It Took Two Moms to Save Her Life

Born in rural Belize, little Emi soon developed unusual and persistent health troubles. Seeking help from American medical missionaries, Emi and her mom eventually came to Texas for medical care and the home of Katie and Jason, their host family.

Recognizing Emi, 2, would need continuous care she could not get in Belize, her birth mom asked her host family if they could love her daughter like their own. Katie and Jason didn’t hesitate.

Being Emi’s parents meant constant trips to specialists for severe allergies, rashes, skin and respiratory infections. After many years, the family received a frightening diagnosis: Emi had a rare and potentially fatal, genetic immune deficiency. To cure her, she needed a stem cell transplant as part of an NIH clinical trial. After an extensive search for a stem cell donor match turned up empty, Katie flew to Belize to ask Emi’s birth family for help. Her birth mom was excited by the chance to give her daughter the gift of life again – and she turned out to be the only and perfect donor match for Emi.

In summer 2019, 13-year-old Emi, her adoptive mom and her birth mom happily reunited at The Children’s Inn at NIH for the first time in many years. The gift of her birth mom’s stem cells gave Emi a new, healthy immune system and the chance to lead a healthful, long life.

Emi and Mom

Emi with her biological and adoptive moms.

It’s the unconditional love for their children that leads moms like Emi’s –and dads – from all over the world to The Children’s Inn so their children can participate in NIH clinical trials that are their best hope.

Thank you for your unconditional love for The Inn, our children and moms like Emi’s. Thank you for giving them “a place like home,” nourishing meals and entertaining activities to look forward to. Most of all, thank you for giving them hope this Mother’s Day