Family

I adopt babies no one wants

Their parents abandoned them when they were born with terminal illnesses – but one woman is making sure these sick babies don’t die alone.

Meet Cori Salchert, the huge-hearted mum-of-eight who adopts babies with terminal illnesses so they can die surrounded by love and not in an institution.

Cori and her husband Mark welcomed their first sick baby into their Wisconsin home in August 2012.

They got a call from a hospital where she used to work as a nurse, asking if she would take in a little girl whose parents hadn’t even named her when they found out about her debilitating brain defect. Instead, they went home from hospital without her, leaving the tiny baby to die alone and parentless.

“We were allowed the priceless gift of being her family,” Cori recalled on The Today Show. “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. But we brought this beautiful baby home to live, and live she did.

“She lived more in 50 days than a number of folks do in a lifetime. She had not had a family, and now she was suddenly the youngest sibling of nine. We held her constantly and took her everywhere with us.”

The baby, who Cori called Emmalynn, died in her arms, surrounded by the entire Salchert family.

Since then, they have taken in as many sick and dying babies as they can manage, ensuring every second of their little lives is jam-packed with love and kindness.

“What a gift it is to be a part of these babies’ lives, to have the ability to ease their suffering, to cherish and love them even though they aren’t able to give anything tangible back or even smile in return for our efforts,” Cori says.

“We invest deeply, and we ache terribly when these kids die, but our hearts are like stained-glass windows. 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.”

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