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A Foster Mother's Heart

May is National Foster Care Month! Here, we share a testimonial excerpt from Rachel, a foster mother and beneficiary of guidance from The Baby Fold. “Recently I sat on my counselor’s couch talking about two things; weariness and isolation in foster care. Now I know that might sound bleak, but it is within the dark that light shines.” Rachel was speaking of her foster daughter, who had been a challenging child from infancy. “Exposure to domestic violence and drugs in the womb could play a role in this, and reminding myself of this when she has been screaming all day is so beneficial for my patience and endurance.” Rachel's counselor advised her to speak life and hope into her daughter's life. Now, during the difficult times, Rachel recites: You are so loved. You are created for a purpose. You are uniquely and perfectly made. "In that moment, hope and joy entered my weariness. That’s the reason I became a foster parent - to love kids and raise them up to know that they were created for a purpose that is uniquely theirs.” 

New Collaboration with District 87

Over the last several years, The Baby Fold's Community Schools Program has been a successful collaboration within two Unit 5 schools, Fairview and Cedar Ridge Elementary Schools. We are pleased to announce that we are expanding to include a third location, Sheridan Elementary, in collaboration with Bloomington's District 87. A Baby Fold social worker will be embedded at the school full time to work with the children and staff. This model of partnership between teachers, students, families and social workers from The Baby Fold has resulted in improved test scores, increased family engagement, and transformed school cultures. We support the children, the parents, and the teachers so they can provide for the emotional and educational needs of the whole student body. Welcome to The Baby Fold family, District 87! 

Living our Legacy at Founders Day

A very springy Founders Day event recently delighted our guests! “Children and families need us now more than ever in the state of Illinois,” shared Dianne Schultz, CEO. “We know what they need and we are producing incredible outcomes for kids and families in 28 counties.” Guests learned how the financial support of donors allows our expert team to be equipped with tools like specialty training. When donors document legacy gifts, they feel blessed to know those gifts will ensure brighter futures for children and families. Donors include The Baby Fold in their legacy plans because of the organization's 117 years of demonstrated success, trustworthiness, and foundational faith-based roots. In addition, our very special friends, shown below, were recognized for their dedication and support of The Baby Fold's mission.

Legacy Partner of the Year, Normal First United Methodist Church

Legacy Partner of the Year, Normal Calvary United Methodist Church

Advocate of the Year, Colton and Jenna Sylvester and Sylvester Family Dental

Community Partner of the Year, Troy Zeigler and Toys for Tots of McLean County

Friend of Children, Thomas Carroll

A Powerful Phone Call Highlights Success

Healthy Start mom, Hallie, has worked very hard with Julie, her Baby Fold family support specialist, to create a safe and loving home for her son, Eli. They've addressed needs like safe relationships, affordable housing, stable employment, and even Eli’s runny nose! During a recent visit Hallie’s phone rang. Seeing it was from her mother, she hesitated, took a deep breath, and answered. After the call, Hallie whispered to Julie, with tears in her eyes, “I can’t believe it. My mom just said that she is proud of me. She said that I was a better mom than she ever was to me.” This is the power of early intervention; when we nurture a new young family, multiple relationships are positively impacted. To support The Baby Fold's work with mothers like Hallie, please click here to donate. 

Last Stop, First Step

A fascinating time in The Baby Fold’s history is the era of the orphan trains. When the Methodist Deaconesses founded the agency in 1902, trains carrying precious cargo of orphaned and abandoned children were running from New York City westward. Making stops along the way, couples wishing to expand their families could simply choose any child. The oldest and healthiest children were chosen first, while infants, toddlers, minorities, and disabled children were left to board the train again and continue westward. The Baby Fold, nestled in the prairie state, was often the last stop. Here, Deaconesses waited with open arms for the remaining little ones, lovingly bringing them into "The Fold". For 117 years, we've welcomed children and families into our care, to find the love, hope, and courage they need to be whole and healthy.