‘They Saved Me’: Nursing Home Worker Adopted Abandoned Child, Received Surprise Years Later

Woman adopts abandoned child
Savanah Patt

An Oklahoma nursing facility administrator was “shocked” to discover a scared, dirty, and starving little girl hiding behind a recliner in an elderly resident’s room one day ten years ago, local news station KFOR reported.

Nine-year-old Renlee had been dropped off there by a neighbor who found her and her older brother living alone in a dangerously filthy trailer.

The employee, Savanah, assessed the situation and knew what she had to do.

“She looked at me and she wouldn’t talk at all. And the resident, I was like, ‘Um, who is this?’ And she said, ‘Oh, that’s my granddaughter,’” Savanah told the outlet. “She smelled terrible, she was very dirty. She didn’t have shoes.”

Renlee had been hiding in her grandmother’s room all week after being abandoned in the dirty hoarder trailer plagued with “a ton of cats and dogs,” holes in the floor, dirt, and feces. 

Her drug-addicted parents would force her to dumpster-dive and panhandle in the streets for survival and had left her in the trailer for weeks.

“They would take the food stamps and trade them for drugs,” Savanah said. “They hoisted her into dumpsters and they would go dumpster diving.”

Eventually, Renlee couldn’t even go to school because she caught a case of lice so severe that she was told it had to be taken care of for her to return. Having addicted parents, the lice went unchecked and little Renlee never returned to class that year. 

That was ten years ago.

Savanah recalled how she immediately opened up her arms and home to the child in need. 

“I fell in love with her,” the administrator said. She was thrilled at the chance to adopt Renlee.

Now, at 19 years old, Renlee is grateful for the second chance at life she was given by her adoptive mother. 

“I don’t know where I’d be without my mom, I don’t,” she told the outlet with tears in her eyes. “I was born with meth, and heroin, and pretty much every drug you can think of in my system as a baby.”

“It’s amazing!” she added with a smile, “to just feel loved and safe.”

However, Renlee wasn’t the only surprise Savanah was blessed with.

A couple of years after finding Renlee, Savanah received a phone call asking if she wanted to take in the girl’s older sister, whom Renlee hardly even knew. 

Cheyanne, 13, had been tossed around between different homes for her entire life, and no one seemed to want her. She had been left at a Circle K gas station in Yukon, Oklahoma, by the woman she was staying with.

“Cheyanne didn’t know I was coming, and I pull up, she was sitting outside and she looks at me. I roll down the window and she said, ‘What are you doing here?’ I said, ‘You want to live with me?’ She said, ‘You want me?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, girl.’”

Savanah then became a mother of two, reuniting the sisters under one roof.

“People are like, ‘Oh, you saved them.’ No, no friends. They saved me, because having them made me want to be better,” the proud mom said.

Cheyanne and Renlee broke generational curses, becoming the first in their family to graduate high school. Renlee is now working on a nursing degree, and hopes to use it to help people just like her mother does.

“Her finding me in a room, and now I’m going to be kind of working with people like that,” Renlee said.

She also aims to pass the gift of adoption forward and take in a child in need in the future.

“Whether they’re clean, dirty, whatever. They deserve love too. I mean, they deserve to be happy and have a home and be safe and not have to worry about where they’re going to get their next meal,” she said.

Savanah added, “The attachment and bond that you get that you’re choosing to love, and they’re choosing to love is so beautiful.”

Renlee’s older brother was also taken in by another family, and she said they hope to reunite one day.


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