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When new parents traveled to St. Louis to adopt their son, RMHC St. Louis provided a home-away-from-home.

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Brooks was born on October 14, 2023, at St. Louis Children’s Hospital at 10:43 AM and immediately transferred to the NICU. His parents, Mucki and Jacob, patiently awaited his arrival in Gass Lake, Michigan, to meet their soon-to-be adopted son for the first time. In the whirlwind of receiving the call that baby Brooks was on his way, the Sobania family hit the road to St. Louis for the almost 500-mile drive straight through to be there.

 Mucki and Jacob were overjoyed to meet Baby Brooks for the first time with his biological mother and father.

 “I can’t describe it; it wasn’t anxiety, but excitement to meet our son. Seeing his little hands and feet was wonderful,” says Mucki. “Jacob described him as a four-pound angel. We couldn’t stop looking at him.”

Brooks was in the NICU for the next three weeks, growing stronger until he was ready to head to his new home in Michigan. Meanwhile, Mucki and Jacob needed somewhere to stay close to Brooks. Thankfully, there was a room at the West Pine Ronald McDonald House just minutes from the hospital.

 “Not having to worry about where to stay to be close to Brooks was such a great help. We are so happy we didn’t have to go into debt to stay near our son, especially when they shared with us that he needed to be in the NICU longer than we first anticipated,” says Mucki. “We didn’t want to leave his side, but the nurses and staff at RMHC reassured us we had to take care of ourselves through the process, too. The Ronald McDonald House was our sense of normalcy.”

Mucki and Jacob shared how difficult it was to balance being there for their son, finding time to be outside, and having hot meals back at the West Pine House. The staff always made it a little easier. They described it as a sense of community both at the House and the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside the hospital.

“The Family Room was just steps away from his room. It was the perfect quiet space to meet with Brooks’s appointed lawyer to discuss the next steps with the adoption,” says Mucki. “The people who volunteer in the Family Room want to help; it’s awesome. I was so happy to have a place to get away from the beeping, walk through the halls to go somewhere, and sometimes there were even freshly baked cookies.”

In November, the Sobania Family was ready to pack and head home to Michigan. The anticipated 7-hour trip ended up taking close to 14 hours. Mucki and Jacob shared that traveling all that way with a preemie is a challenge.

Now, the new parents are experiencing the joys of caring for a newborn, living their dream as a family, with the adoption to be finalized in May 2024. We couldn’t be happier for them as they continue their journey.

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