Peek into the Cradle Nursery on the 3rd floor of our Evanston building and you will see a bustle of activity, delivered in an atmosphere of peace and calm. Babies are being fed and rocked by volunteer Cuddlers. Nurses are changing diapers, bathing infants and carefully charting every moment of the baby’s day. George, our driver, is picking babies up for doctor visits or lab tests, or dropping off a new baby from one of the dozen or so Illinois hospitals that refer infants to our care each year.
Just down the hall from the main Nursery, a new mom might be visiting her infant in one of our two “belonging” rooms, taking the time and receiving the support she needs to decide if adoption is the right path for her child. In another room, a prospective adoptive family might be meeting their son or daughter for the first time, carefully undressing their baby to count the fingers and toes, breathing in that intoxicating newborn scent.
The Cradle is the only adoption agency in the country to maintain an onsite Nursery. The Nursery allows us to accept any baby referred to us, including babies with special medical needs.
One-third of the babies admitted to The Cradle Nursery will go home with their moms, while the remaining two-thirds are placed with Cradle waiting families.
When we have twelve infants in our care, there is a lot to do, but the experienced Nursery staff (some nurses have been with The Cradle for more than 30 years) always finds time to give individual attention to each baby. Victoria Brooks has been Director of The Cradle Nursery for 13 years, and she credits the dedication of her team for keeping the Nursery running smoothly when things get hectic.
“The Cradle is fortunate to have a very dedicated and flexible team of nurses and infant aides, and they are always willing to pitch in when our census goes up,” says Victoria. “We also rely on our volunteer Cuddlers, who make sure every baby gets the physical touch and nurturing that is so important to a newborn. Cuddlers worked extra shifts during our busy time, and we thank them all for their support.”
Because the Nursery receives no government funding, we rely on donations from our friends to help meet the need. A gift of $25 sponsors a day of diapers – $250 covers all the costs for one baby for one day. Take a video tour of the Cradle Nursery.