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Evanston’s The Cradle adoption agency to celebrate 100 years

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (CBS) — There is lots to celebrate this holiday season as a well-known adoption agency prepares to mark its 100th year in action.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory met one family that now includes a new member thanks to the efforts of The Cradle adoption agency in Evanston.

At one house in Bolingbrook, the holidays look a little different this year. Thirteen-month-old Jayla was alive at this time last year, but she wasn’t yet living with her adoptive parents, Kaitana and Jerard Woods.

“Last Christmas, we were still waiting, waiting, and waiting,” said Kaitana Woods.

The Woodses prayed for their daughter for years. When things didn’t work out biologically, they made the decision to adopt.

“It takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of thought,” Kaitana Woods said of the process of adoption. “It takes a lot of love.”

The Woodses’ adoption is one of about 40 in which Evanston’s well-known adoption agency The Cradle was involved last year.

Counselor Katie Gattone helped create the Woods family after a lot of paperwork and a home study.

“So the home study consists of interviews with the family, them taking some classes, reference checks, background checks,” said adoption counselor Katie Gattone.

The Cradle has practiced the procedure thousands of times. The organization celebrates its centennial in 2023 – with 100 years of adoptions.

“It’s an opportunity to look back, but also just the celebrate the future and what we’re going to do going forward,” Gattone said.

Expanding therapy services is one of the main goals. Others include starting an adoption podcast and launching an interactive adoption story website.

As for little Jayla’s story, it started this past New Year’s Eve. Mom and dad got the news that she was theirs.

“I just said honey, we’re parents! And she started boo-hooing,” said Jerard Woods.

“After we got past the shock of excitement, after that, my first words were, ‘We don’t even have a car seat!'” said Kaitana Woods.

The Woodses had been expecting to be paired with a pregnant woman. But Jayla had already been born, and four days after the call, her daughter was home.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” said Kaitana Woods.

“Nope,” said Jerard Woods. “That’s how it was supposed to be.”

Lauren Victory

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