Foster mom adopts 2 babies born addicted to heroin

Janet Siemer always planned on having children — but at the age of 40, she started to feel her dream slipping away.

The nurse from Cincinnati, Ohio, said “various life situations” prevented her from having a family. But she wouldn’t let that stop her from helping other families, which is why, four years ago, she decided to become a foster mom.

“In the back of my head I always thought I was going to be a mom,” Siemer told CBS News. “But I never became one, and I thought, ‘Gee, why not foster?'”

As a nurse in Ohio, one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis, Siemer had frequently seen babies born dependent on drugs. So when she got the call two years ago to care for an opioid addicted baby, she was already prepared.

“I already had those seeds planted,” Siemer said.


Janet Siemer started fostering Landon at 7 weeks old.

Landon was taken away from his birth parents after he was born because of drug-related problems. He spent seven weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), withdrawing from heroin, before Siemer could take him home.

“He had inconsolable crying fits, was sensitive to light and sound, vomiting, diarrhea — all of those,” Siemer said. “He would sweat profusely. People are used to bundling up babies, but when they’re constantly hot you don’t want to do that.”

Twenty-four hours a day, Siemer made herself available to Landon. She had to hold him constantly, shielding him from bright lights and noises.

“He had tremors and had crying fits on a daily basis until he was almost 6 months old,” Siemer said. “It was all day, every day.”

Siemer had fostered six kids before she was asked to care for Landon, and each time she was able to watch them reconnect with their families. That was the goal.

“You always want to reunite the kids with their families,” Siemer said. “You got to put in your mindset these kids aren’t going to be with you forever.”

But with Landon, that wasn’t the case.


Janet Siemer holds her daughter, Mikayla.

When Landon was 3 months old, Siemer had thoughts of adoption — and it was then that she got a phone call.

It was from an adoption agency, asking if she would be able to take in another opioid- addicted baby.

“Give me another month or two and then we’ll see,” Siemer told the agency.

Two days later, she got another call: “Janet, they still don’t have a home for this baby.”

“That was my sign,” Siemer said.

She agreed to take in 10-day-old Mikayla, who suffered from similar symptoms as Landon when he was her age. It was difficult to care for two infants, but Siemer says her background as a nurse helped her keep calm.

“There are hard days, but there are also many wonderful days,” Siemer said. “I tried to focus on the positive.”

On September 11, Siemer’s dream came true when she adopted the two kids.


Mikayla, 2, and Landon Siemer, 2, were officially adopted on Sept. 11.

“Another great adoption case in Probate Court,” said Hamilton County Probate Court Judge Ralph Winkler as he made the adoption official.

“When fostering you have to remember in your head that you’re going to love these children, but they’ll eventually have to leave. You have to move on, have to pick yourself back up,” Siemer said. “Now that these kids are mine I’m like, ‘Oh, I can just relax.'”

Both Mikayla and Landon are now happy and healthy, and Siemer says she’s finally the mom she always wanted to be.

“I can’t wait to watch them grow up and be normal children,” Siemer said. “And to see what their future brings for them, seeing them become parents — all the normal things in life.”