A Deeper Bond

Young boy

PICU nurse takes caring to new heights by adopting one of her patients

It’s no secret that most nurses enter the healthcare field because they want to care for people. For those who pursue careers in pediatrics, that focus is honed in on babies and children, who often have very special needs.

That’s certainly the case for Kristine Hafner, a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) nurse at Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas. During her five years at the facility, Hafner has earned a reputation for treating patients like family — and now one of her charges has become just that thanks to adoption.

Woman taking photo with adopted son

For Hafner, a longtime advocate of foster parenting, the PICU is a place where she can make a daily difference, specifically in the lives of children who have been neglected or abused. She admires their spirit, and rallies to their side to help in any way she can.

“I have always felt my calling for the pediatric population,” she says. “They know nothing but optimism and a fight and it’s such a gift to see and learn from them.” Her new son, 11-month-old Alex, first benefited from her care and affection while in the hospital for two months. He now joins big sister London at home. Hafner says her journey through both the foster placement and adoption system in the Las Vegas area has been a joy.

“Alex was my first foster placement but I knew I wanted to adopt since I was a teenager,” she says. “As an adult I have seen, through my friends, what a blessing adoption is, specifically through the foster system. Once I started the foster process I have met the most loving and selfless people that exist in Clark County, which only betters my life and those around me.”

Of her daughter, she adds that “parenting London is truly the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It’s not easy, of course, but the love and pride I get from seeing her and caring for her needs and wants every day is my life. So, taking on another kid just seemed like a logical step.”

As for Alex, he’s a sweet and happy child who “likes to create unconventional toys, stringing things together using a pen, car and train — something that seems unfinished and nonfunctional — and plays with them. It’s like a makeshift ‘Transformer.’ A lot of our indoor toys, such as train tracks, mazes and marble tunnels, enable him to create and build. He recently started a sports sampler class in a community center and he has found a deep love for basketball, even carrying a basketball with him on walks.”

Watch Hafner’s story on local news:
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