Terri and Michael Hawthorn didn’t think they were ready to adopt a child, let alone seven. That all changed this year, however, and on December 3rd, after a lengthy court battle, a judge finalized all seven smiling siblings’ adoption papers.
A few years ago, the couple from Arkansas decided to try fostering children in need of homes from the state’s foster care system, a decision which eventually turned into a much larger commitment.
“Our first words were, ‘Ok we’ll do it for a couple of years, but we will not adopt,’” said Terri Hawthorn who, with Michael, was already a parent of one daughter, named Micah.
Eventually, though, the Hawthorns had a change of heart, and last April, they decided to adopt two children: sisters Korgen and Haizlee. Yet, this was hardly the end of their mission to give care to needy children; the two girls also had five other siblings who were still in foster care, and the Hawthorns were determined to bring them into their home, too.
Prior to their adoption, the seven brothers and sisters had gone through a lot, shuffling between different houses and schools for three years in the state system. According to their own words, they often went without food to eat or a bed to sleep in.
“The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” said one of the five siblings, Kyndal, who finally joined the Hawthorn household in December. “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.”
But the process of adoption wasn’t all smooth sailing, as Terri and Michael fought for months before the court finally approved the papers. It turned into “the best Christmas” present the siblings could ask for, though, when at last they found that they had a home with two loving parents who would take care of them.
“When I got here I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we get our own beds,’” said Layna, one of the sisters who recently joined the Hawthorn family.
“This has been the best Christmas I could ever have, actually knowing I have a mom and dad,” added Kyndal.
Micah, who is older than her newly adopted brothers and sisters, took several memorable photographs of the big day, when they stood before the bench in the courthouse, and on the front porch of their new home.
“They are a blessing,” said Terri. “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.”
There’s no better story to show us how lucky we are to have our family members who love us—for not everyone is so lucky. What better time is there than the Holiday Season to share time with them and show appreciation toward those dear loved ones. This will most certainly be the case in the Hawthorn household this Christmas!
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This Christmas present is the best one ever for these kids, one they’ll never forget