An Arkansas couple has adopted seven siblings ahead of Christmas – to make the festive season even more special for them.
Terri and Michael Hawthorn, from Hot Springs, are no stranger to living in a full House.
They have four adult children of their own, have previously adopted two toddlers, and have had more than 80 foster kids living with them over the past six years.
The couple wasn’t always interested in adopting kids but everything changed when they legally took in siblings Korgen and Haizlee, aged one and three respectively in April.
They so fell in love with the pair that they decided to adopt a set of seven siblings who had been living in foster care for nearly 3 years.
The seven siblings which the couple adopted on December 3 include – a 15-year-old, an 11-year-old, a pair of 10-year-old twins, nine-year-old twins and an eight-year-old.
Michael Hawthorn told Yahoo: ‘My wife finally decided she wanted to have some younger kids in the home instead of teenagers all the time, and I said, “We’ll do it for a couple of years, but we’re not gonna adopt any, so don’t get that in your mind.” Well, we ate our words there.’
It’s a miracle for the siblings to get adopted in such a loving family just before Christmas.
Kyndal Hawthorn, of the adopted children, said: ‘It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning.’
Dawson Hawthorn, the eldest of the siblings said: ‘It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else.’
The family knew of the children for the last 3 years. ‘The 10-year-old twins, this is gonna be their third Christmas with us,’ Michael said.
‘The mom’s rights had been terminated over a year ago. They come from a very rough situation. Both parents on drugs. Very unhealthy situation that they were in,’ he added.
The siblings, however, weren’t living a great life. They moved to 5 different families within just 3 years and would often sleep hungry at night.
‘The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,’ Kyndal Hawthorn said to TV11.
‘We didn’t have a can opener, and they’d give us the cans that we didn’t know how to open. So, sometimes we just didn’t eat,’ she added.
The couple told the siblings about the great news just before Thanksgiving last month.
‘We told them the Sunday before Thanksgiving at church we were adopting them. They were in tears, a little jumping up and down. Very excited,’ Terri said.
And thanks to the couple’s kind-hearted gesture, they all are a happy family now.
‘The first day they were in our house they started calling us Mom and Dad and probably the second day they started telling me they loved me. And I looked at my wife and I said, “I’m in trouble,”‘ Michael said.
‘When I got here I was like, “Oh my gosh, we get our own beds,”‘ Layna Hawthorn said. Her sibling Kyndal said: ‘This has been the best Christmas I could ever have, actually knowing I have a mom and dad.’
‘This is a blessing, they are a blessing. Every day these kids wake up and they are giggling and they are happy, and you see the smiles on their faces, that’s what makes this worth it,’ Terri said.
‘We hope this will give other opportunities and people will consider opening their homes to foster care and adoption. There is such a big need for families in Arkansas, and we will be the first to tell you, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Lots of prayer and love is what made this possible,’ she added.