Arkansas couple who fostered 80 children in the past adopt set of seven siblings just in time for Christmas
Michael and Terri Hawthorn have given a new home to a set of seven siblings with a rough upbringing just in time for the holidays, and they couldn't be happier!
An Arkansas couple with four children of their own and who had housed more than 80 foster kids in the past made Christmas special for a set of seven siblings — by adopting them.
While Terri and Michael Hawthorn had only just legally adopted one-year-old Korgen and three-year-old Haizlee this past April, they toiled to ensure that they could adopt seven other siblings who were not related to the toddlers.
Terri and Michael of Hot Springs had first fostered two of the seven siblings, 10-year-old twins, and then eventually decided they wanted to adopt them, as well as their five other siblings. The Daily Mail reports that on December 3, after several months of anxious waiting, the papers for the adoption finally went through, making the siblings the new extensions of the rapidly growing family.
Consisting of an eight-year-old, a pair of nine-year-old twins, a pair of 10-year-old twins, an 11-year-old, and a 15-year-old, the siblings were subjected to a rough upbringing as both their parents were drug users.
They would go on to spend three years in the foster care system — or a total of 1,035 days, according to a sign they made when their adoption by the Hawthorns became official.
In Michael's own words to Yahoo, adoption was not something on their mind when they first decided they would foster some young children in need. Referring to how they used to host foreign exchange students in the past, he said, "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."
They met the 10-year-old twins over three years ago and fall in love with them, with Michael revealing that because they weren't from his county, the Department of Human Services kept trying to move them out of their home. The twins would spend the last three Christmases at the Hawthorn home, though in between, DHS moved them to other homes.
Michael said he and his wife only learned about the twins' other siblings much later, and that as they fought to get the twins back, they decided they would take in the others as well. "We didn’t get all seven moved into our home until Feb. 9, 2018," he said. "That was the battle. Once we got them back into our house Feb. 9, that was the real mountain we had finally climbed."
Their birth mother's rights had already been terminated over a year ago, with one of the siblings, Kyndal, divulging the horrific conditions under which they previously survived to local news station THV11. "The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips," she said. "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."
After moving them into their home in February, the next step was to make them officially Hawthorns. In September, the couple committed to their decision to go through with the adoption, though they would only reveal the news to the siblings much later in November.
"We told them the Sunday before Thanksgiving at church we were adopting them," Michael said. "They were in tears, a little jumping up and down. Very excited."
On December 3, the papers went through. "It was pretty emotional," Michael said of their day in court. "They had already been with us, but just finally adopting them and for them to know that they were never gonna have to go anywhere else again. It was pretty emotional, kind of a relief."
The siblings — who had been moved around five different homes and changed school three or four times in the last few years — had a new mom and dad, and a forever home.
"It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning," Kyndal said, with oldest sibling Dawson adding, "It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else."