Cori Salchert, the mom of 8 biological children, was a registered nurse and perinatal bereavement specialist with the Sheboygan-based Hope After Loss Organization. That group helped those dealing with the loss of a pregnancy or newborn cope, and Cori was always there to cuddle a baby in their last minutes of life if their family was too overwhelmed with grief. She told 9News it was so “no one had to die alone.” Cori truly felt that this was her calling.
After being struck with an autoimmune disorder about 5 years ago and left unable to work, Cori felt lost. It was then that Cori’s husband Mark suggested that they take in ‘hospice babies’ through the treatment foster care program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. This program matches children with severe behavioural or medical challenges with a family to care for them. Emmalyn was born with only a brain stem and not expected to live long, and the Salchert’s brought her home in August of 2012. Emmalyn lived 50 days, and Cori said “Emmalynn lived more in 50 days than most people do in a lifetime,” and she died while Cori snuggled her while sitting at her kitchen table one night.
After Emmalyn the Salchert’s took in a toddler named Jayden who was eventually adopted by family members. Not sure if she could continue, Cori’s husband told her that this was what she was meant to do, and after consulting with their children they agreed to continue fostering children.
“These children need nurses, but the overarching thing is they need moms. For me, even though I can’t help every child I’m happy to make a difference in the lives of a few.”