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The Grip of Hope

I recall exactly where I was when I first saw this photograph. We were on vacation in Oregon and I was in the public library in Junction City flipping through a magazine when I saw this stunning picture. I had heard the story of Samuel Armas, 0506091157_m_thehandofhope_450diagnosed with spina bifida, and being operated on in utero in hopes of saving his life. During the successful surgery he wrapped his tiny hand around a finger of the surgeon. A photographer snapped this extraordinary image, an image that flashed around the world

The photo, which first appeared in USA Today on Sept. 7, 1999, quickly spread across the globe as proof of development in the womb and was later cited during congressional debates on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which passed in 2000.

“It’s just a miracle picture, a miracle moment,” Clancy told “It shows the earliest human interaction ever recorded.”

Picture by Michael Clancy

Now, Samuel is 9 years old. Read more, and see other pictures here.

Edit: May 7 I just located a devotional I wrote nearly two years ago concerning this little boy.

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 81 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 64 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

5 replies on “The Grip of Hope”

I just keep coming back to see this photo! I imagine my hand reaching out and God taking it! Wish I had a picture of that!!

Only in your mind, and in your heart, Dean. But clearly such an image is there.


I am choked up every single time I see that image. Thanks for the follow up. I am going there next.

I miss you, Shirley. We talked so often back a year or more ago… and now I … just need to hook back up with people I love and trust.


Jayleigh, I’m so glad you’re here tonight. I think of you often and wish God’s bountiful blessings on you. Some day I do hope we will be able to meet in person. I really can see that happening.

I’m with you concerning the image of that tiny baby’s hand. It never fails to stir me.


God made man is His image. I was before the time when doctors starting allowing fathers to be present at the birth of their children. This is one of the things that I, personally feel, I missed in life. I very much encouraged my sons to be there and they were. Life begins at the point of conception, just as God set this process in motion to many eons ago.


The birth of a child is the most amazing thing in life.


Amazing….yet some continue to say that life begins at birth…. wonder if they have seen this photo? Looks like a human being reaching out for another human being. Thanks

It is astonishing that anyone can view such an image and continue to insist this is not a baby.


Now this IS hope.

Helen, I love that picture. I think I might have written about this before, for as I sat in that library, I was so fascinated by the picture that I was tempted to tear it out for myself! I resisted the evil urge, though, and left the library.

Now, because of the internet, this stunning image can be in all our homes. An amazing shot…amazing story.


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