For five months, no one visited this premature baby. So her nurse committed the ultimate act of love.

Baby Giselle was born at just 29 months and weighed only one pound 14 ounces. She was born to a drug-addicted mother and stayed in the NICU for a few months before being transferred to Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston for acute rehab.

After Giselle was transferred, her parents stopped coming to see her. For five months, the only caregivers Giselle knew were the nurses at  Franciscan Children’s Hospital.

via Franciscan Children's / YouTube


It appeared as though Gisele would be moved into foster care after her treatment, but her nurses wanted to give her a shot at going home with a forever family. So they approached 40-year-old senior nursing director Liz Smith with a plan.

“A few of the nurses at Franciscan Children’s Hospital approached me and asked, ‘Have you met Giselle?’ and I said, ‘No. Why?’ and they said, ‘She needs a medical foster home and you two are the perfect pair,’” she told CBS Boston.

Smith had been unable to have a child and her insurance wouldn’t cover in vitro fertilization so she thought there was little chance she'd be a mother.

“Literally, Gisele crossed my path in a stroller and we locked eyes and that was it,” Smith told CBS Boston. So Smith began visiting Gisele every day after work and a connection grew between the two.

Franciscan Children's / YouTube

Smith had been reluctant to consider adoption, but after meeting Gisele her mind quickly changed.

“I remember certain nights, one in particular, when she was hooked up to the feed and I was walking by the mirror and the thought went into my head of losing her,” Smith wrote on the hospital’s website. “It made me sick to my stomach. You can’t just love a certain percentage. You have to give it your all.”

In October 2018, the adoption was finalized and Smith, who is now 45, and Giseele, who’s happy and healthy at 2, are one happy family.

“We talk about the power of love, but to witness how it can transform a life and to witness how it has transformed her life and mine is unbelievable,” Smith told CBS Boston

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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