Throughout 2018, we are celebrating 135 years of meeting every child, every family, where their need is greatest. Doing whatever it takes so children and families can thrive. We are proud of our legacy of meeting the changing needs of vulnerable families throughout Illinois and inspired by the children and families we serve and their stories of resilience. The stories of our staff, volunteers and supporters are building bright futures and crafting new stories for those we serve. Their passion and dedication act as a springboard to new opportunities, new connections and new successes for every child and family.

Ingrid Brown, Child Welfare Program Director in Children’s Home & Aid’s Central Region, has an unusually strong connection to the agency.

“I found my family, my husband and my career at Children’s Home & Aid!’ Ingrid says. “I owe so much to this wonderful agency!”

Ingrid, now 36, has worked at Children’s Home & Aid for ten years, always in the Adoption and Foster care program. She met her husband, Justin, when he was a fellow caseworker, and the couple lives in Bloomington with their 16-month-old son. But her first connection to the agency began at birth. Ingrid is one of thousands of people who were adopted with the help of Children’s Home & Aid over the last 135 years.

Ingrid was born in Urbana, Illinois. Her birth mom suffered from severe mental illness and Ingrid was placed in a foster home at birth. Her parents, JoAnne and Doyle Barracks, adopted her through Children’s Home & Aid when she was just 6-months-old.

Ingrid knew from as far back as she could remember that she was adopted, as was her younger brother, and it was something she felt made her special. “Like most children who are adopted, I sometimes fantasized about my birth family, whether I had siblings,” Ingrid says. “But I was so well loved by my parents and had a wonderful childhood so I never felt like something was missing.”

Still her curiosity prompted her to search for her biological family while she was in college. From her adoption records she knew her biological mother’s name. Shortly after beginning her search she connected with a biological aunt.

“I began corresponding with my birth mom’s younger sister who lived in North Carolina,” Ingrid says. “She was able to tell me so much about my biological mom, who had had a hard life and was still suffering from the effects of her mental illness. But my aunt was able to share photos and memories from my biological family, including a beautiful painting my birthmom did that hangs in my office today.”

Ingrid went on to meet many members of her biological family, and they even attended her wedding. While she was never able to meet her birthmother before she passed away in 2007, Ingrid feels a sense of completeness.

“I feel extremely lucky with how my story played out, Ingrid says. “I have the most amazing and loving adoptive family, and yet I also was able to connect with many members of my biological family,” Ingrid says. “Children’s Home & Aid made it all possible!”