So it’s Spring now where you are? If so, it’s a good time to graft.
Longer scions can be problematic, but people do it and get away with it. I usually keep mine to two or three buds in length- maybe four or five inches. Whatever the length of the scion it’s important to keep it from drying out, which can be done by wrapping with parafilm or by dipping in melted wax, for examples.
If the scion is actively growing (leafing out and blooming) then it is a problem. It’s very likely that the scion will use up all of its reserves before it can knit to the rootstock. But leave it alone for a month or so before testing it. It can be done, even if the odds drop as the scion breaks dormancy.
Removing the leaves from the scion was the right thing (the leaves transpire moisture and that adds to drying out), but there’s no need to remove them from the rootstock. People do routinely graft during bloom and even later. But unless your rootstock is quite small and fragile it should recover from the missing leaves, so you probably haven’t killed it off. And if you do very much of this you’ll get used to starting over!
If you can post a picture it would help. (As a new member you’ll only be able to post one picture per post.) Maybe somebody from your area will respond, and that would help.