When a Vernon woman was hired to be a surrogate in 2011, she never expected that the decision would lead to a more agonizing decision about the fate of a little girl, a battle in the courts and a move out of state so she had the power to make choices about the child's welfare.
Crystal Kelley said the couple she was carrying the child for asked her to get an abortion when tests showed severe problems, and even offered her $10,000 to terminate the pregnancy, but Kelley refused and gave birth to the little girl last summer.
Kelley met the couple from New York in mid-2011 at a playground near her Vernon home. They discussed plans about providing a good home for their children and Kelley said they immediately wanted Kelley to be their surrogate.
“They were very attentive. They wanted to be involved in the pregnancy. She said she really felt like she was living through me in this pregnancy and she wished she could experience it,” Kelly said.
Kelley, who has two daughters of her own and also had two miscarriages, said she wanted to go ahead with the pregnancy because she understood the heartbreak of not having a child when you’re expecting one.
"They were fantastic for a long time,” Kelley said. “They gave me the impression that they definitely cared about their children very much. They were very involved in their kids’ lives.”
Around five months into the pregnancy, doctors at Hartford Hospital determined the baby had several medical problems and the couple offered Kelley $10,000 to terminate the pregnancy.
“They didn't believe it was fair to bring a child into the world that would only know pain and suffering,” said Kelley. “If I don’t have support of these people. What am I going to do with a baby? I didn’t get into this to have a baby. I can't deny that I did say, if you give me $15,000, I'll think about doing it.”
She dismissed the thought when she got home from the hospital.
Then, several lawsuits were filed and Kelley moved to Michigan, a state that let her have full control over the child’s rights.
On June 25, 2012, Kelley gave birth to a girl who she referred to for this article as “Baby S" and found a couple from the area that has the financial means to take care of the baby
Doctors said that if the child makes it through the first five years of her life, she has a great chance of making it to adulthood.
“I had a very hard time giving her up for adoption. I really wanted to keep her,” Kelley said.
Kelley said she still sees Baby S, who’s now 9 months old, about once a month.