Meet the Hawthorns: Mom talks adopting 9 siblings, becoming family of 15

Seven siblings -- five sisters and two brothers -- were unrelated to siblings Korgen and Haizlee, then all nine became a family when they were adopted out of foster care by the Hawthorns.
6:54 | 08/14/19

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Transcript for Meet the Hawthorns: Mom talks adopting 9 siblings, becoming family of 15
Reporter: It's 6:40 A.M. In rural Arkansas. It's time to get up for school, baby. Reporter: And here in this tight, makeshift five bedroom home live enough kids to fill a baseball team. Dawson. Kendall. Lacy. Layna! Arya. Ann. And we're the hawthornes. Reporter: These two toddlers and five sisters and their two brothers began living together as foster children. What kind of sprinkles do you Reporter: Terry and Mike Hawthorne took them all in. High school sweethearts married 36 years. They'd already raised four adult biological kids, giving new meaning to the phrase big happy while the man of the house earns a living landscaping, it's 54 year old Terry whose full-time job is to care for this extended brood. Why did you end up with this gigantic family? We started fostering and went through about 80 children through the process. And when we got these, I fell in love with them and I knew I wouldn't be able to let them go. And they had a little sister born. And they try to keep sibling groups together. When we first started fostering them we thought there were three, then we thought there were five, they had a little brother and it kept going from there. Reporter: How do you make room in your heart for that many? It's something the good lord does. Reporter: Life has been far from easy for these kids, but in some ways they're lucky, more than 690,000 children were in foster care in 2017. Bouncing between state homes and foster families for an average of two years. You all have a good day. Reporter: The sibling group of seven were separated and continuously uprooted around the system for three years. Dawson, the eldest of the clan, lived with his biological parents the longest. You'd always worry about food. You wondered what would happen when you got home. I'm just glad it's over. Then I probably was upset a lot. I would go to sleep praying that like stuff would change. Reporter: Now that you're living here, do you feel like your prayers were answered? Yes. When I first got into foster care is the first time I've ever slept in a bed. Reporter: You slept on piles of clothes? Or on the floor. Or in the closet. Reporter: What's difference like, before and after? It's way better. We have someone to love us and take care of us. Reporter: How long before you called mom and dad, mom and dad. Second week we were here. That's not true. It was like the second day. Reporter: Why is it so easy to call them mom and dad? Because they felt like an actual mom and dad, and they were caring and loveable. Reporter: So when did you first allow yourself to dream of being adopted by the hawthornes? Probably about a year, after being in foster care. Reporter: Uh-huh. When my sisters told me about them and how nice they were, and I saw them at visits. And I just really wanted to be adopted by them. Reporter: It would take this group six months and require the help of their state senator for the hawthornes to make it official, to become a forever family. So you're the Hawthorne 15? Yes. Hawthorne 15. Reporter: Micah is Terry and Mike's youngest biological child, now 21. I remember the day so clearly. We sat down at the kitchen table and they were just like, this is a really big commitment, and it's a big commitment for our age, for this many children. And it's an even bigger commitment with their behavior issues. Reporter: An aspiring actress, Micah was weeks shy of moving to Hollywood. I knew then what I was going to do, and I think the reason why is because in that industry, it's not a guarantee, it's not a for-sure that I'll make it, but what was a guarantee was knowing that I could stay home and give nine kids a mom and dad, help them be together and have a family that loves them. Reporter: Was that a tough sacrifice for her do you think? I think it was a major I mean I couldn't do without it's amazing. I mean, the children just adore her. She's just genuine. I'm very blessed. Reporter: While the older children are at school, Micah tends to the toddlers. Both have extensive developmental delays and receive therapy several times a week. But even with all the kids occupied, there is no down time for Terry. We are headed to the grocery store to pick up groceries for today. When I go shopping, I usually have to buy multiple cans of vegetables or fruits or whatever I'm using, and tonight I'm having pizza and it will take at least four cans. I'm looking for the best bargain I can. I save every penny. The laundry is very small. We just bought a new washer and drier. Reporter: It's so organized. Light, dark, pink, towels. How many loads of laundry do you At least three a day. . Reporter: Three a day. This is the kitchen, very small for this many people, but it works. Reporter: But it work. This is the pantry. Reporter: I love how you organize everything is sort of labeled. That saves me from having to do 20 cups between now and lunge time. I have to wash all my dishes by hand because our dishwasher does not work. For the last 15 years I use its as a dish drainer. Reporter: The kids took us to one of the group homes where they used to live. I was in the back house, behind that building. Reporter: A far cry from are now. How do you say thank to you someone who's showed you love like that Love and respect. You show respect for them. Reporter: Have you ever told them thank you? And how do you say, I mean, what do you say to them? Normally, I say thank you and my mom will be like for what? And I say just for take being care of me and everything like that. And she'll be oh, you're very much welcome. Reporter: What do you say to people who say, what are you, crazy? Or does no one say that? They say it all the time, and we laugh and say yeah. I mean, yeah. We were told we're absolutely crazy. Reporter: For "Nightline," juju Chang in hot springs, Arkansas.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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