After a baby boy was abandoned at a hospital for having Down syndrome, a nurse stepped up to give him the love he deserved.

What seemed to be a regular day at work ended up changing the life of Marcela Casal Sánchez, a 48-year-old nurse who was working at the Sanatorio Mater Dei in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

How One Family Let Down Their Baby

nurse holding a newborn baby boy
Marcela Casal Sánchez

A baby boy was born and immediately abandoned by his family after they realized he had Down syndrome. Not detected during the woman’s pregnancy, the woman and her family were shocked when the baby was born and they learned his diagnosis.  

Unable to accept this reality, the birth mother asked for the baby’s crib to be removed from her room, she returned the baby’s birth certificate and she refused to take the baby home with her.

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Nuns from the hospital tried to get the parents to change their mind and take their baby home, but they refused and left without the child.

The birth family initially planned to name the boy Franco but they said the name Franco was meant for a healthy child. So, the nurses, who showered him with love and took turns cradling him to make sure he didn’t feel unwanted, named the baby Santiago.

How One Wonderful Family Came to Be

pre-teen boy standing next to a crouching woman
Facebook / Sanatorio Mater Dei

Sánchez had never seen parents refuse to take their baby home. It broke her heart, and she knew she had to do something. She grew so attached to the boy and wanted to give him a mother’s love.

“Santiago got into my heart right away with everything that was happening. I needed to have him in my arms all the time. That he felt accompanied and loved,” she said.

Sánchez was hopeful Santiago’s parents would come back for him, but when that didn’t happen, she took matters into her own hands. Her and her partner were already considering adoption after struggling for a while with infertility.

Meanwhile, Santiago was assigned to a foster family while they worked on his case. When Sánchez found out, she was determined to adopt the boy.

RELATED: Doctors Wanted to Put Baby with Down Syndrome in an Institution – 15 Years Later, She Proves Them Wrong

It was a long and tedious process, but Sánchez kept fighting for the boy.

After months of paperwork, visits and evaluations, Sánchez and her partner were called to court where they found out they were chosen to be Santiago’s parents.

It was an emotional day and even the judge, and everyone else around, cried with Sánchez.

Just one year after Santiago moved in with her, Sánchez’s partner left her. The nurse became a proud single mother to Santiago, who is now a beautiful pre-teenager. His mom describes him as a very healthy and funny boy who grows and learns new things every day.

DNA doesn’t make a family – love does. And it seems this mother and son were always destined to find each other.