As an elementary school teacher working with a high-risk student population, Mary Jones understood more than most the many needs of children in the foster care system. Never one to just stand by, while still in her mid-twenties and single, she adopted a daughter. Then she and her first husband had two biological children. When Mary married her second husband John many years later, she found in him a like-minded and compassionate partner who genuinely loved caring for children, and he became a surrogate parent to her children.
Interested in providing even more children with love, security and a good home, Mary and John came to DePelchin Children’s Center in 2015 to become foster parents, with the hope of eventually adopting. Since then, they have provided a loving and caring environment for five children, even through the adversity of one of Houston’s worst natural disasters – Hurricane Harvey.
Mary and John Jones had just completed extensive renovations on their home made necessary by the “Memorial Day Flood” of 2016. After a year of living in whichever part of the house was not being repaired, the family was finally able to say goodbye to contractors and take back their home. But when Hurricane Harvey struck one short month later in August 2017, their house was destroyed once again. The devastating floodwaters that accompanied the storm reached almost to their roof. The family lost everything.
Staying strong in the face of adversity, John, Mary and the two foster children they were caring for – with hopes to adopt – sought refuge first in a hotel room, then transitioned into a rental house, all while continuing to pay the mortgage on their flooded home. Throughout the many changes and challenges to their lives, caring for infant Caron and toddler Camille remained the Jones’ top priority.
Tammy McShepherd, their DePelchin Clinical Case Manager, provided a great deal of emotional support to the family and helped communicate their needs to agency staff who were gathering supplies for DePelchin families affected by the storm. Through these efforts, the Jones were provided with cleaning supplies, new clothing for the children, resources to secure new furniture for their rental home, money to cover a percentage of rent while their home was being repaired, and once they were back in their home, new smoke detectors and a natural gas inspection.
Because of their courage and dedication to their foster children, and with the financial and emotional assistance provided by the DePelchin’s Children’s Center and the Center’s Healing from Harvey Rebuild Texas Fund grants, the Jones have now fulfilled their dream of adopting Camille and Carson. They’re true #HarveyHeroes.