Priest saves baby with a Facebook cry for help

Fr Thomas found out that a couple were planning to abort their baby – because they had learnt that the baby had Down’s Syndrome.  An idea struck Fr Thomas – as he told MatthewArchbold of The Catholic Register – he asked the couple to give him a promise not to abort their disabled baby if he could find another man and woman who were willing to adopt their child.   
But time was pressing on Fr Thomas. The pregnant mother was nearing the legal limit for having an abortion. And they stressed to Fr Thomas that if he did not find adoptive parents, that they would get rid. 

Fr Thomas was at a loss. What would he do?  Minutes were turning into hours and time was running out. He posted a cry for help on Facebook, inviting people who wanted to adopt a child with Down’s Syndrome to come forward. He told Matthew Archbold, “I was clueless as to what would happen next.”

The next day, the ladies who worked in the office of Fr Thomas’ church, Holy Trinity in Gainesville (Virginia) were inundated with hundreds of phone calls. The ladies soon could not cope with the volume of calls – and they called in a seminarian to field the calls, which came from people willing to adopt the baby, who were undaunted by the diagnosis of mental handicap.  E-mails poured into Fr Thomas’s inbox. 

It was estimated that the calls and e-mails combined show that over one thousand couples were willing to adopt the baby. The seminarian was gob-smacked by the number of people who wanted to drop everything and take a baby who was not their biological flesh and blood.
And now, the-couple-who-planned-to-abort is in talks with three families.

MatthewArchbold asked Fr Vander Woude how he felt, and got this answer, ‘honestly, I kick myself for not having done something like this sooner’.


  1. A most inspiring story. Thank you.

  2. Sorry for the paleo-commenting, but I'd like to add that Fr. Thomas Vander Woude is named for his father, Thomas S. Vander Woude. Mr. Vander Woude departed this life on the Nativity of Our Lady in 2008. He jumped into the broken septic tank on his farm to save the life of the youngest son, Josie, who has Down Syndrome. I will make my Total Consecration this year on September 8, as I believe he is a saint; this is the first year one can petition the bishop of Arlington, VA to open his cause.
    I know Fr. VW's brother, sister-in-law, and their 12 children. An awesome, holy family all around.


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