Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unintentional insults

It's taken me a while to write this post, but I"m coming out of my deep dark hole and finally really processing how I am feeling and what I can do about it. So please, bare with me.

It's been three weeks since the day Baby S had surgery, and I'm still processing exactly what happened that day and how I feel about it. There were a few moments that still threaten to make me break down, no matter how hard I try to shove them into the back corner of my head and not let them bother me.

The first was the way everyone looked at me. The doctors know her adoptive parents well. They have seen them every week, or every other week, for the last 5 months, and their relationship is solid and unchanging. I'm the stranger. I don't like feeling like the outcast in an already tense and uncomfortable situation, like my beautiful baby having to have open heart surgery. I hate the way they look at me; I can just see the questions on their face "who is this girl and what is she doing here?"

But mostly, there's the things that people say. The little things, things that wouldn't bother any other parent, but that bother me because I"m not the same. I'm not the mom who didn't give up her baby because of a medical defect. I'm the mom who gave her baby to someone else to raise so that she could move past this pregnancy like I was supposed to from the beginning.

When I was sitting in the waiting room, while R and T were in the room with Baby S right after surgery, there were two other women there. Now, it was a small room, so there was no way to not hear what they were saying. I came to understand that each of them had a baby that was in the hospital, and had been for a while. One was a little baby girl, maybe about 3-4 weeks old, the other an older infant. The two women had obviously seen each other in the unit before, because they talked easily, they knew who each other were. This I expected; families with children that are having long-term stays in ICU usually bond with each other. What I didn't expect was to hear part of a conversation that would crush my heart and bring back all the guilt and indecision of the last few days before Baby S's adoption went through.

"Our doctors strongly encouraged us to terminate" out of the mouth of one mother.
"So did ours" from the other.
"How could I give up on my baby?"
"I don't understand how anybody could say they would do anything other than have and take care of their child".

And there I am, the mother who 'gave up' my baby. The one who fought past the talk of termination just to give her to another family to raise.. because she was too complicated and too difficult to do it myself.

I know, I know, how were they to know? They didn't know Who I am, why I was sitting there waiting for someone to tell me I could go see my Baby S. But there they were.. and how those words really really hurt. They're right. How could I? How could I give up on her and give her away so easily?

That conversation still haunts me. I see those women in my dreams, I hear their voices in my head all the time. And no matter how many times I justify to others, and to myself, that I did the right thing.. this thought of 'how could I?' still hangs over my head.

I know logically I did what was right.. and I know that nobody in the world would dare think that I gave up on Baby S after all all the fighting I did for her, but the battle in my head is bigger and stronger than I really know how to handle. I feel myself slipping down that slippery slope, and I am fighting so hard to stay afloat. I just hope I find a foothold soon.


  1. I can't imagine how hard this is for everybody involved :( I think we all do what we can, and sometimes it takes strength to realize when we are at our limits. You knew that you would not be able to care for baby S the way she needed to be and take care of your own family at the same time. In addition, like you said, you were supposed to move on from that pregnancy since the beginning. You gave her a chance at life, cared for her like your own, and made sure she was placed with a loving family that would care for her as their own.

  2. As a fellow heart mom, I don't see giving your child up for adoption as the same thing as giving up on your child. Putting aside the indisputable fact that your plan and stated intention from the beginning was to give this child to parents to raise, what you did was heroic.

    I don't think when the women in that room said "give up on my baby" they were talking about adoption. They were talking about abortion. You didn't give up on your baby, you gave her the best chance she could have with knowledgeable responsible parents.

    Heterotaxy is a hard diagnosis. I understand the panic the couple who contracted with you felt. I admire your strength and determination in the face of the overwhelming emotions all of you were facing.

    No one had an easy road in this. But you came up with the best possible outcome for this little girl.

    She'll make a difference in the world. That is a legacy everyone in this story will be able to share.

  3. You should pay for all medical costs

    1. You should refrain from commenting if you have nothing nice to say.

    2. I live in, we had to pay for this woman's decisions to have a child that she did not even want. Crazy world we live in.

