|George Frideric Handel|
Foundlings were babies born to unmarried women. These women where in a horrible situation since there were no homes to take their babies and no jobs for an unmarried woman with a child at her breast. It was starvation for both mother and child. So in the early morning hours these heartbroken mothers took their babies to the upscale areas of London to leave them on the doorsteps of well-off families who they hoped would have pity on their innocent infants. The babies who survived were usually taken to workhouses where the death rate for foundlings was over 90%.
Thomas was appalled and committed his remaining years to rescuing foundlings. There were homes for orphans, but foundlings were considered a different class because of how they were born. Orphan homes, like the famed homes of George Mueller, would not take in a foundling. Before George Mueller would receive a child into his homes evidence had to be provided that the child was born to parents who were married when the child was conceived. Adoption was not a legal option on either side of the Atlantic at the time.
Mr. Coram faced great difficulty getting permission to open a foundling's home (called a Foundling's Hospital). But permission was not enough. There were thousands of foundlings born each year... where would the money come from to feed, house, and cloth these children? Where would he get enough wet-nurses and other caregivers for the babies?
Enter George Frideric Handel, the Kapellmeister to the future King George of Great Britain. George Handel became a life-long supporter of the efforts of Thomas Coram to rescue foundlings. He was a beloved friend of the children, a governor of the Foundling's Hospital, and opened the doors for Thomas Coram to British aristocracy which led to the founding and survival of this great endeavor to rescue children. There is a permanent exhibit in the Foundling Museum in London dedicated to George Handel.
Thousands of children were rescued! Hundreds of babies were placed into the care of the home by heartbroken mothers. In the first few years, after the age for entrance to the Home was raised from 2 months to 12 months, the home received 15,000 babies!
George Handel annually performed the Messiah at the Foundling's Home and donated all the income to the home. He was the chief fundraiser for the chapel, built so the children could learn of this great Messiah's love for them. He bequeathed a full copy of the Messiah to the home which can be seen today in the museum along with the organ he presented to the home.
His music legacy in the home was great. One of the most popular choirs of the day was a choir filled with blind children from the home. Many of the foundlings made successful careers as musicians playing in orchestras and bands throughout Britain.
This Christmas don't forget the foundlings and orphans. Give to a Children's Home. If you don't know of one you are welcome to give to the home sponsored by our Church. It is Amazing Grace Children's Home (Formerly Rivers Of Mercy). Every cent given to the home goes directly to the home, we take nothing out for administrative costs. If you want to be placed on our mailing list simply send me your e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make your checks payable to Santa Fe Baptist Church with children's home in the memo of your check. The mailing address is:
Santa Fe Baptist Church
12902 6th Street
Santa Fe, Texas 77510