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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Cradle

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adoption, Children & Youth

Mission: The Cradle's mission is to benefit children and all others touched by adoption — by compassionately delivering exceptional education, guidance and lifelong support to build, sustain and preserve nurturing families.

Target demographics: build and strengthen families

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 1,000 expectant parents and 400 families

Geographic areas served: Child and family services

Programs: options counseling for pregnant women considering adoption, education and support for those looking to adopt and lifelong support to anyone touched by adoption throughout their lifetime.

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted twins through The Cradle 8 years ago. I have only good things to say about The Cradle; our experience was excellent. The classes were mostly very helpful, the counselors we dealt with were thoughtful and responsive, they stayed in touch in the months after the adoption to be sure we were adjusting well, and we felt adequately informed during the whole process. Post-adoption, the agency holds events like holiday parties and summer picnics so that adopted children from different families can mingle together, and even years after the adoption, I am entirely confident the staff there would help us out with counseling or other resources if we asked. We also still get invited to webinars and classes on various topics relevant to raising an adopted child, as sort of a continuing education option.

I believe The Cradle's fees are on the high end, but it offers many more remarkable services (including The Sayers Center and its nursery) than some other agencies, so we felt it was a justified inflation that we were happy to pay. We were also persuaded by our initial research that indicated it offers better counseling and services, both pre-adoption and ongoing, to birth parents than many other agencies do.

The only cautionary note I have for adoptive parents is that you can expect The Cradle to care more about the child than they do about you. They aren't focused on finding a good child for you, they are focused on finding a good family for every child. That means you can expect they will gently but thoroughly scrutinize you, that they will teach you what you need to know but not hold your hand every day, and that they will probably spend more of their energy working with the birth mother/parents than with you. Don't misunderstand. Our adoptive counselor was informative, but she didn't call us weekly unless there was news; she was kind, but didn't sugar coat things when she was setting expectations about The Wait; when our children needed hospitalization immediately after birth, another counselor made sure the medical prognosis still fit within the range of situations we had earlier said we were open to, to make sure we were still an appropriate family for the children. In short, we were the second-class clients, while the children (and their birth parents) were the first-class clients. This is as it should be.

3

Client Served

Rating: 2

We were very much looking forward to working with the cradle. Upon intial consultation we went to a meeting to give us more information about this agency. Unfortunately we were very much discouraged from adopting with them based on the fact that we had been married 5 yrs( too short in their mind) and that we were an interracial interfaith couple. They still took our money but we're so discouraging and negative about the whole adoption process claiming " adoption is the most painful process" that we chose not to work with this agency. I have done some research and talked with a few other couples who have similar backgrounds to ours and all were told the same exact thing. Shame on this organization for having preconceived notions about loving families who want to extend their homes to others. We were blessed with a natural baby of our own. I'm glad we stopped working with this organization. They are by no means professional

Client Served

Rating: 4

I found The Cradle through a local place called 1st Midwest Pregnancy. I was approximately 8 weeks pregnant. I worked with them through the next 7 or so months to work out an adoption plan that I was comfortable with. Since I knew who the birthfather was, they were obligated to contact him and let him know that I was in the process of making a plan and he could either fight it, or sign the papers agreeing to an adoption plan. The birthfather chose to fight it. The Cradle sent attorneys into court on my behalf and on the behalf of my unborn son. The court dates kept getting pushed out and pushed out until I was approximately 8 months pregnant. The courts decided against me and went in favor of the birthfather. By this point I had already pretty much chosen a family, all thanks to The Cradle for allowing me to continue looking into families looking to adopt, but I was notified by The Cradle giving me the news of the courts, and then saying that I could not continue in the process unless I could get the birthfather to agree to sign the papers. I immediately called the birthfather to talk with him and see his thought process. The call ended with him agreeing to sign the papers. I called The Cradle, told them the news, they then sent someone to get the papers signed by the birthfather, and I went forward with the family I had chosen earlier. I would do anything I could to help out The Cradle and get their name out there. They are a wonderful agency with many wonderful employees who are there for anything you may need.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

