Goodness in humanity

A few days ago, I stumbled upon several articles about a mother, who was thinking of aborting her unborn Down syndrome baby, but decided to talk to an adoption agency prior to doing that. The adoption agency contacted a reverend, who subsequently posted a Facebook status about an unborn Down syndrome baby needing to be adopted. The response was remarkable and heartwarming. People from all over the world responded with open arms.

What I learned from it: the beauty within people. Though there are tons of reasons to cast down on humanity [war, killing, corruption, deceit..and the list goes on], faith in humanity never dies as there is always a goodness that shines through. In this case, that goodness is found in the willingness of many families from all around the world, from many walks of life, to open their doors to a child, knowing that child will face some obstacles in life [but then again, everyone faces obstacles].

Unborn Baby with Downs Syndrome Finds Adoptive Family Hours Before Mother Planned to Abort

If you knew you before your child was born that it would have special needs, what would you do? Would you keep it? Give it up for adoption? Abort? The choice is never easy, and each option carries its own set of issues to consider. Parenting a child with special needs isn’t easy, but neither is aborting or giving up a baby that you were thrilled to learn you were having. Still, a decision must be made.

In Gainesville, Virginia, an unnamed woman was faced with this challenging decision. She made the choice to talk to an adoption agency about her unborn child, a child that she knew would be born with Down Syndrome. The agency was then faced with a challenge of their own. Find a family within 24 hours or the woman would abort her baby.

“Sunday night, I had a chat with a couple involved in the adoption process,” Father Thomas Vander Woulde told WUSA 9 News. “They told the adoption agency, if you can provide us with parents, an adoption, [we won’t] abort the baby.”

The adoption agency had contacted Father Vander Woude for help, and though he’d never met the couple, and didn’t really know the full details of their circumstance, he felt he needed to something, so he enlisted the help of parishioner Geraldine Erikson.

“The next morning, I put it on Facebook at 7am,” Geraldine told WUSA 9 News.

She wrote: “There is a couple in another state who have contacted an adoption agency looking for a family to adopt their Downs Syndrome unborn baby. If a couple has not been found by today, they plan to abort the baby. If you are interested in adopting this baby, please contact Fr. VW IMMEDIATELY. We are asking all to pray for this baby.”

The church’s prayers were answered, and in a big way.

Just two hours after Geraldine made the post, Holy Trinity opened their doors.

“When they turned on the phones, it started and didn’t stop all day,” Geraldine said.

The calls came from all over the world, Seminarian David Dufresne told WUSA9.

“England, Puerto Rico, Netherlands. It’s amazing. It wouldn’t stop,” David said about more than a thousand calls and emails that poured into the office.  “Ones that stick in my mind, ‘It’s the answer to our prayers. We really want to adopt this baby.’”

Some of the calls had even come from families that already have a child with Downs Syndrome – families that know exactly what this child will need and how much work (and joy) that comes with caring for a child with special needs.

Downs Syndrome can be tested for during the first trimester, and some who receive a positive test choose to abort.

“9 out of 10 never see the light of day,” Father Vander Woude said. “It’s a great testament to the goodness of humanity. This unborn baby, even though it will have some struggles, has a purpose.”

He hopes that the phone calls received by their church sends the message that there are people out there that would take a child with special needs. If adoption is something that a woman carrying a child with special needs is considering, he feels she shouldn’t be worried that the child’s needs will prevent it from finding a family.

The adoption agency has already narrowed down the massive number of calls down to just three families.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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