Beth and Madison: A HOPE Program Success Story
Beth and Madison are fraternal twin sisters who were referred individually to the HOPE program while still in the hospital following their birth. The girls were born very premature (26 weeks gestation), had been exposed prenatally to drugs, and both had significant medical complications. A report was made regarding Beth and Madison due to their birthparents' lack of involvement in the children’s care. Beth had severe gastro-esophageal reflux, vision problems, anemia, significant respiratory issues and serious developmental delays due to her prematurity. After her placement with Pati and David Swartzbaugh, and through lots of hard work and patience, Beth's condition improved dramatically. Pati, David, Department of Social Services and the Center for Family Services worked with the twins' birthparents in an effort to realize the goal of Beth's reunification with them. The girls' birthmother was unable to successfully complete the goals required of her by DSS, but their birth father worked diligently with the team. Pati and David opened their home and their lives to the birthfather, and nine months after Beth’s placement, she was happily reunited with her birthfather and paternal grandparents.
Madison was a much sicker little girl. Due to complications shortly after her birth, she needed both intestinal and liver transplants in order to survive. Madison had a feeding tube placed in her stomach, severe jaundice due to her liver condition, needed oxygen 24-hours a day due to a severe respiratory condition, and was very susceptible to sepsis (blood infections). She too was severely developmentally delayed.
After Beth's reunification with her father, Pati began visiting Madison daily at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Madison had never lived outside of the hospital, and staff weren't sure she'd be able to successfully until she had the necessary transplants. Pati, her birthfather, CFS and DSS lobbied the hospital staff to place Madison with the Swartzbaughs while awaiting the transplants. Madison thrived under the Swartzbaugh's love and care, and began to make developmental progress. Due to her susceptibility to infection, Madison couldn't leave the house frequently, so her father visited her regularly in the Swartzbaugh's home. He also went with her and Pati weekly on the four-hour round trip to see her liver specialist in Washington, DC.
Six months after her placement with the Swartzbaugh's, Madison had to be re-admitted to hospital due to a deterioration in her condition. In April 2007, Madison received a new liver (it was determined that an intestinal transplant was no longer needed), and in June 2007, Madison was reunified with Beth and her birthfather, who now has custody of both girls.
The twins are thriving, and Madison has made incredible progress since she received the new liver. The strong connection between the Swartzbaugh's and Beth and Madison’s family made a very complicated situation work. HOPE has a very high level of support from a case manager and a part-time nurse to better address client needs.
Hope needs your help in continuing the CFS mission of building and strengthening families. Please spread the word about the need for more foster families - so we can serve more children and families with these special needs. We are actively recruiting more dedicated families like David & Pati Swartzbaugh for this very important program.
If you know someone who has specialized training in the area of nursing or willing to be trained in working with the medically fragile population; feels comfortable attending multiple doctor/hospital appointments; enjoys acting as a role model for birthfamilies; and can provide a nurturing home, please refer them to Tia Dickson at 410-685-2363 ext. 106 (Baltimore City) or 410-538-3388 (Harford County).
Comment on this story
Here's what others had to say