ARKANSAS -- A couple in Arkansas who never planned to adopt have given the best Christmas gift ever to seven siblings.
Yahoo Lifestyle reports that Terri and Mike Hawthorn have hosted foreign exchanges students for years. They have four grown biological children, but decided they wanted some younger kids in the house. They became foster parents about six years ago.
"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'," Michael Hawthorn said.
In April, they adopted two siblings, Korgen and Haizlee.
And earlier this month, after years of fighting in court, their family grew by seven more. The siblings are ages 8, 9, 10, 11 and 15. The 9-year-olds and 10-year-olds are two sets of twins, Yahoo reports.
“It was pretty much a process from February all the way to December,” said Michael Hawthorn, according to Yahoo. “We committed in September that we were gonna adopt. And I think it was in September that they set a court date for Dec. 3 to make it official.”
The children are ecstatic. They talked with WSTP about that and their history.
"It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning," said Kyndal Hawthorn.
The children went from foster home to foster home for years.
"When I got here, I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds," said Layna Hawthorn.
"We never got that," said Kyndal Hawthorn. "We had like one bed, and most of us slept on the floor. The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips."
Terri Hawthorn tells WSTP none of them have to worry anymore.
“This is a blessing, they are a blessing,” she told WSTP. "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.”