Love Knows No Bounds

Love Knows No Bounds

Love knows no bounds, as Chuck and Allison generously share their journey into parenthood:

“Pearl joined our family through adoption. When you start the process of adoption, they tell you every adoption is different and that you shouldn’t expect anything. So, of course, we went online to see what most adoptions are like.

For most people, you are paired with a birthmother a few months before the birth so that you have some time to get ready. Then, you spend a couple weeks in the place where your baby is born doing paperwork and your family gets to go home. And for a lot of people that is what happens... but not for us and Pearl.

We received a phone call we had been waiting on for years: we had been chosen to become parents. However, we did not have a few months to get ready. Our daughter was already two days old. She was in the hospital 200 miles away and she had been born premature at 27 weeks.

That night we learned more about Pearl. She was born at 2 pounds, 7 ounces but had fallen to just under 2 pounds. She was on a CPAP machine for her breathing, a feeding tube, the central line, and was in an incubator. Of course, this scared the heck out of us, but we were told that she was doing great considering her birth situation. We were told that she would probably be in the hospital for 3 months, meaning that we would be in for an extended stay... and we would be meeting her in 3 days.

The next day was one of the most hectic of our lives: we both went into work to wrap things up and tell people we would be out for a while—a few weeks for Chuck and a duration for me. We notified our family and friends, put the mail on hold, found someone to watch our dog, and did the piles of paperwork that needed to be done. But the most important task that we needed to accomplish that day was finding a place to stay. The most important thing we could do for Pearl was be there, not an hour away. Our social worker from the adoption agency mentioned the Ronald McDonald House, so we reached out and thankfully were able to get a room.

We arrived at the House an hour before we were due to meet Pearl for the first time. We instantly felt welcomed and supported. We went up to our room to drop off our stuff and there was a lovely gift bag of things for Pearl: books, outfits, and helpful advice for the parents of a NICU baby. These were the first “baby things” we had gotten, our first little mini baby shower.

After getting settled in, we walked over to meet Pearl. The fact that we were a 15 minute walk from our daughter would be so helpful over the next few months because we knew we could be there in a moment if we needed to—no hassle or traffic or parking—just stopping by whenever was most convenient.

But that first day we didn’t know what to expect. After the longest 15 minutes of our lives, we were brought in to meet her. She was so small, smaller than our hands put together, but everyone was talking about what a fighter she was. They let us hold her that night and we could tuck her into our shirts so we could cuddle and bond. We knew our lives would never be the same.

The next few months brought many things: tests and treatments, health scares and health milestones and improvements for Pearl, and with us through the entire journey was the Ronald McDonald House. It was a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the hospital, a place where we could rest and re-coup, so that we were ready to be there emotionally for our daughter.

After a long day of doctors and machines, coming home to a place of quiet was amazing. The home-cooked meals prepared by local volunteers was such a relief, taking another layer of stress off of us. After Chuck returned to work, it would have been easy for me to become more isolated and alone. However, being able to come back to the House with all the comforts of home made me feel safe and supported (even when I was alone).

As the weeks went by, Pearl continued to exceed the expectations of her doctors. When we first arrived, we were expecting at least three months at the hospital. However, about six weeks into our stay, they began talking about when we could take her home. As you may imagine, there is lots of paperwork when you take a baby home for adoption. So our first few nights together as a complete family were spent in our new home away from home: the Ronald McDonald House.

I don’t remember getting much sleep in those first few nights. I think every time she made a noise I ran to the bassinet to check on her. I do remember the comfort I felt, knowing that we were all together in that place. It felt fitting she joined us there because even though she will not remember those nights, we always will.

We were told that every adoption story is different. Ours is a story of sudden changes, of doctors and nurses who did everything for our baby, late nights and early mornings in the NICU, hospital food and meals cooked by local college kids, coffee in the morning in the common areas with other families getting ready for the day at the Ronald McDonald House. We stayed there for 58 days as Pearl grew stronger and healthier. They were some of the most stressful 58 days of our lives but during that time, we knew that the House would do whatever they could to make our lives easier.

Pearl may not remember her time at the Ronald McDonald House but she will know the story. She will know how much the House means to us and how we can never thank you enough for your generosity and support. Thank you.”

Sign up to stay involved

Make a difference for families in need

Every day, families face the challenge of having a child in the hospital, and your generosity helps Ronald McDonald House Charities of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts keep them together. Learn more about our programs and join our community of supporters.