "So, it was (at) about a year of age, we took her home with us.”

Dr. Finck said for her and her husband, adoption was an easy choice. At that point they were ready for children, and knew Isabelle was the one.

“I had grown very close to her. I was at her bedside a lot, and I think watching her frail but tough spirit made me just feel a special connection with her. The irony is the NICU nurses always said I was taking her home, that was the funny part,” said Dr. Finck.

Thirteen years later, Dr. Finck realizes how her path to motherhood has also shaped her career.

“It absolutely makes me more empathetic to what other parents are facing," she said. "It’s funny, going through surgical training and then pediatric surgery, I always said I didn’t have children ... mainly because it just wasn’t the right time or whatever, but I’m happy I waited because I think that some of the emotional connections that you have could really have derailed me a bit."

"You realize that you’re taking care of not only the kids, but their parents, and there’s a lot that goes into it," Dr. Finck said. "And once you’re a mom, you see the whole thing."

Hallmark is honoring Dr. Fink in May, with select stores collecting donations for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in her name.

“I hope it raises awareness of adoption and how positive that can be, not only for a family, but for kids," said Dr. Finck. "It has been a wonderful experience for me."