Greg and Amy Richardson

Summer of 2016

A Special Calling For The Youngest Of Them

Ugandan orphans, little babies abandoned at birth, gave Amy Richardson the inspiration she needed to become a foster parent to infants and toddlers suffering from severe medical conditions. It was during a 2011 mission trip to the East African country that Richardson and her family visited an orphanage filled with babies who had been left to die because of a disability or other issue. After that, Richardson, who had put off fostering because she didn’t think she had the patience to handle older foster kids, realized she does have what it takes to care for the youngest of them.

2016 Foster Family of the Year

Now, the nursery walls in her Clay Center, Kansas, home are filled with photos of 14 children, each a temporary resident of the Richardson home and each younger than three years old.

“The longest we’ve had a child is a year and a half,” she said. “I prefer to keep just one at a time because these babies have special needs and I take them back and forth to Children’s Mercy Hospital (Kansas City, Missouri) quite a bit. Although we’re licensed to keep newborn to three years old, I feel my ministry is especially for newborn to 1-year-olds with medical problems.”

Those problems can include broken bones, heart conditions, and shaken baby syndrome. Many are in police protective custody. Her husband Greg is also licensed, and he and their children - Bo, 18, and Paige, 16 - help as much as possible. Amy, though, provides the bulk of the care. Because of the severity of their medical issues, the babies can’t go to daycare, so she stays home with them full-time – often caring for them through the night.

2016 Foster Family of the Year

“We had one infant with broken bones who couldn’t lie down in the crib because of the pain,” she said. “So for the first month, I sat up all night rocking a baby.”

For many foster parents, knowledge of the traumas foster children have experienced can conjure emotions difficult to handle. For some, it’s even harder when those children are infants.


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