SEATTLE — A second chance for drug-addicted babies and their mothers.
Before he could even make decisions, baby Daniel was already paying for mistakes. They just weren't his own.
"I'm a drug addict," Edna Pinon-Garcia says, reaching for a bottle, "and so is our baby."
She had certainly never planned this. Edna grew up in a small Washington town, did well in school, had a job, had a car. And then she got what some called a "bad boyfriend." But she would call Anthony her love.
They found out Edna was pregnant after she followed Anthony down the rabbit hole of addiction. Her baby was conceived on drugs. Then he was born with a dependency.
"Withdrawals are serious, nothing to play around with," she says while cooing at her boy. She knows because she's been through them herself. She's been hooked for years, but this new mother promises it's over. She can beat this.
And Barbara Drennen believes her.
For more than 30 years, the grandmother has guided newborn after newborn through the punishing process: the sweating, trembling, prolonged screaming, vomiting.
It's her life's work. She started Pediatric Interim Care Center (PICC) in Kent. It sounds like a hospital, but it looks like a grandma's home. In the middle of pastel cribs, stuffed animals and slowly turning mobiles, nurses and caregivers guide babies safely through their withdrawals.
"I love children," Barbara says, picking up one of the 17 babies that keep PICC's beds full for up to two months each. "I want to fight for their safety. I want them to have a safe night. I want them to have a safe place to go."
And she's given that to more than 3,000 children. The majority have been adopted by other family members or other families. For some, their moms have shed their drug abuse and embraced their motherhood.
"If it wasn't for PICC, I don't know what would happen," Edna says as she gives Daniel a bottle. She's found a spot in a treatment program, and will take Daniel home after he spends 60 days at PICC.
She promises she is owning her mistakes - and her second chance. "He's my motivation. Definitely. I want to be clean and sober and healthy for my baby boy."
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