A young girl whose surrogate mother refused $10,000 from her biological parents to have her aborted has passed away at the age of 8.
Two weeks after celebrating her birthday, Seraphina Nayleigh Harrell passed away at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Her adoptive mother, Rena Harrel, wrote on Facebook: “Still can’t believe I have to talk about my baby in the past tense. Still trying to figure out how daily life is supposed to work without her in it.”
Seraphina’s adoptive father, Thomas Harrell, also said: “For the eight years she lived, she had a full life.
“She had a lot of joy in her life and gave a lot of other people joy in ways that sometimes weren’t expected.”
It was in 2011 when a couple hired Crystal Kelley to be the surrogate mother after they had difficulty conceiving children.
But when Kelley underwent a routine ultrasound in 2012, it was discovered that the baby suffered from severe heart defects, a cyst in her brain, a cleft lip and palate. She also had at least two spleens and many of her internal organs were in the wrong place.
Doctors said that Seraphina would need to undergo several heart surgeries and would only have a 25% chance to have a normal life.
The girl’s biological family wanted Kelley to abort her but the surrogate mother decided to keep the baby alive.
“Once I realized that I was going to be the only person really fighting for her, that Mama bear instinct kicked in, and there was no way I was giving up without a fight,” Kelley said at that time.
Seraphina was born on June 25, weighing 6lbs and 9ozs and was adopted by the Harrell family.
Rene Harrel wrote on Facebook: “COVID-19 has interrupted a lot over the past few months, and it wouldn’t be very honoring of Seraphina’s memory to put people at risk of contracting it,’ wrote Rene on Facebook.
“Because the Commonwealth considers this a large ‘unenclosed outdoor area’ with enough space to practice social distancing, there are no regulations limiting attendance or requiring mask usage, but we are requesting that everyone planning to come wear a mask and will provide them for anyone who doesn’t have one.”
Those who knew the young girl said her life was not defined by her medical conditions – it was love.
“There is just no getting around acknowledging the heartache of those who love her the most, who truly weren’t ready to see her go.’ read the obituary,” the obituary read.
“But truth is, sadness is not the defining sum of Seraphina’s story…love is. Seraphina’s larger than life personality only grew throughout her life, and you never had to guess what she was thinking or feeling.
“At least once a day, someone would snuggle up to her and repeat the Seraphina family motto: ‘For a girl who can’t talk, you sure are never quiet!”
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