Emily Chrislip, a 25-year old US citizen is still taking care of a baby she carried for a couple in China as a surrogate mother a year ago.
Two months before Chrislip gave birth to the child, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. Travel restrictions made it impossible for the Chinese couple to travel to the US for birth or for Chrislip to hand over the child.
In September 2020, Chrislip was interviewed People magazine about her decision to be a surrogate and her experience thus far.
After giving birth to her own son, Camden, she knew she wanted to give the same gift of life to someone else. She was then chosen to be a surrogate for the Chinese couple, but things did not go according to plan.
“I think when President Trump decided to shut down the borders is when reality hit me and I realised they probably weren’t going to make it for the delivery,” Chrislip to People magazine.
At first, the couple asked Emily to look after the baby for four weeks. The decision was hard for both her and her husband, but they agreed.
It’s almost a year later and Emily and her husband are still taking care of the surrogate baby. “We definitely love her and will always care for her but we understand she is not ours,” she says.
Surrogacy to adoption?
Chrislip has been sharing the journey online and people are not holding back their concerns. One person asked: “It’s a bit cruel for the child though, isn’t it?”
At some point the baby will be reunited with her biological parents in China. After a year, she would have learned to recognise Emily as her mother but will adjust to her biological parents with time.
According to Pact Adopt, “bonding is a one-way process that begins in the birth mother during pregnancy and continues through the first few days of life. Adoptive parents sometimes struggle with bonding and might experience post-adoption depression.”
Children also struggle and may display the following reactions to the change:
- Difficulty sucking
- Bowel or bladder disturbances
The child may not be genetically related to Emily and Brandon, but they have created a bond with her that will require some bravery and time for all parties involved.
Emily’s son has also created an attachment to who he started seeing as his little sister. He will also have some adjusting to do when things open up again.
Two homes of love
The more positive side of social media commends Emily for not taking the baby to a nanny agency, which was an option at the time of birth. The baby will grow up knowing she is loved on two different continents.
It is unclear when the baby will going to China to her biological parents.