With cartoons playing in the background, Christiana Barton tickles a one-year-old boy while two older kids watch and Barton's husband cuddles a four-month-old on the couch. It looks like a typical family trying to entertain four kids under the age of five. But the sing-a-longs of "Baby Shark" and silly giggles highlight a personal mission for Barton.
"I never want them to go through what I went through never in my life, never," said Barton.
Barton immigrated to the United States from the West African nation of Ghana five years ago. She describes her life before that as a struggle, coming from a poor family.
"I have been through a lot, I suffered a lot," she said.
Barton said her journey lead her and her husband, who was born in the U.S., to become licensed foster parents.
The vast majority of foster homes are licensed through private child placing agencies. The one that licensed the Barton family, Benevolent House, confirms the Barton's have cared for 10 children since last June. Four are currently placed in their home.
"When she was granted the right to remain in this country, she was so overwhelmed with gratitude that she turned immediately to helping those in need who are here," said Barton's immigration attorney Paul Zoltan. "She felt that this was her best way to repay this nation for its generosity, for doing no less than saving her life."
Zoltan said Barton is a permanent U.S. resident who can soon apply for U.S. citizenship.
"Unsurprisingly, that person often finds a way of saying thank you," Zoltan said.
"The story of those immigrants is very seldom heard, but very often lived," he added.
Barton's husband, Willie Barton, said the family wants to care for kids who need a home.
"It's the right thing to do to help," he said.
Willie Barton is a local truck driver who works nights. Christiana Barton stays home with the kids, who currently range in age from four months old to four years old.
"I want people to know that we all can do something good with love," said Christiana Barton. "No matter who you are. Even though you are poor, you can still do something good for somebody."