Hundreds of couples plea for chance to adopt Down Syndrome child

Allahpundit mentioned this story in his post last night, but it’s worth a post of its own.  In a world where the dominant culture divides children into the wanted and undesired for the convenience of others, it’s worth noting when a news story demonstrates the power of hope, love, and life:


A Virginia church says it has received hundreds of calls from people around the world offering to adopt an unborn child with Down syndrome who otherwise would have been aborted.

After the unborn child came to the attention of Rev. Thomas Vander Woude of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Gainesville, Va., an urgent plea was posted Monday on the church’s Facebook page. …

An adoption agency has narrowed down the hundreds of families to three, Drennan said, and is working with the birth parents to determine the best home for the child.

“Our culture says some babies aren’t wanted and that is not true. This proves there are hundreds of families,” Drennan said. “It was so fast and from all over. It’s a beautiful use of social media that something like this could spread all over the US.”

The mother had less than a week before she would no longer have been able to have an abortion, but allowed the church time to find an adoptive couple if it could.  Fr. Vander Woude prayed, and then shared the story on social media:

Fr. Vander Woude told me he did something he’d never thought of before. He responded by getting a promise from the couple that if he could find a family that would adopt their child they would allow the child to live. But he had a very small window to act. The mother was quickly approaching the last days she could legally procure an abortion. He was told plainly that if he couldn’t find adoptive parents, they would abort. He didn’t know what to do next. So he did all he could do. He prayed. And then he had an email sent out to a small homeschooling group and he posted his plea on Facebook on Sunday night, saying that a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome needs parents.

He did this without knowing what the response might be. He did this without knowing there would even be a response. “I figured I would just put it out there and see,” he told me. “I was clueless as to what would happen next.”

The following morning Fr. Vander Woude said morning Mass and then he walked into the rectory. When he walked in, the three ladies who work in the office were all answering phones.

Martha Drennan, Director of Adult Faith Formation and Liturgy at Holy Trinity hadn’t even known about the posting. “I came into the office Monday morning and the phones were ringing off the hook,” she told me. “Hundreds of people were calling in.”

And as the morning went on, the call load became so heavy that Martha had to bring in some help. A young seminarian spending the summer in the parish was pulled in to the office to help man the phones. “I don’t think anyone could have expected that the response would be so quick and so much,” she said, still sounding bewildered.

But what didn’t surprise her was that there are people out there who respect life, who are willing to open their hearts and their lives to children, no matter the diagnosis.


That’s a deep contrast over the hopelessness that often follows the diagnosis, as the founder of an international support group for Down Syndrome parents tells the Washington Times, but there are plenty of couples willing to adopt special-needs children:

The president and founder of the International Down Syndrome Coalition, Diane Grover, stressed the importance of informing couples who are considering abortion for babies with Down syndrome that adoption is a viable option, pointing to the fast and overwhelming response her organization received about this one unborn child as an amazing example.

“When [couples are] in that position, a lot of people wonder if their child [with Down syndrome] would actually get adopted,” Ms. Grover said. “There’s a lot of people waiting, and we are happy to always help.”

Love is stronger than fear.  If you get a chance, say a prayer for everyone involved in this remarkable sequence of events, especially for the young couple who gave life a chance and for the couple that will welcome the new life into their home.

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