July 11, 2013 -- 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 would have otherwise 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.
"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," the post said.
The birth mother, who is nearly six months pregnant, lives in another state that prohibits abortions past 24 weeks, which made the need to find an adoptive home that much more urgent, Martha Drennan, a church office employee, told ABCNews.com. The mother's name and her home state were not revealed for privacy reasons, Drennan said.
Thankfully, she said, the replies were overwhelming
"I came in Monday morning and the phones were ringing off the hook. We got calls from Puerto Rico, Canada, the Netherlands. There were calls from all over the United States," Drennan said.
An adoption agency has narrowed down the hundreds of families to three, Drennan said, and are 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."
Diane Grover, president of the International Down Syndrome Coalition and the mother of an 8-year-old girl with Down Syndrome, said parents often aren't present with up-to-date information, making a Down Syndrome diagnosis feel overhelming.
"When a diagnosis happens prenately, the information many parents get is not up-to-date, not accurate. It can be overwhelming," she said.
Grover said being the parent of a Down Syndrome child is a "joyful" experience but also has its "ups and downs," as a parent would with any other child.
She said she was proud of the courage displayed by the couple who didn't just consider terminating the pregnancy.
"I'm proud of them for taking time to have someone tell them they have options and following through with their heart," she said.