We came to Fort Worth from South Carolina in order to adopt our son, Owens, who was born prematurely at 28 weeks. He has chronic lung disease, was 2lb, 14oz at birth, and needed time in order to develop and grow. Due to his condition and the legal aspects of the adoption, we came with very basic information about him and his diagnosis.
Our lawyer suggested that we would need to prepare to stay for upwards of a month. Given the expense of the adoption and knowing how expensive accommodations, food, and travel can be, we were not sure how we could pull off staying for a month. Thankfully, the Cook Children’s case worker referred us to RMHFW, and told us that we should be able to get a room within a few days. We spent two nights in the NICU before we were able to get into RMHFW. As far as NICUs go, Cook Children’s is very good. But there is really only room for one person to sleep at a time, and there is no privacy. The constant stream of nurses, doctors, RT’s, and others do not do well for quiet, unbroken sleep, or much privacy. There is little storage room, and the showers and bathrooms are shared with other NICU parents. We knew that just a few days of living in the NICU would wear us down. Once we got into the RMHFW, we were amazed at the size and quality of the rooms, dining facility, and other accommodations provided. We finally had some privacy! We slept very well that first night.
Over the course of his stay in the NICU, Owens ended up having several major complications. We ended up living at RMHFW for four months. I say “living” instead of “staying” because after a few weeks, RMHFW became our home-away-from-home. The staff are all very caring and thoughtful, and supported us in more ways than just running the House. They laughed with us, cried with us, and helped us keep going on when we were too tired to go on. Mac, Luke, and Kyro were our comfort dogs when we just needed a furry friend. The generosity of the volunteers at the House blew us away time and time again. The amount of food, gifts, events, and caring people that came through those doors was amazing! We have never experienced anything like it. We were on first name basis with many of the repeat food group volunteers, and enjoyed their encouragement as well as the food.
It was very difficult to be away from home for so long, even with a couple of visits from family. One of our most cherished memories will be the other residents we came in contact with and were able to befriend. They prayed with us and gave us the emotional support we needed. We were happy to return the favor! It really was kind of a big family.
RMHFW is not just a place to stay. It is a support network of amazing people, residents and volunteers alike. RMHFW was literally the difference between being able to adopt Owens, and not. We could not have done it without them.