Barton Family: Joe, Amanda, Anders, Sedric, Carson and Isaiah

As you may know, the Barton family has been providing respite care for foster children over the last year. These kids have been absolutely precious.

Imagine, in the middle of the night, law enforcement comes into your home, apprehends you and/or your spouse. Your children sneak out and see what is going on. In shock, they run and hide. Within minutes a stranger comes to them and says they have to go with them. Your child maybe has two minutes to grab a change of clothes and a favorite stuffed animal, blankie or toy before he is shuffled between big tall policemen and social workers.

Your child gets in the back seat of this stranger’s car, no idea what is going on where he is being taken. All he hears is the social worker making phone calls to more strangers asking if they have room for a couple of kids that night. “They appear to be good kiddos. Mom and dad were taken into custody.” Call after call, nobody can take in some extra kids. For six hours, your children sit in a cold office in just their pajamas, waiting for help. Everything that was safe is now gone. All they have is a few items from home… and maybe each other.

Finally, the social worker tells your children they found somewhere they can stay that is “safe.” Your children are taken to a four-bedroom home to a family with three older kids. More strangers your children are just supposed to trust, miles from everything they knew – their friends, family, house, car, school, parks, toys –  everything that was safe and “normal” is now gone – dropped in a world where someone is going to be paid to look after them.

Will they see you tomorrow, three weeks or three years? Will they be able to see grandpa and grandma again, their friends or neighbors? Mom? Dad? Where are you? We’re all alone!

We can only imagine what this experience could be like for a child. The foster children who come into our home have already been in a safe environment for some time, but we are just another set of strangers they are being sent to stay with.

With the right guidance and care these kids have the potential to be our strongest leaders because of the resiliency they have been forced to experience.

Unfortunately, like many children in this generation, a majority of kids in foster care feel forgotten, unloved and unwanted. There is no “normal” for these kids. Whether they are in kinship care, living with relatives or traditional foster care, everything these children knew, not only in the physical, but for most their ability to dream, believe and hope, has been taken away. This is where Royal Family Kids is making a difference!

Change the Life of a Child

Royal Family Kids is an organization that reaches out to children who have been abused and neglected and are now in foster care. Through mentoring programs, clubs and summer camps, Royal Family Kids creates moments in the lives of these children that will positively change these kids forever.

At Royal Family Kids Camp children receive one on one attention from safe, caring adults. For one week, instead of operating in survival mode, they can be a kid. With tea parties, crafts, woodworking, birthday parties (one of the highlights of RFKC as many foster children have never had a birthday party, let alone received a birthday present), music, dress up and much more, these kids can feel “normal” and once again dream, believe and find new hope for their future.

This is what I (Amanda) have the opportunity to be a part of and am looking for others like you to help make a difference in the lives of these children. With election season in full swing, so many people are looking to the government to take care of “these people” and be the answer. Although the government can do it’s part to help these children survive, I think it’s pretty obvious, they cannot provide the resources to help these children thrive, dream and hope in order to reach the potential they were created for. You are the answer. You can choose how to make a difference in this world. You can help break the cycle.

As I’ve talked with educators this Fall, our classrooms are filling up with children who live for the moment, some because their lives have been catered to, but many because they live in survival mode on a day to day basis and are forced to look out for themselves. They do not realize the potential within them, they have lost the innocence to dream and trust. They have experienced disappointment, uncertainty, change and feeling alone.

Create Life Changing Moments for Children

Years ago, many were somewhat offended – myself included – when Hillary Clinton stated, “It takes a whole village to raise a child” in reference to America. America, where we have solid families who take care of each other. That was my reality and I am privileged to have parents who told me how special and unique I was and that I was created with purpose. Parents who encouraged me to dream, experience life and try new things. Parents who would guide me, teach me, lead me. But, even my parents relied on friends and community to help me grow.

As we raise our children, we come together as a community to grow the next generation. The village is made up of people. The government can make the laws, but it is the people who are to care for one another.

It does take a village to raise a child.

It takes the people of the community to pour into the lives of it’s children. I encourage you to speak life into the children in your circle of influence. Help them dream. Give them opportunities to realize the potential within them. Be their biggest

fans! Make a difference where you are, and if you can, I’d love to have you make a difference in the lives of foster children at Royal Family Kids Camp in the Sioux Empire, too.

Create New Cycles in Lives of Children in Foster Care

We are doing a big fundraising drive this week as we need $5,000 to make a down payment on the camp facility by Wednesday, September 12, to reserve the dates. The budgeted cost for the camp is right around $30,000. If you are able to make a financial contribution, credit card payments can be made HERE through PayPal or you can mail a check to:

Royal Family Kids Camp Sioux Empire
PO Box 888
Brandon, SD 57005

One last way to be a big part of Royal Family Kids Camp Sioux Empire is to like our Facebook page. We’ll be posting camp updates. If you want to stay in the loop, be sure to like our Facebook page.

Thanks for hearing my heart as I shed a few tears in writing this. Know that you are special and have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many, but it’s up to you to make the most of what you have where you are.

Blessings to you and your family!

Amanda Barton