Being a parent to even one child is a blessing, but it can also be difficult and expensive. Now, imagine being a parent to 13 children. Sounds a little overwhelming, but one family in Arkansas thinks it’s reason to celebrate.

Terri and Michael Hawthorn already had four biological children when they decided to become foster parents. They had no intentions of adopting any of the children they fostered though.

Terri Hawthorn says, “Our first words were, ‘OK, we’ll do it for a couple of years but we will not adopt.”

The Hawthorns ended up changing their minds and deciding to adopt after all. In April, they adopted a set of siblings, increasing the number of children in their family to a total of six, but in December, they more than double the number of children in their family.

Seven siblings that had been in foster care for about three years finally found their forever home with the Hawthorns in December. That’s right, seven siblings, bringing the number of children in their family to a total of 13.

Michael Hawthorn jokes that “if anybody hits the lottery keep us in mind, in the market for a 15 passenger van so we don’t have to take 2 vehicles everywhere we go.”

The children couldn’t be happier to have a real mom and dad just in time for Christmas.

The oldest of the seven recently adopted children, Dawson Hawthorn, says, “It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else.”

Before the siblings arrived at the Hawthorns’ house, they didn’t always have a bed to sleep in. They were usually in a room with just one bed, and many of the children would sleep on the floor.

They also didn’t always have food to eat. Kyndal Hawthorn says, “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.”

She adds, “This has been the best Christmas I could ever have, actually knowing I have a mom and dad.”

The new Hawthorn children are certainly excited to be in their new home, and although we imagine it has to be quite complicated raising such a big family, Terri Hawthorn says, “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.”

Learn more about this story in the video below.

Want to know even more about the Hawthorns? They’ve made their own video that shows their journey to officially becoming Hawthorns.


How many children do you have? Can you imagine raising 13 children?