Cori Salchert is a mother to 8 biological children and a former perinatal bereavement nurse. Cori and her large family began adopting “hospice babies” back in 2012. These babies have terminal illnesses or life-limiting illnesses. In many instances, these babies have been given up by their biological families because they are unable to care for their medical needs or cannot bear to watch their short lives come to an end.
The family decided to adopt hospice babies because of past life experiences and their beliefs. Cori’s sister, Amie, developed spinal meningitis as a child and became physically and mentally handicapped. Due to the high level of care she needed, Amie was placed in a children’s home. One day, Amie wandered out of an open door at the children’s home and drowned in a pond. From then on, Cori struggled with the question, “Where was God?” As an adult, Cori’s views changed and she came to believe that whatever was placed before God would be redeemed.
As a nurse, Cori had plenty of experience working with babies in hospice care. She frequently worked with parents who had lost their babies at birth or shortly after. Observing the needs of parents who had experienced infant loss, Cori founded the Hope After Loss Organization. One day, Cori received a call asking if they could adopt a nameless hospice baby. Guided by their faith, the Salchert family agreed and adopted a 2-week-old baby named Emmalynn in 2012.
Emmalynn was born without the left or right hemispheres of her brain. She only lived for 50 days after she was adopted, but the Salchert family filled her days with as much love, attention, and affection as possible. Emmalynn was constantly held and went wherever the family went.
If the Salcherts had not brought her home, she would have died alone in a hospital. Instead, Emmalynn died in Cori’s arms, wrapped in a fury bathrobe and hearing the sound of Cori’s heartbeat.
After a mourning period, the family adopted Charlie in 2014. He has a lift limiting illness which means he will likely pass away by the age of 2.
Cori and her incredible family continue to do what many people could not; care for dying babies and loving then completely all while knowing they will only be around for a short time.