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Preserving the miracle of life in Hungary through adoption

by | Mar 18, 2024

By Patty Knap

Zsófi’s two mothers and father Tibor, at right baby Zsófi with Tibor in the background
Photo: Imre Téglásy

Lives are being saved and enriched by an adoption outreach in Hungary run by a global pro-life training and advocacy organization.

Because of poverty and other socioeconomic factors, lives are often at risk with unplanned pregnancies there, but Human Life International’s Adoptive Parent Internship program is making a difference one life at a time.

In one case there was a mother and father who lived with their three young children in a poor village in Hungary known for its high suicide rate. The couple didn’t plan to have any more children due to poverty. So, when Hanna discovered she was pregnant, she was afraid to share it with her mother who had already said the couple was irresponsible for having three children.

Hanna knew she couldn’t expect any support from her family. Imre Téglásy, Director of Human Life International (HLI) Hungary, reports that the organization’s Adoptive Parent Internship program and a life-minded RN provided the solution Hanna needed.

Abortion has been illegal after the first trimester in Hungary since 1992. Hanna really didn’t want to abort but of course the child in her womb continued to grow, along with the pressure surrounding the situation. She tried to hide her pregnancy from her mother while inquiring about adoption with health authorities, but she was told it was too early in her pregnancy at that point to consider adoption.

When Hanna was six months pregnant, a nurse who works with HLI Hungary heard of Hanna’s predicament. The RN, Erzsébet, contacted HLI Hungary’s adoption program. There was a couple affiliated with the program, Júlia and Tibor, who were unable to conceive and seeking to adopt a second child. They’d already adopted their first child through HLI.

The Human Life International Adoptive Parent Internship program came about through Téglásy’s pro-life convictions and efforts.

In the mid-1990’s there was a high rate of homicides committed against newborns (infanticide) in Hungary, with 25-30 known cases each year, Téglásy explained, and the actual numbers were assumed to be far higher. In these tragedies, he said the mothers had hidden their pregnancy and then either gave birth in abandoned places and left their babies there without care, or even killed them themselves.

In 1996, Téglásy created an umbrella organization with several pro-life organizations to give young moms in unplanned pregnancies an alternative. The new organization began a 24-hour crisis pregnancy phone line and offered applicants practical assistance, such as placement in a maternity home, food, baby items, clothing, appliances, and furniture. In addition, the mothers received counseling and guidance for their lives. Emphasizing the sanctity of the baby’s life for moms helped them to better able to see their pregnancy as a blessing.

Peter and Zsófi
Photo: Imre Téglásy

With this assistance many of these parents decided to keep their child while others placed their children with adoptive families. As a result, the rate of infanticides dropped.

While adoptions weren’t uncommon in Hungary, there was sometimes corruption or profit involved. It was discovered that people were buying newborns through traffickers. In 1997, Téglásy recalled, an American-Hungarian business enterprise sold children who were smuggled from Hungary to the USA and Canada.

“Adopters were asked for $15,000 dollars for babies of Gypsy origin, and $45,000-$87,000 babies with white skin,” he said. “This company made a financial profit equivalent to HUF 2 billion (Hungarian currency equating to well over $5 million) by selling these children.”

Since then, the Hungarian government has prevented foreign adoptions suspected of corruption, and children are only available for international adoption after all domestic possibilities are explored. Considering Téglásy’s life-affirming efforts and the corruption in adoptions, the small organization he established was happy to begin working with HLI, which began ministry in Hungary in 2012.

“We proudly affiliated with HLI, and we are working together for religious, charitable, and educational purposes to build the Culture of Life and a civilization of love by proclaiming the Gospel of Life and for the greater glory of God and for the defense of life, faith, and family,” Téglásy said.

HLI’s adoption program accepts no fees from adoptive parents, operating instead on donations and with volunteers. After facilitating over 300 births, the group found a way to include potential adoptive couples in the work of the program, having them volunteer with various aspects of the Adoptive Parent Internship program.

HLI’s adoption program holds an annual meeting for families to get together, and regularly sends photos and updates to the birth parents.

The number of adopted children in the program has increased significantly in the last two years because of inflation and the Russo-Ukrainian War, Ukraine sharing roughly 85 miles of board with Hungary.

Hanna agreed to an open adoption before baby Zsófi was born last year. Júlia and Tibor were able to help Hanna and her family with material goods they desperately needed, including a bus pass enabling Hanna to get to the hospital for doctor’s visits, nutritious food and vitamins, and bicycles for her three children.

In October 2023, Júlia, Tibor, and big brother Peter, welcomed baby Zsófi into their home. The plan is for the little girl to meet her biological parents and siblings at some point.

Zsofi the sleeping beauty
Photo: Imre Téglásy

“I feel good that HLI is with us,” Hanna said. “Even this winter, after Zsófi was born, especially because I still didn’t get any support from my mother, she doesn’t know that we gave our fourth child up for adoption to a wonderful couple.”

“We are very grateful to Hanna for taking great care of her baby throughout her pregnancy,” said Júlia. “Our parents, Zsófi’s grandparents, were waiting for her! We thank God that both of our parents are still alive and play a major role in the education and care of our children.”

And while doctors had advised a risky caesarean delivery as the time for Zsófi’s birth neared, skilled physicians were able to manage the birth without resorting to surgery. Zsófi entered the world outside of her mother’s womb, healthy and loved by many. She continues to do well.

“Zsófi is healthy, much stronger than most other babies her age,” Tibor reported.

“Zsófi’s life is a miracle,” said Téglásy, himself an abortion survivor.

“In her desperation, Hanna could have pursued an abortion, but thanks to the intervention of an HLI-trained nurse and loving adoptive parents mentored by HLI, she chose to give her baby life,” he said. “We rejoice in this precious child and seek to provide all abortion-vulnerable women this life affirming opportunity for them and the children.”

Editor’s note: This article has been updated. It appears in Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Adoption