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Oh no, this is shocking. I am so sorry for your and Emily's loss.

Do you have contact with your birthdaughter's family? Are you able to reach out to one another in this time of overwhelming grief?

Again I am so sorry to hear this news.

All are in my prayers.

Karen

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What a sad and tragic loss for so many. Heartfelt prayers with Emily and you

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Prayers for you, Emily, and the Mann family. :(

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Brian and I attended Shelley's funeral today. I am sad beyond belief for Evan, Emily and Jessica Mann.

Shelley, Evan, Brian and I met in July 1994 at our Abrazo orientation and have remained friends ever since that weekend. Shelley was the first person to call us when we came home with our family in October 1994. We have celebrated the births and adoptions of their two daughters. We were honored to be asked to write a reference letter for them when they were on their journey to adopting their second daughter, Jessica. They moved to NJ a few years ago (but about an hour or so away from us) and we did manage to have Cassie and Emily meet a few times. I have posted a few statuses on facebook without mentioning Shelley's name because I am so heartbroken about her passing.

For those who don't have facebook, this is my current status. "A beautiful life has come to an end, she died as she lived, everyone's friend. In our hearts a memory will always be kept, of one we loved and will never forget." Shelley was my dear friend and I will miss her tremendously. <3

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So sad! Praying for everyone that loved Shelley.

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Why didn't God allow her to finish her journey...don't ever tell me that life is fair....

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I am praying for you and the rest of Shelley's family and friends during this time. We grieved the loss of my twins' birthmom about a year and a half ago and I still don't understand why this happened. I agree that sometimes life just doesn't seem fair!

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I am so sorry to hear the news of Shelly - my prayers for all who grieve her loss and may they receive the love and strength they need to go on in her absence. Blessings be upon all of you.

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Why didn't God allow her to finish her journey...don't ever tell me that life is fair....

I am so sad to hear this news, and my heart aches for you and Emily. You are so right...life is not fair. There are so many, many things that we will never understand in this life. While we may not understand why, we can trust God and cry out to Him in our pain. I'm praying that God will give you and Shelley's family peace and comfort as you mourn the loss of a special woman.

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This wasn't part of the plan....Happily ever after was the plan....I know "HE" knows what he is doing, but sorry if I think "He" doesn't always do the right thing!

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condolence.jpg

I was so stunned to learn, just this evening, of Shelley's unexpected passing.

Most of our members may not realize that Shelley had also been a loyal Forum member for the past 4 years. Her screen name was ShopperGirl, and although she never once posted, I think there were times that it gave her a sense of comfort to be in quiet proximity here with her daughter's first mom. Shelley didn't always know how to express her feelings about (nor to) this birthmother. I think she struggled with feeling both responsible for and awkward about having benefitted from that young woman's greatest sorrow in life, which came with relinquishment. Many Forum members know Shelley's child's birthmother only as JustMe, but those of us who have known Karen for years know how deeply she feels this loss... and how her heart breaks for her birthdaughter and her family.

Shelley was a force of nature, in my memory. She was one of those funny, outspoken women who made a big impression. I know she learned much from both of the Karens that were most dear to her here at Abrazo; Karen T., whose loving sacrifice on her daughter's behalf enabled her to become a mother for the first time after years of longing, and Karen O. from NJ, whose journey to adoption began in Charlotte, NC at a regional orientation Friday night gathering, when adoption hopes and fears were spoken aloud for the very first time. (Photo here: Shelley was in the third row, second from the left, in the pink shirt).

I wish Shelley had shared some of her thoughts and experiences here on the Forum over the past few years, so those who loved her would have that lasting memento, and so her daughters might have had access to that, as well. In her early fifties at the time of her death, Shelley left us far too soon, and her passing stands as a poignant reminder to us all of the importance of saying the things we need to have said while we have the time to say them.

Lifting heartfelt prayers on behalf of the Mann family, and our Karens, and all who share their great loss.

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I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can't imagine how you all must feel. Know that you all will be in my thoughts and prayers. Sometimes what God does doesn't make sense to us but he knows the greater plan for all of our lives. Peace be with you all.

