Two childhood sweethearts who have been married for 53 years opened their home to about 100 girls. Ann and Al Hill became foster parents to these girls after their two biological children went off to college and their home felt empty. Having fostered nearly 100 girls over three decades, the two retired from work and fostering last year to enjoy their old age.
The pair are originally from Georgia but now live in Cincinnati where their love blossomed when they were high school sophomores. They share a unique bond. When Al was drafted into the military, serving in Vietnam, Ann sent him baked goods and since then, he has adored her cooking.
Al, after his time in the military, worked as a bus driver and manager for 37 years. In the 1990s when their daughters left for college and their home in Kennedy Heights felt empty, they decided to become foster parents, welcoming strangers into their home and caring for them like their own.
The pair fostered these nearly 100 girls mostly teenagers for three decades before hanging up their boots last year. They were content giving these girls home for so many years. “You know what you learn? There are so many people with nowhere to go,” said Al.
Ann was the tougher foster parent and her husband always supported her decisions. She was the one the girls would call anytime they needed anything.
“We were a team,” Ann said. “That’s how we did it.”
Al is 79 and Ann is 78. Old age has robbed them of the names of some of the girls. But what they clearly remember is that they were there for these teenagers when they needed them the most, making their home a home for everybody.
Admittedly, they cannot save every teen. Some remained stubborn, others stole from them and some even run away but they were still committed to loving and caring for them.
Today, some of the girls come home during the holidays and for Thanksgiving dinner while others give the Hills a call to check in on them.
In August last year, the couple suffered a personal loss when one of their daughters, Rhonda, aged 46, died from cancer. Ann wears a necklace with Rhonda’s picture on it.
For now, the Hills are enjoying their retirement from fostering, and musing over the memories they can recall of their daughters, both foster and biological.