    3. Dear Ms. Rizzo,

      Actually Michigan tax payers are paying for a baby that a Connecticut couple did not want. When a decision is made to create life it should be made to respect it as well, with all the joy that comes from this decision along with all of the challenges. Ms. Kelley wanted life for this child and stood alone in a world that many times encourages death when it proves to be more convenient. Baby S. presents more challenges than other children, but this does not make her any less precious or any less worthy of public funds, if, in fact, this is how her treatment continues to be financed.

      You are right about one thing. This is a crazy world we live in where life and death are decisions that we try to control using convenience as our main criterion.


    4. Amen! Well said, Jillian Bernas!!! This baby did not ask to be created...she did not ask to be frozen, as an embryo, then thawed out and implanted in a woman's body. She most likely won't ever know the egg donor (her biological mother) and she hopefully will never know that the original 2 people on this earth, who made the decision to have her implanted (the Connecticut couple), wished her dead before she was even born. They just wanted her be disposed you would an unwanted/unloved dog...because she had issues. All of us are born with issues. I find their actions despicable. Should I have aborted my son because of his asthma issues or his knee issues? Both issues have cost money. I have a disease that has also cost money. Should I have been aborted? The woman who fought for this baby's right to be born has my utmost respect, as does the woman who is now raising Baby S.

    5. Good stuff! Agree that you did the right thing, the inconvenient, painful, tearful, expensive thing. You were given the opportunity to end a child's life and you opted to do the moral thing. A hero, no. A moral human, yes. Good stuff.

  4. Bless you for being Baby S's guardian angel when her own birth "parents" chose to cast her aside. God lead you in the direction He intended for you, for Baby S. and for her adoptive parents. DO NOT take to heart the ugly things people are saying. They know nothing about the situation or you, and have no place to judge. You absolutely did the right thing and I admire you so much for your tenacity and courage. The world needs many many more people like you!! Thank you for being such an inspiration and for being Baby S's saving grace!

  5. I just read an article about the case on CCN. I want to commend you for what you did. While surrogacy really confuses the issue of our thoughts on motherhood, you really displayed a true mother's love for that child. It reminds me of the story of the two mothers in the bible fighting over the one child. The story goes that two mothers had given birth around the same died. She switched babies in order to have a living baby. The dispute was brought to the king and he said he'd solve it by cutting the baby in half. The true mother was the one willing willing to sacrifice her own desires for the life of that child. You have done that. You have let Baby S have a chance. You have fought for Baby S to have the best chance possible.

    Babies aren't pets: something we purchase to make us happy that have a bit of responsibility (unlike computers). They are a level above that. What you have done is courageous, and I commend you for it.

  6. Good for you for not giving up on Baby S. Those moms didn't mean to hurt you - they can't know what you are going through and yes, they did mean abortion when they said, "GIve up on our babies." You protected that baby when no-one else would and found the right home for her. That makes you the best kind of mom there is.

  7. Do not worry about what others may say. You did the right thing for you, your girls, baby S, and her new parents. They have another little girl to love and you are still there loving her. Just the fact that she lived through the pregnancy tells us that this was in God's plans. this little baby may not grow up to be a congress woman, but she has already impacted so many lives with her story. So thank God every day for the decision you have made!

  8. I just read the CNN article tooo... Praise God for you and for Him empowering you to fight for this baby's right to life. Praise God for protecting this little child while in your womb and now. God plans each life with a specific purpose and who are we to play God and terminate their precious lives before they are even given a chance? Its heartbreaking to say the very, very least.

    Praise God times a million for you and your heart for this child.

  9. I found your blog from the CNN website and just wanted to say you are amazing! :) I'm so amazed at the strength you possess. I am sure some days you struggle with your decision to put Baby S up for adoption, but you made the decision because that's what you felt was best for her. I applaud you for standing up for your conviction, and while some days might be hard for you, God is walking with you holding you up, just like he did through your pregnancy. That little girl is loved because of you. God gave you the love to share with her and she now knows love because you gave her a chance, and shared her with another family who wanted to share their love, and as an added bonus, you still get to show her love! God allowed you to make the decisions you did so she could have a chance at life & to be loved like God loves each one of us. So when you struggle, just remember that God has given you the strength you needed so far and won't leave you behind now. I'm sorry for all the negative comments you've received but just know that there are people out there praying for you and thanking God that you had the strength to stand up for what you felt was right - even though it went against everything everybody else wanted. May God bless you and your girls and give you the peace you need. :)

