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1 of the 186 - The Birth Mother's Love Story

This article is a supplement story to one in our Fall 2023 Newsletter entitled, Geneva’s Calling - Caring for 186 Babies. The late Geneva Agnes fostered babies awaiting adoption for Catholic Charities for over 25 years. If you did not yet read her story, you can read it below.

Seven years ago, the woman cleaning Jada Kurth’s home, Mindi, was dusting and saw a picture of Geneva (Jada’s Nana) on the wall. She asked her name, which Jada shared. Mindi inquired if Geneva had been a foster mother for babies in the nineties, surprising Jada. As Jada shared a bit of Geneva’s story, Mindi’s eyes filled with tears. She had put her baby boy up for adoption in 1989. Until the adoption, Geneva had cared for him. Mindi’s son had always remained in her mind and heart. “There are so many reasons I was able to get through those difficult days and your Nana was one of them. God knew he would be loved and in great hands until he was placed with his mom and dad,” she told Jada. Mindi had prayed one day she and her son would reconnect, but at the time of this conversation with Jada, it had not yet happened. Three years later, however, Mindi received the phone call she had been waiting for. “Mindi and Ryan now have a beautiful relationship, which I am so in awe to witness knowing my Nana’s part of this love story,” said Jada.

Geneva’s Calling - Caring for 186 Babies

Throughout Catholic Charities 80 years of serving the Diocese, those associated with the agency have viewed the work as a ministry. True today and, undoubtedly, true for the late Geneva Agnes, a Sioux City woman who fostered over 186 babies over a span of 25 years, from 1968 to 1993. We reacquainted with Geneva’s story through her granddaughter, Dr. Jada Kurth, whose own family connected with Catholic Charities to adopt needy client families for Christmas. “I truly believe my grandma was called to serve in this way. She showed God's love and grace to so many babies, birth mothers and adoptive families.”

Geneva and husband, John, had fostered a teenage girl together. After John’s death, Geneva carried on as a foster parent by taking newborns into her home. She cared for the babies while the birth mother decided whether to give the child up for adoption or until legal requirements were met for adoption. Typically, Geneva would care for one baby at a time, but on occasion, two stayed with her at once. Often, she would bring a baby to Catholic Charities for adoption placement and take another home the same day. A typical stay in the Agnes home was a couple months. Her longest fostering was 21 months. This baby girl and others with health or physical ailments took longer to place.

In an article in The Globe at the time of Geneva’s retirement from fostering, she shared how she missed the babies when they left but that never overshadowed her happiness in seeing them go to a good home. Geneva’s whole family loved the babies. Jada smiled when relaying how the grandchildren would help select a name to call each while in foster care, choosing names starting with “A” all the way to “Z”, and then back to “A” again.

“My Nana was an inspiration and a beautiful role model. She showed Christ's love in the best way she knew how - by caring for the smallest, the weakest, and in some cases the discarded. She prayed for the birth mothers and prayed for the adoptive parents. She carried all those babies in her heart long after they had been placed and grown up.”

Jada Kurth, Geneva’s Granddaughter

Geneva passed away in 2001. She and John had four children of their own - Carol, Irene, Bob (Jada’s father) and Ed - and 14 grandchildren. Sixteen great grandchildren have been born to the family.

God indeed calls people to ministry, to be his hands and his feet upon this Earth. Whether fostering as Geneva did, bringing joy to Christmas for needy families as Jada and her family do, or by ensuring mental wellness for children and families, as is the focus for Catholic Charities staff today, answering God’s call always gives life exceptional purpose.


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