Cori Salchert of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, has spent most part of her life caring for the needs of others both as a maternity nurse and a hospice care provider.
Even though she and her husband have 8 children of their own, their heart for loving and caring for children has made them take in foster kids and other little ones in need for decades.
Heart for dying babies
Cori was always drawn to parents whose babies were dying in the hospital and she knew she had to do something. “I found myself drawn to helping these families,” she said.
“Where many obstetrics nurses prefer not to work with dying babies, I saw a need to make the hospital experiences of these women less traumatic — not by fixing what was broken — but by handling them with care instead of rushing out of the room because their grief made me uncomfortable.”
Cori started a nonprofit, Hope After Loss Organization which aims to provide support, care, and hope to parents who have lost infants.
Transformation of heart
She and her family’s lives were completely transformed after they met baby Emmalynn. They received a call about a 2-week-old infant whose family had abandoned her without even giving her a name, and Cori and family didn’t hesitate to take her in.
Cori named her Emmalynn and looked after her like her own baby. The baby was not expected to live for long as she was missing the right or left hemisphere of her brain and could only respond to painful stimuli. She gave Emmalynn everything: a home, a family, and the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby. One day during a cuddle session when Cori was singing to Emmalynn, the baby took her final breath.
“She’d left this world hearing my heartbeat,” Cori said later. “She didn’t suffer, she wasn’t in pain, and she most certainly wasn’t alone. It was painful initially. Gradually, we were able to see the opportunity to hold her through this life, and as she entered the next solely as a gift.”
The family met Charlie next in 2014 and the little one had brain damage which made living a normal life impossible. Cori enveloped him in her love and care and now he recently celebrated his 6th birthday, exceeding the doctors’ expectations.
Taking care of these children may sound so hard to us but Cori says she feels blessed to provide each terminal infant with the comfort they need. “We invest deeply, and we ache terribly when these kids die, but our hearts are like stained glass windows,” she explained. “Those windows are made of broken glass which has been forged back together, and those windows are even stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.”
What a beautiful story of selfless love and compassion for others without any hope of self-gain during these times. Share this story with those who would be blessed reading about it today.