  10. Like other commenters here, I saw your story on CNN. I think you did the right thing, Crystal. You weren't "giving up" the baby; you were giving the baby a chance at life. Sure this little girl will have difficulties, but does that mean she doesn't deserve to live? I don't think so. While you were no doubt in a very difficult and confusing situation, morally, emotionally, and legally, Baby S. has you to thank for her chance to live her life. You spoke up and acted in defense of somebody that could not defend themselves. You went out of your way to find this baby loving parents who could provide the special care she needs. You cared for her and loved her in the best way you possibly could.

    I commend you for what you did. It took courage and strength. I only hope my words and the kind words of others here will help you to stay strong. Thank you!!

  11. i just read your story on and it moved me to tears. i would like to send you some financial support if you are still in need of it. you are so brave and strong, and you did an incredible thing to protect your unborn child's life. please email me at to let me know how i can support you.

  12. Crystal, My wife and I adopted a special needs child in 1993. She was born with Spina Bifida and her mom was unable to care for her. We have always thanked the Lord that her mother chose life, so that our little Britny, who is now 21, could be ours. I applaud your decision to choose life at great personal sacrifice to yourself. I was so moved by the CNN story, and am so thankful that you stood up for the defenseless baby that you carried, and was so wise to find an adoptive couple who would care for your child when you could not. I also applaud the adoptive family who was willing to take this precious child into their home. God bless you!

  13. You are a truly wonderful person for giving that feisty little lady a chance at life. I just saw the CNN story and she is a beauty. It is so sad that in this society we are sung to sleep by philosophies that say to save the trees, but kill the children. Your choice may have caused you pain, but I hope you reaalize how very worth it your decision was. There is a new and wonderful daughter of the King, and someday her story will save lives. God Bless You and your family.

  14. You saved the life of a special needs baby. You and Baby S would have had to endure a partial birth abortion. She would have felt excruciating pain. But because of what you did, she knows pain as well as love.

    Side note, I was born with special needs. Some doctors tell parents to abort their babies if they have Hydrocephalus, what I have. I thank God my parents weren't given the option of aborting me. You knew she would have health problems, but you also knew she was a fighter. She's a beautiful baby and someday she'll know just how much you loved her. :)

  15. Crystal, unlike me you made just one of the greatest decisions in your life. In 2001 I got my girlfriend at the time pregnant. I was excited and she was not. She said it wasn't the time for her to have a baby, that we weren't financially able to have a child. I didn't do the typical boyfriend thing and run. I thought I was doing the right thing by standing by her side as much as I was against abortion. Crystal, that was the absolute worst day of my life!!! Nothing will ever top killing an innocent human being with no voice in the choice of life and death. I very soon found out that she had already aborted one child and now mine. For some reason I stayed with her probably for the wrong reasons and she got pregnant again very quickly. This time she had already been told it was not good for her to have three abortions. Her own father who didn't know of the other two abortions told her there were other options. We ended up having my daughter who she named Eden which I'm sure was by Gods doing and not hers in picking the name. The day she was born was the best day God has ever given me. I don't think I cried that much when I was getting spankings as a kid. LOL Now I know I am the proud father of two children. One here and one in heaven. God has forgiven me and I am a strong advocate in teaching men not to take that same path and if they are doing things to make sure unwanted children are not part of the process. My daughter is ten now. She is bright, beautiful and God has blessed us both. When she gets older she will know she has a brother or sister in heaven waiting for her. You did the right thing Crystal and I am with CJ in that, if you need any financial support or support period, please let me know. There are many people out there that support you and love you when they don't even know you. That's the love of God. In closing, the couple that didn't want the child just missed out on the many blessings God had intended for them but, thankfully God chose another couple to take your child and they will reap His blessings for that. God Bless You!

  16. Crystal, I was so blessed to read your story and watch it on the news today. While I can understand how listening to a conversation like that can bring back feelings of guilt, you can't deny that their conversation reveals something amazing. While some fight for these babies to be killed because they are such a huge burden on their families, because their families will have incredibly difficult lives with the challenges they face, etc etc etc... in that conversation you heard from the families themselves... Once those babies are born, the parents do NOT regret having them, and cannot imagine their lives without them.

