“Noah is gregarious and full of joy,” said Michaela. “He wakes up in the morning laughing and goes to bed laughing— and of course, peppers a LOT of laughing throughout the day.
“One of his great gifts is his very high emotional intelligence,” said Dave. “He is able to connect with others in a way I haven’t otherwise encountered.”
While Noah’s personality is larger than life, his medical needs are extensive, and a lot went into training Dave and Michaela and Noah’s caregivers before them. So when Dave and Michaela embarked on the journey to foster Noah after having all of their questions answered, they knew they were signing up for a long term commitment to take care of his medical needs.
“I remember being really nervous,” said Dave. “We had zero parenting experience and zero medical experience.”
Dave and Michaela committed to weeks of hands-on training at The Children’s Home while working full time in the fall of 2019, and would come from work to The Children’s Home to learn Noah’s care from his tracheostomy to his Gastrostomy Tube and feeding pump, ventilator usage, and more. They were learning on the equipment they would use in their own home, while simultaneously getting to know this vivacious five-year-old.
“The nurses and staff at The Children’s Home were unbelievable,” said Dave. “They were patient when they could tell we needed patience. And they were firm about things that were most important. As our training progressed, we began to feel more confident. We couldn’t have learned these skills on our own, and we use them every day.”
“I remember walking into the first day of training wondering if we could really do this,” said Michaela. “Weeks into our training, I was so nervous to do my first trach change— I was sweating bullets. The nurses were literally alongside me, making sure I was doing it correctly and cheerleading me on. They helped build our confidence— personally and medically throughout this whole process. They invested a lot in our family and cared enormously for our son.”
And so the staff watched Noah, Dave, and Michaela become a family within our Pediatric Specialty Hospital on our Blue unit, and we got to watch Noah create a special bond with his new caregivers.
“Our medical training coincided with Thanksgiving. I think on the surface that may have sounded a little depressing, but I have to tell you it was the nicest Thanksgiving we’ve ever had. Christopher’s Kitchen, a local nonprofit, provided a delicious spread and the staff made it extra jolly. We were so touched by the level of effort that everyone put in to make it special,” Michaela said.
As the staff saw that Dave and Michaela could do all of Noah’s care perfectly on their own, they knew it was time to let Noah go to his new home with his new family.
“I remember the last day that Noah was at The Children’s Home, December 10, 2019, before we brought him home,” said Dave. “The outpouring of love and support from the staff was noticeable every day but especially on that day. Until that point, they had been his family and they’d been a great family to him.”
Noah had spent the day visiting his friends throughout the building. If you were one of his favorites, he hand-signed a wallet-sized photo of himself for you to keep. These photos had been taken to help find Noah a family, but we never needed them. Little did we know at the time that he would be handing them out on the way to his new home.
While we knew we would miss Noah, even though he was staying in the neighborhood, his new beginning with Dave and Michaela reminded us all why a sense of community and family is so important, and why happy endings are so sweet. Finally, Noah had someone to tuck him in, wake him up, take care of him, and love him. That’s all we could really ask for.
If you would like to support families, like The Robbins, who receive free care at The Children’s Home through all of our programs, please consider a donation today.