There are so many great children out there in the world without a family to call their own. Even with foster care and adoption agencies’ efforts to help find these children permanent or at least temporary homes, it’s still a challenging task. Not everyone is prepared to, nor has the financial room to, adopt or foster a child, even if it’s something they feel strongly about.
Then there are couples like Terri and Mike Hawthorn who have been raising and helping children for years but never had their hearts completely set on adopting. In the past five years of their 40-plus-year marriage, they’ve not only run a daycare, but they’ve also fostered about 80 children alongside raising their four biological children and providing temporary housing for foreign exchange students. But eventually, they decided to add adoption into the mix. Their family of six recently became a permanent family of 15!
The idea of adoption first came to mind when Mike and Terri had difficulty parting ways with her foster child, Korgen.
“When we got Korgen, [we] just absolutely fell in love with him, I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to let him go. We found out he had a little sister that was born, and in order to adopt one — they try to keep sibling groups together — we decided that we would proceed with adopting [them].”
Not long after little Korgen and his sister, Haizlee, were adopted by the Hawthorns, the family was in the midst of fostering a group of three siblings.
“We thought when we first started fostering them, there was only three,” Terri explained. “Then we found out there was five, and then we found out there’s a little brother — six — and then it just kept on growing from there.”
Eventually, the Hawthorns ended up adopting that group of seven siblings, bringing their number of adoptions to nine. The seven siblings became official Hawthorns in December of 2018.
Although Terri and her landscaper husband are very happy with their decision to adopt, caring for the nine children is a lot of work.
“I never get a day off. When I’m not feeling well, the house falls apart. If I don’t do the rooms daily… within two days you can’t see the carpet,” Terri said.
But it’s a tradeoff the couple was glad to make.
“It was more surprising of hearing their stories, and at a young age, really changed my life, and made me realize how, you know, grateful and blessed I’ve been.”
Since adopting the foster children, the Hawthorns have made a huge difference in their lives. One of their children has never slept in a bed before until they were adopted into the family. Another one of their adopted children admitted that he would always worry about whether or not there would be food on the table.
“We’ve seen so much neglect, physical abuse, verbal abuse, malnourishment. These kids didn’t ask to be put into the situations that they were put into. It’s not the kids’ fault. They didn’t ask to be born into that kind of a family lifestyle,” Terri said.
It must feel amazing to be able to make such a difference in people’s lives. The Hawthorns are a great example of that. Hopefully their story will inspire others to start fostering or even adopting.
Watch below to learn more about the Hawthorns’ growing family!