08 Aug The Delapena Family
We live in Washington State and we adopted our son, Dexter, in 2015. Through our local agency’s partnership with an agency out of Portland, Maine, 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 Medical 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 of weeks beyond what we had planned. Our apartment back home in Washington was sitting vacant while we sat in the hospital in Maine. Because we hadn’t anticipated such a long stay, our rental car had to be returned to Boston long before our son would be discharged. Knowing our situation, one of our nurses suggested we contact RMHC of Maine to see about staying there.
Being given a room at RMHC of Maine was a small victory in the longer, larger battle that was continually forcing us uphill every step of the way. The staff and volunteers welcomed us. We could walk back and forth to the hospital so we didn’t need to extend our car rental, and we had all the comforts of home including comfortable beds, warm meals, and a place to shower. Our son was discharged 3 weeks exactly after he was born. We brought him back to Ronald McDonald House and could stay a few extra days while we waited for all 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 visit the Portland House. We brought Dexter back to 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.