11 years ago, I contacted The Cradle when I was barely 8 weeks pregnant and without much support. During the 7 months I worked with The Cradle to make an adoption plan and the months that followed my placement, the counselors and other employees of The Cradle made me feel so comfortable with my decision. When my open adoption had some communication issues, they were quick to help for the sake of our daughter. In the years since placement, I have cherished the relationships I have developed because of The Cradle. I am proud to be apart of the The Cradle family as birthmom to an amazing almost 11 year old girl. Without The Cradle's support and ongoing mentoring, I feel like I would still be as lost and scared as I was at 22.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We adopted two babies form the Cradle. One has sinced passed away. There were not very many "good" adoption agencies in the 1960's. The Cradle was everything we were looking for and was affordable for us. We now have grandchildren by our "Cradle babies". Life has been good to us and to a great extent that is because of the Cradle. They still keep in touch with me, and that is good. James DeLill

Client Served

Rating: 5

I thank God and the Cradle every day for our 2 wonderful children. They complete and fulfill our lives. And now we have grandchildren! What a blessing! The Cradle facilitated our dreams. May they prosper forever! We love you MORE! The McMahon Family:)

Client Served

Rating: 5

As part of a couple seeking to adopt, I've quite enjoyed the experience through The Cradle. It's a marathon, but like a great marathon preparation course, they have it very well plotted out and explained. The parent-to-be classes have been terribly informative, the recommended outside readings extreme value-adds, and all of the staff so positive and supportive. There are no guarantees, but we're so happy for how well The Cradle prepares its adoptive parent clients to provide the best possible environments for the children they place.

Janet33

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family adopted el;sewhere, but we sought out post-adoption therapy at the Cradle 9 years ago. The excellent therapist helped us with issues of attachment and identitiy building. I felt so welcmoe and at home at the Cradle that I began volunteering, first as a cuddler in the nursery and subseqquently as a committee member and find-raiser. I joined the board of directors more than 4 years ago and underwent a thorough orientation process. My experiences at the Cradle continue to teach me about the vast universe of adoption, especially about the needs and rights of birth parents. The Cradle staff and boards are highly ethical and always give priority to the needs of the child when making decisions and setting policies.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle made us a family. We are a two-generation Cradle family, as my husband and his sister were both adopted from there. The care and compassion they showed to my in-laws over 40 years ago is still very much in evidence now. We love that The Cradle is not about finding children for adoptive parents, but about finding parents for children. The fact that they go to great lengths to care for and support birth mothers/parents was a huge factor for us in choosing to use The Cradle. Their nursery provides wonderful care for children who are waiting for adoptive families. Our son spent nearly eight weeks there, and received top-notch care from the nurses and volunteers who staff the nursery.

Kelly40

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle helped complete our family. We adopted our soon-to-be three-year-old son with The Cradle's help and are so appreciative of the caring, hands-on, and comprehensive services/support they provided throughout the process. Thank goodness we turned to them for assistance when we needed it!

Client Served

Rating: 5

We are clients of the Cradle who utilized their services in the adoption of our son, who is now six years old. The staff at the Cradle were amazing through the process, offering technical know-how, walking us through the entire process smoothly, as well as incredibly caring emotional and counseling support throughout the process. Their caseworkers are constantly supportive, very sensitive to the needs of clients, both birthparents and prospective adoptive parents. The Cradle also offers impressive educational services for families in the form of workshops, support/discussion groups, and online webinars/workshops to address various issues and situations that arise in the adoption process. The Cradle is also with us still, six years after adopting our son, by offering ongoing community activities (picnics, family outings, annual holiday gathering) and educational activities, as well as an open resource to answer questions that continue to arise as a family built through adoption.

