GAINESVILLE, Va. — All it took to prevent an unborn baby with Down syndrome from being aborted was a Facebook post from a Gainesville, Va., pastor.
Rev. Thomas Vander Woude, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, took the initiative to find a family for the unborn child in another state.
Geraldine Zahn Erikson posted a message to the church's Facebook page early last Monday morning, stating:
"Posted by request of Fr. Vander Woude: There is a couple in another state who have contacted an adoption agency looking for a family to adopt their Down 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 and the wisdom that this couple realize the importance of human life and do not abort this beautiful gift from God."
The birth mother is nearly six months pregnant and lives in a state that prohibits abortions past 24 weeks. The urgency was there, causing Vander Woude to act quickly.
Martha Drennan, director of adult faith formation at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, said the number of replies to their urgent plea was overwhelming.
"It was so fast and from all over," Drennan told ABC News. "It's a beautiful use of social media that something like this could spread all over the U.S."
Drennan explained that the church had not only received responses from interested people within the United States but others throughout Puerto Rico, Canada and the Netherlands.
Within three hours of posting to the Facebook account and 600 emails later, Erikson posted again, announcing that possible adoptions were in the process.
"Thank you for your generosity and loving concern for the unborn Down syndrome baby," the post said. "An adoption agency is presenting three families to the parents today. Please continue to pray for this child and the wisdom of the birth parents to continue with the pregnancy. Thank you Fr. Vander Woude."
Such a response provided Drennan the opportunity to respond to the opposite message often found in society that a handicap or disability is a legitimate reason for aborting a baby.
"The wonderful response absolutely shows that all babies are wanted — there are no unwanted babies," Drennan told The Christian Post. "To say that any baby is an unwanted baby is a lie. It's just a matter of matching the right parents up with a child."
The Holy Trinity Catholic Church has asked all who were interested in the unborn child to consider contacting one of the many agencies that specialize in such adoption. The International Down Syndrome Coalition was also listed as an organization that helps families after their child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.