Photo: TODAY Parents

In 2012, the Salchert family of Wisconsin was called to do something courageous. They began welcoming children on hospice care into their family through adoption and fostering.

This year Cori Salchert, a former perinatal bereavement nurse, and her husband Mark, adopted their foster child Samuel. Samuel, known as T Bear by his Salchert family, was born with leukodystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes the brain to degenerate.

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When Salchert first learned of her sweet T Bear she didn’t have room to bring him home at the time. She couldn’t forget about him though.

“I found myself saddened to think he wasn't wanted because of his many physical disabilities as well as his age and size, but then I realized it wasn't that he was not wanted, it was that he was waiting for us," Salchert told TODAY Parents in a recent interview.

In 2017, T Bear was able to come home with the Salcherts, and he was instantly a brother to the Salchert’s eight biological children. Salchert had several prayers for her new son. She prayed he would live long enough to know the love of his forever family, he would be their legal child, and he would be surrounded by family at home when he passed.

The Salchert family was overwhelmed with joy when they officially adopted 15-year-old Samuel on Sept. 28, 2018. Samuel's eyes were open through the adoption ceremony, and he gave a precious smile for everyone in the room to see. Salchert’s prayers were being answered one by one. 

Shortly after the adoption, Samuel died on Oct. 16, 2018. He was surrounded by his family at home. 

"I cried and thanked God for the fact that I wasn't losing my sweet boy, but giving him to the one who was going to make it possible for us to be together forever," Salchert said.

Full story here.

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Sandee Gruner

Sandee Gruner is a full-time working mom with a love for writing and communications. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two children, where she enjoys spending time with her family, exploring local attractions and volunteering.

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