In preparation for baby Amelia’s arrival, we arranged for her delivery at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. Amelia arrived on November 11, 2013, and she underwent her first heart surgery just nine days later. During the long weeks after her surgery, Derik and I took turns staying with Amelia in her hospital room and going “home” to sleep at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. We were so grateful for the comfort and community of the House.
We spent the entire holiday season at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas last year. The build up to the holidays is such a sweet time there! The House was decorated beautifully. And there were so many generous families and volunteer groups cooking dinner and planning special holiday activities for the families staying at the House. One group even brought Santa Claus to deliver presents to the children.
As a mom, you hope your first Christmas with your child will be special. I feel so blessed we got to have that. On December 23rd, at six-weeks old, Amelia was discharged from the hospital. We couldn’t have asked for a better gift! We were so happy to bring our baby “home” to spend Christmas with us at the Ronald McDonald House. Our family was in town and we all celebrated together in the wonderful atmosphere of the House.
Beyond making our holidays special, we also really appreciated the sense of community we felt. Having a support system is so important – especially during the hard times. For us, the Ronald McDonald House was a great place to be during some of the toughest times in our lives. We really bonded with some of the other families through this shared experience. We stay in touch with one family in particular, checking-in regularly to see how everyone is doing. It is a bond we will share forever.
Today, Amelia is doing really well. She turned one last month and her doctors are happy with her progress. She will need another surgery in a few years, but for now she is a happy baby and we are having so much fun! We are looking forward to spending this Christmas with Amelia in our own home. But we will always be grateful for the love and great joy of our first Christmas together at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.
Kacy & Derik Thornton