After being in and out of foster care, seven siblings in Arkansas have finally found their forever home, and a family to spend Christmas with.
The seven children are the most recent additions to Terri and Michael Hawthorn’s family, which now includes 13 children.
The Hawthorns have cared for a number of children since they decided to become foster parents years ago, KTHV reported.
“Our first words were, ‘OK, we’ll do it for a couple of years but we will not adopt,’” Terri Hawthorn said.
But Hawthorn toned down that pledge after meeting a set of siblings.
In December, the couple adopted the seven children, who had been in foster care for nearly three years.
“It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” said Kyndal Hawthorn.
“When I got here I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds,” said Layna Hawthorn.
Before they met the Hawthorns, the children sometimes had to go without a bed to sleep in or food to eat, according to KTHV.
“The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” Kyndal 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.”
“It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” said Dawson Hawthorn, the oldest sibling.
Terri Hawthorn calls it a blessing.
“They are a blessing,” she said. “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.”
“This has been the best Christmas I could ever have, actually knowing I have a mom and dad,” Kyndal said.
Michael Hawthorn tells WFLA 8 On Your Side he and his wife adopted two babies in April, then the seven children in December. The Hawthorns have four biological children as well.
Michael Hawthorn posted this touching comment about their seven new family members on Facebook.
“Today it is official, these 7 siblings changed their last name to Hawthorn. Many prayers for these kids over the last 2 1/2 years. Thank you Pastor Steve for coming, and a huge thank you to Alan Clark. When the state didn’t want to let us get these kids, Alan believed that we could take on this huge responsibility and pushed for us to get them.
Most people my age are only concerned in retirement (that would be nice ) but over that we have chosen to invest in the lives of these kids. Me and Terri have gone from 4 kids to 13, no typos 13, let that sink in.
So if anybody hits the lottery keep us in mind, in the market for a 15 passenger van so we don’t have to take 2 vehicles everywhere we go.
In all seriousness, we would appreciate your prayers.”
The Hawthorn kids have made an adorable video about their new family. Watch it below. You can also follow the Hawthorn family on their YouTube channel, “Happily Ever Hawthorn.”