    We live in such a sad society where people do everything they can to take the easy way out of every situation. You did an incredibly hard thing by fighting those parents and leaving the state so that Baby S could live. You also made an incredibly difficult decision in finding a suitable home for Baby S. The lessons and character you have learned from this and the rewards from doing the right thing and saving a life far outweigh anything an abortion could have accomplished.

    As a society we avoid challenges and hardships, but it really is in these situations that you grow as a human being and you realize how much you're capable of and what these babies can accomplish. You or the adoptive parents would never know how much joy comes from even the smallest smile out of one of these precious babies.

    God bless you. I'm praying for you as I know that releasing your story this week will add to your challenges, but it's a great story and I'm so glad you shared it. Human beings need to re-learn how to be human again, how to fight for what's right, and we need to learn to sacrifice. Without courageous stories like these, we would forget what we are capable of in light of the hardest of circumstances.

  17. You did the right thing, no one can tell you that you didn't. It wasn't their path to walk.

  18. Although it may sound cruel, I think you are quite selfish.

    You had no problem with signing over a baby for $22K. A surrogate is hired to carry a baby, and follow the contract. Yet, when your employer told you they thought it was more humane to abort the fetus (whether or not you or I agree is not the point here), you broke your contract.

    Then, realizing how taxing raising a special needs child can be, you gave up the responsibility of taking care of said child.

    I think you are selfish, and the parents that hired you are selfish. None of you should be allowed to have anymore children.

    1. Selfish is having an opinion like this and not having the decency to keep it to yourself.

  19. Not much I can add to what has already been said, but one thing might be useful to you. The plan, IN THE BEGINNING, was for you to give the child back to the biological parents (well, only one was actually the biological parent, as you found out). But for a brief period, if I understood the CNN article correctly, when they were pushing for abortion, you were considering keeping her yourself, "somehow", right? Like in "no matter how hard it is for me to care for this child at least I won't just let it be killed" or whatever thought process.

    If that is the case, you might just need to go through a grieving period for that thought/possibility/belief, that the child would be yours. That might have been a painful, buried idea in your head that the conversation you overheard brought to the surface.

    Once you got to Michigan, in theory, you did have that legal option.

    Now, try to ask yourself, what was the most loving decision you could make at that point? What is the best possible ending here, not for you, but for the most vulnerable person in this situation, Baby S.?

    My opinion--not that it matters because I'm just a random person on the Internet--is that you made the most loving decision. OK, it's possible that you made it "by accident"--meaning that you were so overwhelmed by what you would be taking on that you considered giving her to the adoptive parents as an "escape" from that overwhelmingly difficult life. Maybe you feel some guilt from that.

    But you have to keep in mind that God works with our weaknesses as well as our strengths. If the absolute best outcome for Baby S. was to be with her current adoptive parents, and God could see that you were in no position to realize that on your own (and I defy anyone reading this to say that they would have been able to see that, if they were in your incredibly difficult situation at that time), it's possible that he simply let you make the decision as an "escape" (or, partially for that reason) at the time--knowing, as he is all-knowing, that you weren't in a position right then to be shown that it would actually have been selfish to keep Baby S, and that you should really give her up _simply and fully for love of Baby S._.

    That's a really, really hard conclusion to come to. "I love this child more than anything, therefore I am going to give it away." It doesn't sound, to a mortal mind, like it even makes sense at all. In reality, though, God's reality, that is very likely what the absolute, most selfless, loving outcome for Baby S. was.

    Do we mortals ever do the absolute, most selfless, loving thing in any decision we make? Not very often, I don't think. How about when we are under a huge amount of stress? Even less so.

    No one can blame you if you had partial motives of escape in giving the child to the adoptive parent. Any one of us in your situation likely would have had the same issues with trying to sort out our motivations. It is VERY unusual to have the full perspective available to us in any decision we make in mortality, at the actual time of the decision.

    What you can do is this:

    1) Accept that you are going to have to go through the grieving process of losing the opportunity to be the caregiving parent of Baby S.

    2) Accept the fact that you might have been motivated partially by the thought of escape when you gave Baby S. to her current caregiving parents.

