A couple in Arkansas was able to adopt a set of seven siblings just weeks before Christmas.
Terri Hawthorn and Michael Hawthorn told themselves that they would foster children but never adopt when they became foster parents years ago.
But after fostering a number of children since then, they decided to adopt.
First up was two siblings, Korgen and Haizlee, who they adopted in April.
And on Dec. 3, the couple received the news that their family was growing much larger. The proposed adoption of seven siblings to add to the family of four was approved.
“It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” Kyndal Hawthorn, one of the siblings, told THV 11.
The children wanted to share their story in the hopes that it inspires other couples to adopt.
“It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” said Dawson Hawthorn, the oldest sibling.
They recounted a tough childhood where the things some people take for granted were missing.
“When I got here I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds,” said Layna Hawthorn.
“The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” added Kyndal. “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.”
The Hawthornes said many people told them seven siblings were too many to adopt but they pressed on. “This is a blessing, 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.”
Foster Care, Adoption in the United States
The number of children who were served by the foster care system at one point during the 2017 fiscal year was 690,548. Out of that figure, 59,430 children were adopted with public child agency involvement.
The agency didn’t have the number of children who were adopted otherwise.
The children in foster care ranged in age from less than 1-year-olds to 20-year-olds, with a median age of 7.7.
The case plan goal for the majority was reunification with a parent or parents, or a primary caretaker who wasn’t a parent. That accounted for 56 percent of the children. Another 27 percent, or 114,406, were planned for adoption if someone was found to take them in.
The children waiting to be adopted ranged across all ages, up to 17 years old. Most had spent less than a year in the foster care system, but a combined 28 percent had spent 3 years or longer in the system and were still waiting for adoption.
The agency said that 44 percent of those waiting for adoption were white, 22 percent were Hispanic, and 22 percent were black; the rest were other races, including two or more races.
Most were living in a foster family home run by a non-relative, while about a quarter were in a family home run by a relative 13 percent were living in a pre-adoptive home where the parents hoped to finalize an adoption in the future.
From NTD News