For some people, adopting and fostering children comes as second nature. There are those among us who live life so selflessly that they effortlessly bring those less fortunate who have been rejected into their home, creating for them a warm and nurturing environment.
Terri and Michael are two such people. For them, having a home full of children who are strangers is an honor, let alone a chore. And this Christmas they decided to give seven siblings a Christmas present they would never forget.
Terri and Michael, who live in Hot Springs, Arkansas, have fostered more than 80 children over the past six years. That translates to at least one new foster child per month, year after year, making these people one of the most kind-hearted couples in America. They also have four adult children of their own.
While the couple was happy to foster children they were not into the idea of full adoption. However, back in April, a brother and sister duo called Korgen and Haizlee, aged one and three, stole their hearts. They legally adopted the siblings, and that opened the door to even more adoptions.
As Christmas approached, Terri and Michael were feeling the festive spirit and decided they would be open to adopting more kids for Christmas. The family of seven children had been in the foster care system for three years and were desperate to find a secure, loving and stable home.
Michael explained to Yahoo! “My wife finally decided she wanted to have some younger kids in the home instead of teenagers all the time, and I said, “We’ll do it for a couple of years, but we’re not gonna adopt any, so don’t get that in your mind. Well, we ate our words there,” he said. Just as seven gorgeous siblings needing a home came along.
Having been in the foster system for three years, the last thing the couple wanted was for the seven siblings to be split up. The family decided to adopt all seven siblings, including an eight-year-old, a pair of nine-year-old twins, 10-year-old twins, and an 11-year-old and 15-year-old. This move changed the children’s lives forever.
These kids never thought any family would be kind enough to adopt all of them together. For the kids, it was a true Christmas miracle, and they couldn’t wait to attend the courthouse to go through the formalities and paperwork. They also had a special sign which they meticulously made for the special day.
On the big day at the local courthouse, the kids were all dressed in their Sunday bests and were proudly holding up a placard which read, “1,035 days in foster care and today we’re adopted.” The kids were beaming with smiles as were Terri and Michael, as they all looked forward to the new lives ahead of them.
Kyndal was the first of the seven siblings to speak out and give thanks to her new family. “It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” Kyndal said. “All these years inside the foster care system have been tough for us, and all we really wanted was to feel stable and happy,” she added.
The eldest sibling, Dawson, also spoke to reporters, according to the Daily Mail. “It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” Dawson said. But this is the third Christmas some of the siblings will be spending with their new family, as Michael explained, “The 10-year-old twins, this is gonna be their third Christmas with us,” he said.
Michael also explained that the siblings come from a very tough situation and will likely need years to recover. ‘The mom’s rights had been terminated over a year ago,” Michael said. “They come from a very rough situation — both parents on drugs. Very unhealthy situation that they were in,” he added.
When all’s said and done, Michael explained that he and his wife felt compelled to adopt the siblings, mainly due to their dire situations. He explained to the press that the kids have been moved to five different homes and have attended four different schools within just three years. He explained that the kids often went hungry and lived in shocking conditions with their biological parents.
As Kyndal, one of the seven explained, according to a TV11 report: “The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” she said. “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 added.
The Department of Human Services also failed the siblings to a degree, moving them from foster home to foster home. The DHS had no problem moving the kids all around and even proposed moving them to a nearby county. That’s when Michael and his wife stepped in to stop that from happening.
The DHS in their infinite wisdom decided to try to strike a deal with Michael and Terri. They agreed that if the couple took all seven siblings in on a full-adoption basis, they would allow all of them to remain with the family and not to be moved elsewhere.
As Michael explained: “It took us nearly seven or eight months to get them back,” he said. “We didn’t get all seven moved into our home until February 9, 2018. That was the battle. Once we got them back into our house February 9, that was the real mountain we had finally climbed.” It took a few months for the paperwork to go through, but everything was on the right track.
While the adoption process is often a long and drawn out one, the couple was happy that it only took a few months to complete in their case. “It was pretty much a process from February all the way to December. We committed in September that we were gonna adopt. And I think it was in September that they set a court date for December 3 to make it official,” Michael explained.
Michael and Terri couldn’t wait to share the news that they were adopting all seven siblings with the twins. “We told them the Sunday before Thanksgiving at church we were adopting them. They were in tears, a little jumping up and down. Very excited,” Terri explained.
The 11-year-old sibling even told her new parents that the night before she had seen a shooting star in the sky and had made a wish to be adopted by the couple. When little Layna arrived at her new home, she said, “When I got here I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we get our own beds,”‘ she said.
Mom and Dad
Michael also explained that the kids took well to their new home and immediately started calling Michael and Terri “Mom and Dad.” ‘The first day they were in our house they started calling us Mom and Dad and probably the second day they started telling me they loved me. And I looked at my wife, and I said, “I’m in trouble,”‘ Michael said.
Terri summed up the whole experience, stating that the whole thing was well worth the effort. “This is a blessing; they are a blessing. 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,” she said.