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Wisconsin mother provides loving home for terminally ill babies
A Wisconsin mother has made it her personal mission to give terminally ill babies a family with whom they can spend their final days. - photo by Jessica Ivins
SHEBOYGAN, Wis. A Wisconsin mother has made it her personal mission to give terminally ill babies a family with whom they can spend their final days.

Cori Salchert is a nurse by trade and a mother to eight biological children. As if she didnt already have her hands full, Salchert and her husband have taken to fostering and adopting so-called hospice babies infants whove received terminal or life-limiting diagnoses whose birth parents had given up guardianship, according to the Sheboygan Press.

These children need nurses, but the overarching thing is, they need moms, Salchert said. Too many people never do anything because they cant do everything and cant save everyone. For me, even though I cant help every child, Im happy to make a difference in the lives of a few.

The idea came to her when she worked full time as a nurse and perinatal bereavement specialist for the Hope After Loss Organization which helps families cope with the loss of a baby.

Her work involved cradling a dying baby in her arms in their final moments if the pain was just too great for the parents to stick around, according to the Sheboygan Press.

There was no judgment on my part that the parents should just be able to deal with the circumstances, Salchert said. But I thought, Wow, I would really like to take those kiddos and care for them.

Five years ago, Salcherts battle with an autoimmune disorder forced her to quit her job and while she was initially disheartened and lost, the situation also opened the door for her to fulfill her dream of bringing those seemingly forgotten babies into her home, the Sheboygan Press reports.

The Salcherts worked with a foster care program run by the Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin, and brought home their first hospice baby Emmalynn in 2012.

Emmalynn was born without the right or left hemisphere of her brain, and came to the Salcherts in a vegetative state unable to see or hear, Salchert told Today.

She could have died in the hospital, wrapped in a blanket and set to the side because she was being sustained with a feeding pump, Salchert said. But we brought this beautiful baby home to live, and live she did.

Emmalynn spent the 50 short days of her life enveloped in the love of the Salchert family. She was constantly surrounded by her eight siblings and accompanied the family wherever they went.

When she passed, she slipped away in the arms of a mother who loved her.

Shed left this world hearing my heartbeat. She didnt suffer, she wasnt in pain, and she most certainly wasnt alone, Salchert told Today.

The family took in another child Jayden and fostered him until he was adopted by biological relatives. Now, the Salcherts are caring for Charlie, who has major neurological deficits and is dependent on a ventilator, feeding tube and trach, according to the Sheboygan Press.

He will die; theres no changing that, Salchert said. But we can make a difference in how he lives, and the difference for Charlie is that he will be loved before he dies.
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