March 30, 2023

The chance to live

God gives only good gifts.

Maria-Louisa Escarra

It was an ordinary day when the phone call came. “Mom,” my son said, “the blood test indicates a problem with the baby. She may have Down syndrome.”

“Oh, Carlos,* let’s pray.” Stunned, I hung up the phone not knowing what else I could do or say to my hurting child. Our family had faced many trials, but this one seemed different. My child and grandbaby were in heartbreaking trouble! 

The second phone call verified our greatest fear: their baby girl had Down syndrome. “Mom, we will send you an ultrasound picture. Molly is in her third month.” There was a pause before he added, “The doctors want us to consider an abortion.”

I didn’t realize until later the anguish Carlos and Molly felt. They didn’t go to work for a week after hearing the news. It was a struggle as they wrestled with the idea of aborting their baby. The picture of my unborn grandchild arrived in the mail a few days later. I held it to my heart and cried to God, “They can’t abort this child! Her little body and head are formed perfectly. Oh, Lord, I don’t care if she has Down syndrome; I love her already. I want her to have a chance to live.”


The worst day was the one the doctor asked Carlos and Molly to meet with a hospital committee about whether or not to have the abortion. They met for four hours and couldn’t come to a decision. The meeting ended with the hospital staff telling them they would call in a few hours for their decision. During those hours waiting to hear from the hospital, they decided to keep the baby. Carlos called and told me their decision, and we all cried for joy. Happiness and peace came with the decision to place this little life in God’s hands. 

After we finished the call, I picked up the picture of the unborn baby and again held it to my heart. All the concern of Down syndrome and the problems that may come were placed where they belong, into the hands of the One who made her.

Carlos and Molly began fixing up the nursery. Pretty wallpaper, cute animals on the curtains, and, of course, a rocking chair. When Stephanie was born, I heard the excitement in my son’s voice. I knew for him the baby was perfect. I couldn’t wait to hold her close to my heart for real.


I wish I could put into words how very special Stephanie is to all of us. She did all the things other babies do. She reached her milestones in her time. While there have been health concerns, her parents have met these challenges with little effort, because of their love for her. The love in turn she gives to her mother, father, big sister, and the rest of the family is beyond amazing. Best of all, when I’m there, all her attention goes to Grandma. The cuddling and kisses are so precious, and I know she knows I love her.

I must confess that in the past, I have shied away from a Down syndrome child. I didn’t understand that it’s a chromosomal disorder. Although different in their appearance, these children more than make up for it with their love. Their understanding may be limited, but they are able to grow up and contribute not only to their family, but to society. Each Down syndrome child is precious. It took Stephanie to teach me this. But there is a greater lesson.

The doctors looked at the test results and saw an imperfect child. Our concerns and fears early on made my children struggle with what the right decision should be. But our family learned we are all imperfect. When Stephanie came into our world, we didn’t see what made her different; we saw only that she belonged to us. God does the same. He looks beyond our limitations and simply loves us.Stephanie’s future is uncertain, but her parents and grandparents are committed to helping her in every way that we can. Her parents know that giving this child the right to life was the right decision. God’s commitment to us was seen on a cross. His love for us abounds. He, too, if we choose to live for Him, has given us the right to life—eternal life. One day Jesus will return to take us home, where all our imperfections, not just Stephanie’s, will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. We will live forever with Him. I can’t wait. What about you?

*All names have been changed.