In 1985, as a college student, I was introduced to the painful reality of formerly abused and neglected kids trapped in a broken foster care system. The church where I was serving as an intern, launched the first Royal Family KIDS Camp where these kids experience a week of love and lifelong memories provided by caring adults who give a week of vacation to pour into their lives. I had never seen a week make such a difference in the lives of kids who lacked something most of us take for granted…. Some form of a safe home and loving family.
Something changed in me through that experience. A fire was lit that has never smoldered…. in fact, it has grown exponentially ever since. My career has been shaped by a number of great adventures launching and supporting new church and non-profit organizations that are transforming the lives of people who lack hope in various ways. The margins of my time, passion, and energy have been given for the last 33 years to a growing number of initiatives that serve kids without families and the heroic adults who stand in the gap to offer them another chance through foster care, adoption, mentorship, or by launching initiatives that provide other critical kinds of wraparound support.
In 26 years of marriage, Kristin and I have experienced the heart-wrenching challenges and life-transforming rewards of kinship care, foster care, and adoption. We learned why so many families bail out of this sacrificial calling. The truth is, no family could ever really fully prepare themselves for the pain, isolation, and secondary trauma that often comes with the long and unpredictable healing journey these kids are on to try to repair trauma they have experienced by no fault of their own.
Navigating these challenges under our own roof and fighting to find every source of support available has only strengthened our resolve to support people who are on the front lines of this critical fight for hundreds of thousands of kids in our own country who remain mostly invisible in our culture. We have been blessed to discover countless ways to fill gaps of support for kids in the system, teens who are trying to successfully emancipate from the system with no support, families who are stepping up to provide homes, and non-profit organizations that have taken on the task of providing services to these kids and families.