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CALL HER MARY TERESA

Nurses name abandoned baby; offers to adopt pour in

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

THE newborn baby girl who was abandoned outside the front gate of the St Mary's Children's Home in Tacarigua on the night before Christmas Eve has been named Mary Teresa by the nurses caring for her.

Offers have also been made to adopt her.

The name Mary Teresa is a combination of the name of two of the strongest women in the Christian faith.

Mary is the mother of Jesus and Teresa refers to Catholic nun and humanitarian Mother Teresa, whose real name was Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu.

Around 10 p.m. on Sunday, security officers of the St Mary's Children's Home discovered the newborn baby girl abandoned outside the orphanage's front gate.

Her umbilical cord was still attached.

The baby, who was wrapped in an old jersey, was believed to be two hours old at the time of the discovery.

She was taken to the Wendy Fitzwilliam Paediatric Hospital located at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope to undergo medical tests.

Mary Teresa has been there since Sunday night and spent her first Christmas Day with staff.

"She is very comfortable, she is in the best of health," Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday.

Chief executive officer (CEO) of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), Collin Bissessar, confirmed Mary Teresa's current condition.

"The baby is resting comfortably and responding favourably. She had a few ant bites on her face, but that has cleared up nicely now," Bissessar said.

"The nurses have given her a name—Mary Teresa," he said.

Mary Teresa is no longer in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), but is now one of the patients on the general wards of the paediatric hospital, Bissessar said.

According to Senior Superintendent David Abraham of the Police Service's Northern Division, the search to find Mary Teresa's mother has proven unsuccessful so far.

Mary Teresa will stay on the ward for now, Bissessar said.

"She will be kept here on the ward for now. There have been instances over the years where children were abandoned and spent years at the hospital," Bissessar said.

While Mary Teresa's beginning may be "tragic", her countrymen are determined that she knows what is love.

Several citizens, including local celebrities touched by Mary Teresa's tale, have come forward to help her.

Comedienne Rachel Price was among several citizens who attempted to spend time with Mary Teresa on Christmas Day.

The Express highlighted Mary Teresa's ordeal on Christmas Day.

Price, along with soca artistes Destra Garcia, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez and her husband, Ian "Bunji Garlin" Alvarez, purchased blankets, clothes, bottles and disposable diapers for Mary Teresa.

"This is a tragic beginning to a beautiful story, for this baby is going to have the best chance at life possible. For now her physical needs are being adequately met...though her emotional needs are sorely lacking, a baby... a newborn needs its MOTHER. A baby really needs nothing but love..," a post from Price's Facebook page stated.

Because of the outpouring of love for Mary Teresa, Bissessar called on potential donors to contact the hospital's Administration Office.

Apart from donating items to Mary Teresa, others have also signalled their intention to adopt her.

The Express yesterday received an e-mail from a woman who resides in Texas in the United States who volunteered to adopt Mary Teresa.

—with reporting by

Anna Ramdass

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