We live in Washington State and we adopted our son, Dexter, in 2015. Through our local agency’s partnership with an agency that used to work out of Portland, ME, we were matched with our son’s birth parents in January of 2015, and we traveled to Maine shortly before his due date in April.
Our son was born at Maine Med in Portland and would need to be hospitalized in the Continuing Care Unit at Maine Med for several weeks. We were also faced with the logistics of extending our stay in Maine a couple weeks beyond what we had planned. Our apartment was sitting vacant while we were sitting 24/7 in the hospital; our rental car had to be returned to the Boston airport long before our son would be discharged. Knowing our situation, one of the nurses at Maine Med told us about “Ronnie’s” and suggested we contact the Portland House to see about staying there. Being given a room at the Ronald McDonald House was like a small victory in the longer, larger battle that was continually forcing us uphill every step of the way. The staff welcomed us; we could walk back and forth to the hospital so we didn’t need to extend our car rental; we had comfortable beds and a shower.
Our son was discharged 3 weeks exactly after he was born. We brought him back to Ronald McDonald House and were allowed to stay a few extra days while we waited for all of the paperwork to be approved so we could finally bring him home to Washington.
I can’t say enough about having a place to call home when we were so far away from our home and or families during one of the most difficult times we’ve experienced as a family. Our lives were full of chaos and uncertainty and Ronald McDonald House felt like a refuge from all of that.
We visited Maine shortly after our son’s first birthday so we could see his birth parents and also so we could visit the Portland House. We brought Dexter back to the what was the first roof over his head after leaving the hospital. We volunteered as Guest Chefs and made dinner for the families staying there.
When we left Maine the first time, we made a promise to ourselves that every time we come back to visit, we would volunteer at the Portland House. And we would make sure Dexter understood what that place means to our family and teach him how to pay it forward.