Meet Richard and Judy Ames, a couple who serves on JPII Life Center's Board of Directors and devotes their lives to caring for foster children. Read their inspiring story below:
"We became foster parents after watching a young family at our church in Sugar Land, Texas who fostered infants. We loved how the parish community embraced them in prayer, respite care, and sharing baby equipment and supplies. We had hoped to have another child and discovered after several years that maybe God had something different in mind for us. A foster care social worker from Catholic Charities spoke at Mass one morning, and we felt called to at least check it out. After visiting with her, praying for God’s blessing, and discussing with our 12-year-old daughter, we decided to give foster care a try.
Our first foster baby, a 4-pound baby girl named Faith, joined our family only days after we were licensed by Catholic Charities. Our parish family shared baby furniture and gifted us with diapers, clothing, and other necessary supplies. We all fell head over heels in love with Baby Faith. She blessed our family for nine months and was then adopted.
We grieved her departure even though we know she would be well-loved and cared for. That is the difficulty of fostering. You fall deeply in love, and then you must say “goodbye”. We are supposed to love these precious children as though they are ours, but remember that they will eventually leave - either to be reunited with birth families or be adopted. We take time to honor our grief and then begin again.
Since becoming licensed parents in 1995, we have loved and cared for over 70 babies. God has given us hearts for this, so we have responded with our “yes” as often as possible. He has loved these babies through us. Each baby has changed us for the better, each has left a bit of him or herself imprinted on our hearts, and each has taken a piece of our hearts with them when they move on.
Foster care has probably been our biggest contribution to the pro-life movement. We believe that God saved these babies for a purpose. We hold them in our home and in our hearts for a while, hoping that their time with us gives them a sense of their God-given value and dignity and that they can call on that in times of struggle in their own lives.
One thing we wish people knew about foster care is that you CAN do it. You CAN love a child and survive the sense of loss you experience when he or she leaves your home. You CAN trust that God will cover your grief with his love and his appreciation. And you CAN believe that what you are doing in love is worth the pain of the inevitable loss.
There is joy in loving a child who has had a difficult beginning. There is joy in watching that child thrive with the love and care we give him or her. There is joy in knowing the child is protected and valued during that time. There is peace in knowing that when they leave us, we can continue to pray for them and pray that Mother Mary, St. Joseph, and Jesus will always watch over them.”
"There is joy in loving a child who has had a difficult beginning. There is joy in watching that child thrive with the love and care we give him or her."
- Richard and Judy Ames
Like Richard and Judy, you can bring children and families hope
through foster care, getting involved or supporting the JPII Life Center