Golden years: 91-year-old Michigan woman spends a decade fostering 38 children
BURR OAK, Mich. —
Fostering children can be a challenge. One southwest Michigan woman accepted that challenge and even took it to another level.
Ramah Krontz, 91, became a foster parent at the age of 70. Nestled in her home in Burr Oak, she took in 38 different foster children until she was 82 years old.
“It’s pretty neat to be called mama again, at my age especially,” Krontz said as she looked at old photographs of her "foster babies."
Some of her children stayed with her only a few days. Others she cared for, for a few years.
“I love them when they’re newborn and teeny, but they’re so interesting to watch them grow and develop. It’s amazing how much they learn that first year,” she said. “Their first birthday is always special.”
Krontz lives alone, after her husband passed away. The two traveled for five years in a motor home, and then she decided to buy the home on the quiet Burr Oak street. On the walls hang dozens of photos of her foster children.
“I’ve been so blessed to do this,” she said. “They grow so fast.”
She said remembering all her foster children is the easy part.
“The only bad part is when you have to let them go, that’s hard.”
Her family helped by babysitting some of her children, she said, which made the journey a little easier. For anyone thinking about getting involved in foster care, Krontz didn’t hesitate to give advice.
“Just go for it!” she exclaimed. “They need you so badly and it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can tell by me.”
More than two decades after Krontz began her foster parent journey, the mother of five and grandmother to two dozen more, will be honored with the first ever Maura Corrigan Foster Family Lifetime Achievement Award by the Michigan Supreme Court.
“I was really excited when I first found out. Now I’m a little nervous,” she said with a chuckle. “But I think there are some families that deserve it more than I do.”
Corrigan served as a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court from 1998 to 2011 and was the chief justice from 2001 to 2004. The award ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26.
Looking back on her foster care experience, Krontz said she told her family if she would have gotten involved earlier, she probably would have adopted some of her foster children.
“I’d still be doing it, but time catches up with you,” she added, with a smile.