Bobbi F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Over 12 years ago we reached out to The Cradle looking for information about adoption. They were compassionate, knowledgeable, understanding and helpful. They helped us navigate the hoops and red tape of international adoption. Without The Cradle our family wouldn't be complete. Because we believe so strongly in what The Cradle does and how they do it, we have stayed active with The Cradle ever since; Attending events, volunteering, serving on committees. The Cradle provides a very important service to families and does it well!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle has been a stellar member of the community for over 75 years. We reached out to the Cradle to start our family and they've been an integral part of our family ever since. The Cradle staff members are excellent and passionate in what they do. Their guidance in the adoption community continues to be extremely important to all of us.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle started as a way to build our family through adoption, but in the end they BECAME part our family through their actions, support, and unwavering kindness as we journeyed through adoption. The Cradle helped educate us on the concept and truths around open adoption—a situation that we were slightly resistant to initially. And as it has come to pass, it was simply because we were not educated on it; we had our own ideas and assumptions, but they were unfounded and driven from “fear”. The Cradle never judged us for our fears, questions or concerns, but rather their supportive staff LISTENED and provided information to help us make decisions on where we stood throughout the process ourselves. We also had a very tough situation in the middle of our journey in which we had to decide to walk away from a match and again, there were no judgments, they kept the baby first throughout the entire process and this helped us in our final decision to ensure the child went into a home better equipped to love, nurture and care for them. I’ll wrap up my comments with this: The Cradle is child-centered; the children come first. And with this one fundamental guiding principle they make all of their decisions, recommendations, and resource allocations. EVERYONE, executive leadership, social workers, nursery staff, etc. embodies this vision. THIS places them above all other organizations that help children and families in my book. If it’s in the best interest to keep a child with their birth family they support them to do just that. And if an adoption plan is best for the child they work hand in hand with the birth family and adoptive families to ensure a positive and healthy transition. The child is FIRST. I started out as an adoptive mother with The Cradle, but due to their example, I was compelled to volunteer for the organization. Through my time, effort, and dollars I know I can’t ever match what they have really done for me and meant to me and my family; but I will certainly try and help them continue on with their mission and vision because it is changing the lives of amazing little children, and that’s worth fighting for!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I adopted my daughter 15 years ago and the Cradle was great then (from helping us through the entire procedure to my daughter being in the nursery for 11 days) and they are great now. They continue to keep us connected by their newsletters and functions we can attend there at the facility in Evanston and other places in the area. I can never say enough about the Cradle!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our experiences at the Cradle were fantastic! All of the people we met were extremely professional, caring and helpful. At our interviews at the Cradle and during the home visits, the caseworkers made us feel comfortable and fully described the Cradle organization and its procedures. They offer support and guidance both during and after adoption.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle changed our lives. Our two adopted children are now grown with children of their own, and everything we know about the word "family" stems from our good fortune to have found The Cradle. Looking back on our experience, we always thought we had some divine intervention that these two children came to be ours; now we know that it was the wisdom and judgment of those at The Cradle who created our family. We didn't have much money, we didn't have status or prestiege; but The Cradle gave us everything we hold dear. And we can never thank those wonderful, caring people enough.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Cradle has touched our lives in the most meaningful and personal way. Through their services, we have been able to become parents to our 3 precious sons who are now 18, 16 and 13. Additionally, we have a niece and nephew who also are "Cradle Critters". We have been guided through our family story by an amazing staff who has been there for us whenever we had thoughts, questions or stories to share. Because of the outreach of the Cradle, we now have extended our family to include the birth families (and biological siblings) of our sons. Our family motto has always been "You can't have too many people who love you". We are living proof of that every day.

Client Served

Rating: 5

How do you express appreciation to an organization that helped create a family. NO words could ever be enough to explain what we feel and love about the Cradle. We went to the Cradle for help more than thirty years ago. No long after, I expect, a young expectant mother was also looking for help. That such happiness can come from such sadness is a miracle to me even today. We have the privilege of loving two wonderful people through the work of the Cradle and its outstanding staff. Watching them grow up, find their careers and move into the world is still a joy. BEW and DLP

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am the blessed mother of two adult Cradle babies. They have made my life complete. Raising these wonderful young adults has been the most rewarding life calling I will ever have. I am continuously filled with joy and awe because we came into each others lives quite by chance. The Cradle was the facilitator and I will forever be grateful to them for helping to lead us all down this path of love and family.