A woman was left heartbroken when she had to return her adopted daughter after her birth parents changed their minds.
Sarah Howell approached an adoption agency with her husband Chris after being given less than a 1% chance of conceiving naturally.
The couple were over the moon when they were matched with a newborn just an hour after finding out Sarah had miraculously become pregnant.
However, just five days after picking the baby up from the hospital and taking her home, the child’s birth parents said they had changed their mind.
Registered nurse Sarah had to give the tot back and says the pain was so severe she feared it would induce a miscarriage.
Sarah, who lives in Virginia, US, said: “Saying goodbye to her hurt more than words can adequately describe.
“It felt like an actual death to us because we knew we would likely never see her again.
“She made us parents. She helped heal a part of our hearts that infertility broke.
“She made me a mum even if it was only for a few days.”
Sarah gave birth to son Noah Howell months later, and the couple have since adopted Levi, one, and fostered another boy, two months old.
Sarah says she has no bad feelings towards the parents who took back their daughter though and thanks them for making her a mum for a few short days.
Before she became pregnant with Noah, Sarah was horrified when doctors told her endometriosis would make it very difficult for her to conceive.
She was told that if she wanted to have children she should start trying “sooner rather than later”.
“It was devastating and sent me into a situational depression,” Sarah recalled.
“We knew we wanted a family.
“My husband was more positive and was able to often view things from the bright side, but for me it was a major grief process.
“Marriage counselling during this time was crucial and I don’t think our marriage would have withstood that low place in our lives without help.”
The couple tried to get pregnant for three years and Sarah underwent multiple surgeries and hundreds of injections, pills, and negative pregnancy tests.
That’s when Sarah and Chris decided decided they were ready to adopt a child.
However, in January 2018, Sarah felt a bit “off” and took a pregnancy test.
After seeing it was positive, she said she “cried so hard I could hardly breathe”, adding: “It was the shock of my life”.
Just an hour later, a social worker from the adoption agency called to say they had been matched, and could meet their baby girl in just three weeks time.
The couple picked up their adopted daughter while Sarah was eight weeks pregnant, and fell in love straight away.
But, after five days of family bliss, they received the devastating phone call.
Sarah said: “I fell to the floor in despair. I kept saying over and over to my husband, ‘You’re joking, this is a joke right?’
“I always say the pain we felt that day was worse than our three years of infertility combined.
“We do not hold anything against her birth parents.
“If we could, we would tell them how much we love them, and how lucky baby girl is to have them as parents.”
In October that year, Sarah went into labour and gave birth to Noah.
When Noah turned one, the family received another call from a social worker, saying they had again been matched to a baby boy.
They went up to meet the one-day-old in the hospital, and named him Levi.
However, they admitted they feared he could be taken away just as their daughter had been before.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to prevent this so it felt vulnerable and scary to love a child again knowing they might not stay,” says Sarah.
The family decided to become foster parents to help more children, and took in a baby boy in June this year.
“As a mum of three boys under three, I feel like I am forever cleaning up messes, playing referee, and changing diapers,” she says.
“I will miss this one day so I remind myself to enjoy the now. It is what we prayed for for so long after all.
“Three under three is certainly an adventure and at times utter chaos.
“But the giggles, laughter, and joy far outweigh anything else.”
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