In our journey to adopt our daughter, Jamie, my husband and I made a stop at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in St. Petersburg, and it changed our lives. We live in Pennsylvania, and we were overjoyed when we learned that we would be adopting a baby girl, who would be born in Florida. Luckily we have family in South Florida, so we headed down a few weeks before the due date to ensure we were there in time.
Our little girl was born and then transferred immediately to the All Children’s Hospital (ACH) NICU to deal with withdrawal from prescription drugs. We did not know what to expect in terms of how long we would be there, but when we were told at a minimum it would be five weeks, sheer panic came across my husband and me. Our first thought was, “How were we going to pay to live for five weeks in a hotel?” As my husband was reassuring me that we would somehow make it all work, one of our helpful nurses told us to contact social services at ACH to see if there was a room available at the Ronald McDonald House. Not only did they have a room for us that day, but the House they sent us to is right inside a building attached to the hospital (RMH Central).
To say those five weeks were the most difficult that we have experienced in our lives is an understatement. However, having somewhere to lay my head late at night and three meals to eat on a daily basis was far beyond anything we could imagine. Not only did RMH provide a comforting place to sleep, amazing food, and lots of sweets, but there was always a friendly volunteer or employee who there to offer hugs and ask about Jamie and her progress.
I met wonderful families who were in more difficult situations than we were in, and they all supported each other. There was also another couple staying at RMH that was adopting a little girl and going through the same experience we were. They have become lifelong friends of ours. Without the Ronald McDonald House, I’m not sure how we would have gotten through those long, difficult five weeks.
I wish we lived closer to this special Ronald McDonald House to give back to the home that got us through such a tough time in our lives. However, my entire family and I have made it our mission to help local RMHs across the country. Jamie has touched our lives and the lives of many others in ways we could not have imagined. We are blessed, and we give our thanks to everyone at the Ronald McDonald House for their help and support throughout this entire journey. Our adoption was not easy, but our stop along the way at the Ronald McDonald House made the journey so much better.