MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lannie Abernathy knows all about adoption first-hand. He was adopted and so was his son. With his unique perspective, he decided to get involved with the Royal Family Kids Camp and became the director.
It's a camp that provides a week of fun for foster children ages seven to 11 years old.
Children like Rodney Jones' adopted siblings. Jones told WREG's Symone Woolridge the pair were in a bad situation so he and his wife decided to adopt them and raise them on their own.
The siblings have attended the camp for years and it's helped. They are now happy and full of life.
Abernathy said some kids have seen what he likes to call "the terrible-awfuls."
"We had a brother and sister that came to us that first year that had witnessed a family member kill their little sister," said Abernathy.
"This year we had a seven-year-old little boy that was in his seventh placement, and that blows my mind."
This is why the Royal Family Kids Camp offers free activities for kids to just be kids. Based on their love for Christ, the camp partners kids with counselors and has activities like chapel services, swimming and even birthday parties.
"Most of these kids have never had their birthday celebrated until they come to Royal Family Kids Camp."
Abernathy said out of the 9,000 foster kids in the state of Tennessee about 2,000 of them are in Shelby County. Some say that number is so high because of our high crime rate.
"We work with children who have been locked in closets, thrown against walls. We work with children whose nightmares are real. We work with kids who have been beaten by two by fours, whipped with bicycle chains and burned with cigarette butts. But for one week, in the cathedral of the outdoors surrounded by God`s people, their hearts are restored, their minds are renewed and hope is birthed into kids again."
Although this camp is just a week Abernathy said he notices a change in the kids mindsets and behaviors, which keeps him fighting for other kids just like them.