Last month, Michael and Terri Hawthorn had six children. In December, that number more than doubled to 13. That’s when the Arkansas couple adopted seven siblings ranging in age from 8 to 15, WSPA reports. "It's never boring," Michael Hawthorn tells Good Morning America. "There's a lot of laughs, a lot of playing, and, at times, there’s chaos. But it's a good chaos." The Hawthorns have four biological children, who are adults, and in April they adopted two toddlers, Korgan, 3, and Haizlee, 1. Then, on Dec. 3, they adopted Dawson, 15; Kyndal, 11; Lacey; 10, Layna, 10; Addiley, 9; Arria, 9; and Nixson, 8. The kids come from an abusive background. “It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” Dawson tells KTHV.
The couple had been foster parents to twins Lacey and Layna at various times over three years, which gave them the opportunity to meet the other five siblings. Michael Hathorne tells GMA that he and his wife knew right away they wanted to adopt the two girls. “They kept saying they loved us,” he says, “and were calling us mom and dad." Last year, the girls were moved to a different foster home and, eventually, to a facility where they could be with their siblings. The Hawthorns decided they wanted to adopt the twins, along with their brothers and sisters. They went to state Sen. Alan Clark with the idea. He, in turn, talked to the Department of Children Services head, who approved the adoption. It’s a big shift for the Hawthorns, who began fostering children years ago. "Our first words were, ‘OK, we'll do it for a couple of years but we will not adopt,’” Terri Hawthorn recalls. (After 4,057 days in foster care, she got a family.)