When long-time IU Health employee Ashley Cain adopted two children, her co-workers surrounded her with support.
They always knew they wanted children. But five years into their marriage Ashley and Andrew Cain learned they needed to rethink the way they would start a family of their own.
“I’ve always had a pull to adopt and then when I talked to a Department of Child Services worker, I knew it was the right choice,” said Ashley Cain, who has worked at IU Health for 11 years. She asked her husband out on their first date to Starbucks and they will be married 11 years in August.
Once they made the decision to become foster parents they got their first phone call for placement hours after receiving their license in March 2017. A month later a boy named Elijah and a girl named Mariah entered their home and forever changed their lives.
At the time, Ashley was working in IU Health Homecare and her co-workers organized a baby shower to help the couple get ready for the new arrivals.
“I was blessed with cribs, beds, linens, just about everything we needed to welcome the kids into our home,” said Ashley. Coworkers donated other items that they no longer needed.
Fast-forward two years – Ashley is working as an account coordinator for Commercial Health Plans when she and Andrew complete the adoption of the children. Again, her IU Health coworkers offered their support.
“Ashley is a coworker but she’s also a friend. We work together 40 hours a week but we also talk on weekends and evenings,” said Kelly Estridge, who organized a surprise adoption celebration with other coworkers. “Her situation intrigued me because I’ve never known anyone going through the adoption process. It was a long emotional journey for Ashley and her husband and I am glad I was there to offer support.” Estridge, along with co-worker Katelyn Williams were both in the courtroom during the adoption proceedings.
On June 3, 2019 Elijah, 4 and Mariah, 3, legally became part of the Cain family. In addition to coworkers, there were more than 40 people in the court chambers.
“The judge walked in and said ‘whoa.’ We filled up the whole lobby of the third floor at the Hamilton County Courthouse,” said Cain. The two newest additions to the family are among 13 grandchildren on Ashley’s side of the family and six on her husband’s side.
Both children have visited Cain’s coworkers at IU Health and are getting familiar with their extended family.
“Mariah is a spitfire. She’s fun. She loves to dance and do anything to make you laugh,” said Cain. “Elijah is talkative. He’s reserved but likes the attention,” said Estridge.
“I can’t say enough about the support of my IU Health coworkers. They’ve been like family,” said Cain. She added that she and her husband utilized IU Health’s adoption assistance to help pay legal fees.
“Being a foster parent is such a rewarding experience – not just for you but also for the child. I’ve also seen how it has touched the lives of others. I’ve received so much support on the job and have seen how being involved in the lives of coworkers builds morale and teamwork,” said Cain. As she was leaving her office with leftover cake from the celebration, she met another IU Health team member who asked about the party. When she mentioned the word “adoption” she learned that he, too was an adoptive parent. It struck up an instant conversation.
As a special gift from her staff, Cain received a photo session for her new family.
“Up until the adoption I wasn’t able to show any pictures of the kids. Now, we’re all about that,” said Cain. “We’re heading to Myrtle Beach in a couple months for a family vacation where the kids will see the ocean for the first time. I imagine there will be lots of pictures.”
— By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health. Reach
Banes via email email@example.com.