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17-Year-Old Mom Abandons Her Newborn Baby at Hospital  When a Priest Finds Out, He Takes Him in as His Own
Priest Adopts Baby With Down Syndrome After His Mother Abandons Him (1)
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17-Year-Old Mom Abandons Her Newborn Baby at Hospital When a Priest Finds Out, He Takes Him in as His Own

Omar Snchez Portillo felt a higher power calling that day.

Nobody likes to feel abandoned or left behind. Unfortunately for some children though, they begin their lives independently after their parents realize they cannot be parents. That was the case for a newborn baby boy with Down Syndrome in Peru when his mother left him at a shelter.

Thankfully, a priest named Omar Sánchez Portillo was there that fateful day.

On His Own at Two Months

priest holding a baby

Ismael had just been born when his 17-year-old mother left him at the hospital. She suffered from mental illness and alcoholism and wasn’t able to properly care for the baby. So she left him behind.

Workers at the Cusco hospital knew of the Association of the Beatitudes, a shelter for children, adults, and older people. So they called the association when Ismael was two months old and asked if they would be willing to help.

Father Portillo, the association’s director, was used to caring for orphans and homeless people. The day he learned about Ismael, however, also happened to be his 51st birthday. He took it as a sign.

“[Ismael] arrived on a very special day, on my birthday (May 5), as a special gift from God in my priestly life, as a spiritual father, as a human being. It is a very particular gift from God,” the Father told a local news outlet.

He felt that Ismael was meant to be in his life.

Adopting the Youngster

Father Portillo didn’t hesitate and immediately knew he wanted to take Ismael in. He explained to press how the goal of his organization is to provide support to anyone who needs it, no matter what their economic situation, gender, or disease.  

“Today it is believed that those who do not meet certain parameters of beauty, intelligence or abilities are of no use,” he said. “The old man is discarded, the child with Down syndrome, too.”

The man flew from Lima to Cusco and picked up the baby. Furthermore, he adopted him as his own.

“Children with Down syndrome, I always say, have an additional chromosome, which is that of love,” Father Portillo also told ACI Presna.

“What these people really generate is solidarity, opening the heart and detachment in other people; it is a wealth that the world cannot get rid of. It helps us get out of ourselves.”

Opening Up Our Hearts

This sweet story went viral because it exemplifies that by opening up our hearts and leading with love, we can all make a big difference in the world.

Father Portillo is used to helping all kinds of people in his line of work and through his organization. But something that day told him he was meant to be a father to little Ismael, and he listened to that voice.

As a result, a baby boy who would have grown up with few options now has a full and rich life to look forward to. It’s an act of love that has inspired thousands of people worldwide.

Not all of us can adopt or foster children in our own lives, but we too can lead with love and compassion, especially for those who don’t always have the same opportunities we do in life.

Consider supporting local organizations, volunteering your time, or donating resources to help keep these kinds of communities alive. Doing so may make your heart feel a little bit larger, too.

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