A couple fought long and hard for a set of seven siblings in Arkansas' Foster Care System, now those children have a forever home.
Just days before Christmas the court finalized the Hawthorn family's adoption.
"Our first words were ok we'll do it for a couple of years but we will not adopt,” said mother Terri Hawthorn. These were Terri and Michael Hawthorn's words when they chose to become foster parents years ago.
Many children have come in and out of their homes throughout the years, catering love and safety to them all.
In April the couple adopted a set of two siblings, Korgen and Haizlee. On Monday, Dec. 3, they won their biggest challenge and added the team of seven to the mix.
"It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” said Kyndal Hawthorn.
The kids expressed their desire to share their story with everyone, in hopes it can help other children like them.
“It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” said Dawson Hawthorn, the oldest sibling.
At young ages, these kids have learned the hard way that life means the little things.
“When I got here I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds,” said Layna Hawthorn.
Something as simple as a bed was not normal for them.
"We never got that, we had like one bed and most of us slept in the floor,” said Kyndal.
They also learned early on how to defend for themselves, sticking together.
"The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” said 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.”
For years the kids spent their days dreading going home, hoping from foster home to children’s home but found hope in a family that would love them one day.
"These kids did not ask to come to foster care, four or five different homes, or schools,” said Terri.
Many people doubted the couple, and suggested seven kids were too many.
But if you ask Michael and Terri why they chose this life, they’ll tell you.
“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.”
The kids showed off their rooms and favorite toys and said they look forward to a life with a lot of love and fun.
“We hope this will give other opportunities and people will consider opening their homes to foster care and adoption,” said Terri. “There is such a big need for families in Arkansas, and we will be the first to tell you, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Lots of prayer and love is what made this possible.