Much love,

Donna

Edited by dbernados

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Thank you Elizabeth, that was absolutely beautiful. I am trying to come to terms and make sense of this loss, and am absolutely flabbergasted at the amount of emotions I am feeling..My heart is just plain broken for Evan and Emily and Jessica! I keep just praying for peace and strength for the Mann family! This is one topic I have no-one I can speak to about this. I am just lost right now, and overwhelmed with worry for Emily!

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I am so sorry to hear this heartbreaking news. Praying for all who are grieving and searching for strength and peace during this very sorrowful time.

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Adding my prayers and praying that you will have complete understanding

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Thankfully, I did have the chance awhile ago, to thank Shelley(as weird as that sounds) for being such a great mother to Emily! I had the chance to come to terms with my placement decision, and to come to terms with the fact that I had indeed done the most selfless thing by allowing Shelly and Evan to be Emily's parents. She knew, and I knew it was the hardest and best decision I have ever made, and although Emily may never know it, it was the "right" decision to have made, despite the years of pain it caused! Shelley Loved Emily more than life itself, and had even made me aware of how grateful they were for Emily's adoption, and the ease at which it had happened..Their second adoption was much harder on them on so many levels, and it is nice to know that even through the rough spots in Shelley and my relationship, that she appreciated me too! Keep the prayers going please, these young ladies are at a very tough spot right now, and at an age where Mom is needed more than ever..the young teen years are rough enough without losing a parent! Sending nothing but love and peace of mind to Evan, Emily and Jessica...RIP Shelley Mann...our hearts will be forever heavy with the loss of your smile!

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Karen - you, Evan, Emily, and Jessica are most definitely in my continued prayers. Although God's plan most certainly doesn't make sense sometimes, I hope that all of Shelley's loved ones feel peace and reassurance that she'll be looking over her dear friends and family from above. (((Hugs))) to you as you grieve for this tremendous loss.

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Karen,

My thoughts and prayers are with you and the Mann family.

When our daughter was 1 1/2 years old we lost her birthfather. We wish we got to know him better but the things that we do know we charish. We do talk to our daughter that Daddy Edurado is in heaven with God and hopefully she understands.

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I thought this was beautiful....

I wish Heaven had a phone so I could hear your voice again. I thought of you today, but that is nothing new, I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too. I think of you in silence, I often speak your name. All I have are memories and a picture in a frame. Your memory is a keepsake, from which I'll never part. God has you in his arms, I have you in my heart.

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Beautiful

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I haven't posted on the Forum for almost two years, since I was having a really difficult time with our adoption journey. Based on my Forum postings, Shelley took it on herself to find our phone number and call me. She gave me an hour or so of her time, lifting my spirits and assuring me that all would work out if we stuck with it. She was right, of course. I just want to attest to her kindness, consideration, and wisdom. Best, Kay

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policebadge.jpg

We know that all life is mortal, but our hearts were saddened today to learn of another parent that once adopted here who is surely gone too soon...

Thirteen years ago, Abrazo was privileged to be a part of an unfolding love story, as a couple with a young daughter shared their tale at our "Parents on the Ground" orientation in November, 1996. Rodney, a handsome police officer, had been married previously, but his beloved wife was stricken with cancer when their little girl was just in grade school. Their daughter's schoolteacher had been instrumental in supporting the family throughout that ordeal, and when Rodney's wife passed away, leaving him to raise their young daughter alone, it was Anne Marie, the schoolteacher, to whom he turned for advice. They eventually fell in love, married, and decided to adopt a child, being unable to grow their family the biological way. Rodney & Anne Marie Holder were truly a blessing to Abrazo, to the birthmother who chose to share her newborn son with them, and to others within their community whom they also referred here for adoption assistance.

Yesterday, however, a tragic accident took the life of Officer Rodney Holder, who died in the line of duty. (Story here.)

Rodney Holder was, truly, a real-live action hero and a great man, and our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to Anne-Marie and the two fine children he leaves behind.

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