The Zondervans are definitely part of the RMH family! Staying with us for not just one, but two of their children. Parents Adam and Angela can't stress enough the importance of Ronald McDonald House Southwestern Ontario in keeping them together as a family during both of their children's hospitalizations.
The first time Angela and Adam came to the House was for their daughter Adiyah, who was born at 27weeks weighing just 2 lb and 6 oz. The couple already had two other children running around, Auna and Weston, and now found themselves in need of a place to stay close to their baby while allowing them to still care for their other kids. The family ended up staying at the House for 6 weeks and today Adiyah is a healthy toddler, exploring and already picking fights with her older brother. Despite Adiyah's recovery, the family found themselves in need of the House again...
On October 26th, 2013 the Zondervans welcomed a new addition to the family, Silas, who was born at 24 weeks weighing just 1 lb and 9 oz. Familiar with the House from when she stayed just one year eariler, Angela felt security in knowing it would be there to help her family once more. Silas was born with Grade 2 Brain Bleeds and lung complications which required he be put on a ventilator for 8 weeks. During this time Angela and Adam were unable to hold him but were still encouraged by health professionals to make daily visits and stay as close as possible in case of emergency. Silas also needed a PDA Ligation and had laser surgery on his eyes before reaching 3 months old. During this uncertain time, Angela was able to stay steps away from the hospital at the House while Adam stayed home in Clinton, ON to work and care for the other three children. Angela would take trips back home whenever possible, and dad would take trips up to the House and bring the children with him to visit mom and Silas. Adam explained
When you have one child staying in the hospital it is hard to know where you should be. We knew Silas needed attention, but we also have three other children who need their mom and dad.
RMH allowed Adam and Angela to balance between the time they needed to spend at the hospital and the time they needed to spend with their other children.
The Zondervans used the House for 16 weeks, or 112 days, while Silas grew. They were able to witness all their son's progress including being taken off the ventilator and gaining enough strength to be breast fed. The proximity of the House to the hospital really made a big difference, "Doctors like NICU babies to be held every day, and without the House here that would mean me, or my husband, having to drive to London and back home again on a daily basis," Angela explains, "the travel costs, hospital parking costs, meals and everything else would have added up in no time". By having a room at the House, mom and/or dad were able to stay next to Silas every step of the way without having to worry about many of the costs and other stresses associated with having a sick kid in the hospital.
Over the time they have spent at the House, the Zondervan's have had the chance to get to know other families who act as a support system during trying times. As Adam mentions,
There is a mini community here where everyone is equal. Despite where you come from or what you do, everyone is expected to respect and help everyone else, even if it is by doing something as simple as loading the dishwasher.
While the family was thankful for the support of RMH and the families they met, they were also thankful to return home with Silas in late January, 2014.
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