Spiritual Adoption Program

Pro-life Spiritual Adoption Program

based on the prayer of

Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Over 1,000 babies have been "spiritually adopted" after launching our program at St. Katharine Drexel Parish on January 17-18, 2014, the weekend before the January 22nd memorial of Roe vs. Wade. This January 22, 1973 Supreme Court decision legalized abortion throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.

The idea of spiritual adoption was promoted by the late Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He encouraged the "spiritual adoption" of an unborn child to help stop the anti-life push around the world. He encouraged individuals to pray that one particular but unknown child's life be spared abortion and be allowed to continue to live. The archbishop suggested the following prayer to be prayed over a period of 9 months:

"Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of [baby's name], the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion." --Prayer of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

This prayer or any other type of prayer, of course, can be said for your spiritually adopted baby during the 9 months before birth. The main thing is to pray and to also be a form of spiritual support for his or her parents!

Keep in mind too, that although the identity of the child you pray for may be unknown to you during your earthly life, there is every hope that you will be united with that child forever in Heaven!

The Program

This can be a great family prayer project and our parish’s school children ranging from pre-K to 6th grade participate in their classes as well!

To help bring home the reality of a human life developing in the womb, our program provides:

A prayer reminder keychain with real baby socks attached with a small colorful binder clip and a tag which provides a space for the baby’s name on one side and a prayer on the other. To encourage parents to participate with children that may shy away from explaining abortion to a young child, we use the following prayer placed in the keychains:

“Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, I love You very much! Please bless this unborn child; give Your protection and grant a healthy birth. Amen.”

Additionally, a small ponytail holder is attached so it is able to hang from a door handle, kitchen knob, or similar item to be a visual reminder. Finally, a Holy Family medal ordered from St. Paul Street Evangelization https://evangelizationschool.com/store/ is also included on the keychain, and was blessed by our priest.

A bulletin board was used to hang the completed sock keychains on pushpins and attached dresser drawer knobs on the four corners to demonstrate how they could be hung. Participants chose a keychain from the board to take home with them during our Spiritual Adoption weekend.

A blank baby name certificate is also available for participants to fill out and return to the parish so that their baby’s name along with their own name can be a part of our Spiritual Adoption Display. This is optional but does bring home the dignity and reality of these unborn babies that are being held in prayer.

Our Spiritual Adoption Name Display is hung up in our parish’s entryway during the nine months of prayer. (Family surnames have been deleted for this online photo only.)

During the 9 months of the unborn baby’s development, we also put out a framed “Little Ones” poster of that particular month’s stage of development. These posters can be ordered from The Archdiocese of Baltimore website: https://www.archbalt.org/respect-life-2/little-one-posters/.

Additionally, our parish adds a bulletin announcement once a month featuring the baby’s growing development.

At the end of nine months, we have a baby shower event after the weekend Masses. A table is set up with treats and a travel crib next to it to hold donations. Donated items in honor of our babies are given to those in need of assistance. In particular, we ask for diapers and wipes for our parish’s diaper pantry. Other baby gifts received are given to the diaper pantry guests or to a local pregnancy help center.

Spiritual Adoption video

(This video, "Spiritual Adoption," was created by Cory Heimann with special permission granted by him for incorporation into this website.)

How to make the Baby Socks Keychains

Items needed

baby socks

Transparent white plastic 2.2" x 1.2" key tag with split ring

(Photos of opened front with baby’s name paper and prayer paper inserted on flipside.)

small ponytail holders

.75" binder clips

Holy Family medals

Additional items:

A freewill donation box was set on the table during our spiritual adoption weekend. To help keep things more sanitary and spread the pro-life message instead of germs, we also ordered individually wrapped Precious Feet pro-life pens from Heritage House https://www.hh76.org/details.aspx?prod_id=3195 that participants could keep and also use to fill out their baby’s name certificates that they turned back in for our Spiritual Adoption Name Display. A basket was used to place their completed certificates.

Printable resources:

Baby name certificates

Key tag inserts (baby names)

Key tag inserts (prayer)

Spiritual Adoption "How to" poster

St. Padre Pio quote


To learn about the Cause for Canonization of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

please visit the website for the Cause for his Canonization.

Lovely Lady Dressed in Blue

Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----

Teach me how to pray!

God was just your little boy,

Tell me what to say!

Did you lift Him up, sometimes,

Gently on your knee?

Did you sing to Him the way

Mother does to me?

Did you hold His hand at night?

Did you ever try

Telling stories of the world?

O! And did He cry?

Do you really think He cares

If I tell Him things-

Little things that happen? And

Do the Angels' wings

Make a noise? And can He hear

Me if I speak low?

Does He understand me now?

Tell me ---- for you know?

Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----

Teach me how to pray!

God was just your little boy,

And you know the way.

This poem by Mary Dixon Thayer was made famous by Venerable Archbishop

Fulton J. Sheen in the 1950s and was one of his favorite Marian prayers.