MINOOKA — Angels of Hope has welcomed its fifth child born due to the assistance of its Creating Miracles grant program.
Jennifer and Kevin of Minooka welcomed their first child, a son, Sean Kevin, on June 25. The couple, who requested their last name not be published, were the recipients of the fall 2010 grant to assist them with the finances for another round of in-vitro fertilization.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it and I’ve done a lot of good things in my life,” said Kevin. “Everything kind of fell into place — all the sacrifices, all the ups and downs,” he said. “And everything was so worth it.”
Angels of Hope is a Coal City-based organization that helps anyone dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child.
It was established in 2005, and helps in many ways, including a Creating Miracles grant, to assist couples with fertility procedures, and an Everlasting Footprints grant, to help those who have lost a child with burial and headstone fees.
Angels of Hope has given out about $98,000 in grants, said Russelle Holsinger, vice president. Baby Sean is the fifth Angels of Hope baby.
“Each grant amount depends on what the needs of the individuals are. They usually don’t go over $12,000, because that should cover an IVF cycle,” she said.
On average, the organization receives about three qualifying applications per grant season, said Holsinger. It receives many applicants, but many do not qualify because they come from out of Will or Grundy counties, and even out of the state.
Jennifer and Kevin had been trying to conceive for about five years. The couple had done six rounds of artificial insemination and two failed IVF attempts. The procedures resulted in miscarriages or other unsuccessful results, said Jennifer.
“Going through it was very emotionally draining and financially draining,” she said.
She heard about the grants through a friend and immediately went online to research them.
“It was so surprising to find right in our backyard is a non-for-profit organization doing this,” said Jennifer.
Although they have good-paying jobs and insurance, their insurance would not cover infertility procedures, so they were paying out of pocket for every try. Each try was between $12,000 and $15,000.
“They gave us a breath of fresh air, because we knew we could try again,” said Jennifer.
“We were treading water and someone threw us a life raft,” Kevin added. “It just gave us more hope.”
Through the grant and switching doctors they were pregnant again and, this time, their dream came true.
Although the couple stayed optimistically cautious, this pregnancy felt real faster for Jennifer, since she could feel Sean growing inside of her. Kevin was a little more guarded, she said.
“The being not pregnant or the miscarriages — you can only go through that so many times,” said Kevin. “That’s what I was always afraid of, can you take one more blow?”
But the only blow they received this time was the unexpected surreal feeling when they first laid eyes on their son.
Sean was born at 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and 20 inches long.
“It was amazing and we were definitely in love,” said Sean’s mother.
“We have been blessed. There are a lot of people who have helped us,” she said through tears.
Angels of Hope is taking applications now for the next set of grants, said Holsinger. Applications are due by Aug. 31, and the grant will be awarded in September. Applicants must be from Grundy or Will counties.
For more information on the grants and other Angels of Hope information, visit angelsofhopeinc.org.