Reflections from a Family Advocacy Day alumni family

Two years ago my family was honored to be able to attend Family Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. My son was born with a cleft lip and palate. At this time two years ago, he did not have health insurance, even though his father and I did. We were excited to share our story with our representatives and with others that we met.

All of the food was great and arranged in a beautiful fashion. The party was AMAZING! We met so many people and got to do things that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. Unfortunately, it rained during the tour of the city so we weren’t able to get off the bus and see everything. We had planned to go to the zoo during a break in planned activities, but since it was raining off and on, the boys decided to take a nap before the big party. I went out for a long walk and showed myself around the city. It was a great time that I would have loved to share with the boys, but it was also nice to do it by myself and be able to take it all in with no “Mommy can we go”, “pick me up, I’m tired of walking”, “I want to go back to the hotel”, etc.

The day had come to meet with our representatives before we knew it and that also meant it was soon time to go home. The day was a long one that involved a lot of walking. We met with Rep. Chellie Pingree first, who was only able to say “hi” and take a few pictures before she had to leave. We told our story to her office staff who took notes to pass along to her. Next we met with Senator Susan Collins, who took time to hear our story and take pictures. She was so nice and kind. Soon after our return, her staff contacted me and they worked with our state to get my son health insurance. Without Senator Collins and her staff, our son would still be uninsured. We owe her so much! It goes to show that our Representatives are working for us and do care about the people of the states they serve. She even sent us an autographed photo with my family and her together. Our last meeting was with Senator Olympia Snowe, although she was unable to meet with us as she was in meetings. Her staff listened to us and took notes to pass along.

Our plane was delayed a lot and we had to keep busy in the airport. Luckily we brought along our DVD player and there was a little cubicle with an outlet so that our son could watch movies. We changed him into his jammies in the airport so that he could sleep on the plane and be ready for bed once we got home.

It was a busy few days, but it was all worth it. Everything was put together amazingly well – scheduled and planned so that we knew where we had to be and when. It was great to have a Children’s Hospital Boston staff member with us during our meetings. They we so helpful and told us everything to expect and we really felt prepared going into our meetings. My family is truly grateful to Children’s Hospital Boston for all that they have done for our son, including this amazing trip to Washington D.C.

– Erin (Sebastien’s mom; Family Advocacy Day 2009)

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