While most people worry about what they'll wear or what they'll have on the table for Christmas, a couple from Hot Springs, Arkansas was fighting a long and hard battle to give seven wonderful children a home for Christmas.
And just in time for the special occasion, Michael and Terri Hawthorne were given the approval they were waiting for a long time.
The couple became foster parents for years already and during those years, they had cared for a number of kids. When they started, they didn't think that they'd adopt. However, in April, they adopted two siblings named Haizlee and Korgen.
In December, Michael and Terri adopted 7 more children, bringing their number of children to 13. Despite being a huge family now, none of them regrets the decision or feels sorry for their situation. In fact, they actually enjoy having lots of kids around the house.
"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 7 siblings have a really touching story. Back then, they never got the chance to own individual beds. Instead, they share a single bed, forcing most of them to sleep on the floor.
Eating was a problem, too. Kyndal, one of the siblings, shared in the same interview:
"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."
Now, at the care of Terri and Michael, the kids are extremely grateful. They have their own beds and they are able to eat meals on time. They won't have to worry about opening canned foods or sleeping on the floor. They're happy that they have a family now and that they don't have to spend any more time in the Foster Care System.
Adopting one kid takes a lot of courage and commitment. You can just imagine the demands and challenges of adopting 7 beautiful kids.
For Terri and Michael, adopting the kids is a blessing. With that, they hope to inspire other people to consider opening up their homes to children who are in need of love and support, too. It may not always be that easy but it's certainly fulfilling. Prayers, faith, and love made their story possible.