Sarah Howell, 31, was overjoyed when she adopted a baby girl but was then heartbroken when she was told she’d have to give her back – because her natural parents had changed their mind
A woman was left devastated after adopting a baby girl and taking her home – only to be told she had to give the child back because the birth parents had changed their mind.
Sarah Howell, 31, was told she had less than a one per cent change of conceiving naturally so decided with her husband, Chris, 32, that adoption was the best way forward.
They were delighted to be matched with a newborn, then a second shock was in store as Sarah fell pregnant herself – defying the doctor’s odds.
But just five days after picking up their adopted child, Sarah and Chris were told that the biological parents had changed their mind and they’d have to give her back.
Sarah and Chris picked up their adopted daughter while Sarah was eight weeks pregnant on March 7 2018, and they fell in love instantly.
Sarah, from Richmond, Virginia, USA, said: “When I walked into the hospital room her birth mum was holding her and lovingly placed her into my arms, she said ‘meet your mum, baby girl’.
“We loved each other well and really cared for one another.”
But, after five days of family bliss, they received a devastating phone call.
The birth parents of their new daughter had changed their minds and wanted her back, which they can legally do up to ten days from the birth.
Sarah was distraught and was even worried that her deep pain would trigger a miscarriage.
She said: “I was feeding her when the call came through.
“I fell to the floor in despair. I kept saying over and over to my husband ‘you’re joking, this is a joke right?'”
Registered nurse Sarah had no choice but to hand her back – and said the heartache was so deep she feared it would induce a miscarriage.
She continued: “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.
“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.”
After giving up her adopted child, Sarah gave birth to her son – Noah – and now she has also adopted Levi, who is one, and a second boy who is just two months old.
But things weren’t always so rosy, as after only 11 months of marriage, Sarah was shocked to be told that the horrendous period pains she’d suffered her whole life were due to endometriosis.
If she wanted to have children she should start trying “sooner rather than later”
Sarah said: “It was devastating and sent me into a situational depression. 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 young couple tried to get pregnant for three years, undergoing multiple surgeries and hundreds of injections, pills, and negative pregnancy tests.
In April 2017, they travelled to a reproductive immunologist in Chicago for a whole day of tests, but were again told that the likelihood of them conceiving naturally was less than 1 per cent, and that door was finally closed.
Sarah said: “Hearing our chances of conceiving were so slim allowed us to move on and begin the grieving process of possibly never experiencing pregnancy.”
She and construction project manager Chris decided then and there that they were ready to adopt a child.