    3) Love yourself anyway.

    (More to come, but I have exceeded the comment length!)

  20. (continuing my comment from above at 11:32 am--here's a couple thousand more characters it wouldn't let me post)

    For a lifeline/foothold/handhold, try to hold on to the fact that the end result worked out, most likely, the absolute best that it could for Baby S. In a situation like this, the baby is the one we need to focus on meeting the needs of, even if it's painful for us. Many, many, many times in life the most loving decision is also the most personally painful one (see the Atonement for the ultimate example of this).

    Recognize the fact that even if you were partly motivated by escape, there is no doubt that you were also partly motivated by love. As has been pointed out, if you hadn't loved that baby, you wouldn't have been making that decision in the first place--the baby wouldn't have been given a chance to live.

    What you may be figuring out is this:

    "When I made the decision to give Baby S. to her adoptive parents, I did so as a mortal human being with imperfect motivations."

    That is ok. It's how we humans do everything.

    Even in the decision not to abort--you had fear of what it would do to you if you lost another child in February, right? Even that awesome, wonderful, heroic decision could be partly selfishly motivated!



    You are human, that's all you are discovering. It can be painful to realize what that means, but you can work through that pain. And you can grow. And that's what we're here for.

    And as an instrument in the hands of God, you were part of making that possible for Baby S., and upgrading the environment in which she will be doing it.

    When you think about it--that's a very good description of what parents do. You're always going to be a parent to her, in the truest possible sense. And that's something to celebrate. Celebrations can be tinged with sadness--that's ok, too.

    Your other kids need you. You've got a lot left to do. So hang in there, and love all of your kids, including Baby S. You gave her life, and you gave her caregiving parents. Who among mortals has ever done more for a child?

    1. No, when you publish a public blog, you are opening yourself up to varying opinions. If the author doesn't want opinions, she could simply make the blog private, stop doing interviews with CNN, etc.

    2. while you do have a point, it takes an extraordinary person to share their story and bring up attention to issues like this. I for one, found this blog through CNN and i am really glad she did it because the more we all know, the better.

    3. Sure, when someone posts about their pain and leaves the comments unmoderated, you CAN attack them. There is a difference between CAN and SHOULD, which is what I was trying to point out to you. I stand by my original assessment.

      If she made the blog private it would reduce the ability of other people to come to her aid.

      Let me help you understand your argument. What you're saying is equivalent to claiming that, if I have an open house, and you come in and take a dump on my carpet, that's really what I should expect because I didn't limit the clientele.

  21. Dear Crystal,
    I totally agree with Joanne. Situations such as the one you have endured are like a fire that severely tests and purifies the intents and motives of the heart. Your honesty about those temptations encourages those of us who have endured similar testing; and it provokes others.
    Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. There will be those who spew venom, and others who will seek to comfort you.
    I came to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of my decision to face the truth about seven abortions. I was a nurse, and had to "check my brains at the door" of the abortion clinic in order to justify taking those lives. I had been trained in OBGYN; I knew it was a life. Finally I realized that my inner conflict had manifested in ways that I had never connected to those abortions. In the process of looking for answers, I was guided to forgiveness and comfort in Christ.
    But Crystal, the opposition to truth and to life is powerful, and it influences the thinking. Those of us who chose life will necessarily face an onslaught of personal attack from prople who don't know any better. They are blind.
    As to the conversation in the waiting room, I would encourage you to look at it a little differently. YOU WERE in the place of each of those mothers who stood strong against the "counsel" of the "experts" and the pressures of society. You fought for that child's life. And in the process of fighting that battle, you realized the need to enlist the help of a couple who are in a position to fight alongside you. Many mamas who have shared the life they bore with others via adoption experience moments of doubt and guilt... what is important is that you remember your reason and motive for making that decision every single time you are tempted with thoughts or words to the contrary. I have no doubt that if those women knew who was sitting with them, and what you had endured to give this baby life, they would have fully comprehended the depth of your subsequent sacrifice and embraced you with tears.
    At least... I do.

  22. Thank you, Crystal, for not playing God. Thank you. May God bless you. May we all live by faith and not by sight. May He also protect you from the criticisms of those who think they know everything, those that can only live by sight.


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