Adalberto Miguel's face scrunches up and reddens as he wails for food.
His delicate fingers curl and his tiny feet still are in their monkey-faced slippers.
Less than a week ago, Adalberto became the first new baby at Pasco's Tri-City Union Gospel Mission. His mother, Jennifer Licon of Richland, isn't the first woman to live in the mission's women's shelter while pregnant. But officials said she is the first to still be living at the mission before and after she gave birth.
Adalberto made his way into the world at 2:40 a.m. Thursday as it was snowing outside. Licon, 36, said they could see the snow outside of their window at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
He was 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches long and already has a head of dark hair. Licon said she was induced at around noon Wednesday.
He and his mother returned to the mission Saturday, to a specially prepared room that his family has to itself. His sisters Abigail, 2 1/2, and Izabel, 4 1/2, share a bunk bed, and Adalberto has a bassinet next to his mother's bunk bed.
"It's been a blessing to be here," Licon said.
Licon and her two daughters have been living at the mission's women's shelter since the day after Christmas.
They lost their home after a fire damaged Licon's in-law's Pasco house July 18. The family was living in the basement of the home.
Licon said she was giving Izabel a shower when a frantic Duncan, her 13-year-old son, told her the side of the house had caught fire. The family got out safely, with Izabel wrapped in a towel.
Later, she said she was told young boys playing with fireworks may have been the cause of the fire.
The Benton Franklin Chapter of the American Red Cross helped the family stay in a hotel for the first few days, then homeowner's insurance paid for the stay, Licon said. After two months in hotels, Licon split up with her husband and stayed with relatives for a while.
Then Licon came to the mission. Duncan, who is too old to stay in the women's shelter, is living with his father for now. He will see his new brother for the first time later this week.
Chariss Warner, a case manager at the women's shelter, said the staff and volunteers at the mission had time to help prepare for Adalberto. They held a baby shower in February for Licon, and among the gifts was a diaper cake, which was made of diapers and baby items like bottles and shampoo, and crowned with several stuffed animals.
In addition to help from the mission's staff and volunteers, Licon said Savannah Doublin, who also is living at the women's shelter, has been helping her care for her children.
Having Adalberto living at the women's shelter is a challenge because he doesn't have all his immunizations yet and has a weaker immune system than adults. And Warner said the ventilation is poor.
Access to the family's room is limited, and hand sanitizer is in ample supply to try to help protect Adalberto.
Izabel was excited to have a new brother, but Licon said it took Abigail longer to be won over. Now, the baby of the family is a fierce protector of her infant brother, even objecting to other people touching his car seat when he is in it.
And, Warner said, Abigail is "binky control."
Izabel and Abigail attend preschool offered by the Washington state Migrant Council. Licon said Adalberto will be in one of the council's programs for infants.
Most of what Adalberto needs has been donated.
Licon said she still needs nursing supplies like a U-shaped nursing pillow and a nursing cover. And clothes for Izabel and Abigail are needed. The girls wear sizes 3 and 5, with shoe sizes 8 and 12.
Finding a job and housing are on the top of Licon's to-do list. She's on waiting lists for public housing with the housing authorities in Pasco and Kennewick. And she's applied for housing help with Community Action Connections but said she will need to reapply for that assistance.
"I'm still waiting," Licon said.
Licon said she'll have about six weeks of recovery before she is cleared to work. She's hoping to find another health information job like her last one and said she'll also apply for the state's WorkFirst program, which offers job training and support.
-- Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; email@example.com