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Uplifting

Arkansas Foster Parents Give Seven Siblings the Christmas Surprise of a Lifetime

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Just a few short days before Christmas, a group of seven Arkansas siblings in foster care got the greatest gift they could ask for: adoption.

When Michael and Terri Hawthorn of Hot Springs, Arkansas first became foster parents, they knew they were in for quite a journey. But they were convinced it would not be a life-long journey.

“…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,'” Michael shared with Yahoo Lifestyle of their initial decision to foster. “Well, we ate our words there.” Did they ever!

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Throughout their time as foster parents, the Hawthorns have loved and sheltered more than 80 children.
In April of this year, they adopted a pair of siblings, ages 1 and 3, but their family was not yet complete.

A pair of ten-year-old twins came into their home in 2015 and, in spite of frequent relocation by county officials, the children were able to stay in the Hawthorn’s loving home on and off for three years.

“So they were with us, then [the Department Of Human Services] moved them, three months later we got them again and had them for several months, then DHS moved them again,” Michael explained to Yahoo. “After that, we had to get a senator involved, and he had to pull some strings.”

At that time, the Hawthorns weren’t even aware that the twins had five other siblings in the system. Once they found out, it became their mission to open their home to all seven children, ranging from 8 to 15 years old.

“The mom’s rights had been terminated over a year ago,” Michael said, offering some insight into the children’s heartbreaking background. “They come from a very rough situation. Both parents on drugs. Very unhealthy situation that they were in.”

“The only times we got to eat is when our neighbors would sneak us a bag of chips,” Kyndal Hawthorn, one of the seven children, said to THV11. “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.”

“When I got [to the Hawthorn’s home] I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds,” said Layna Hawthorn. “We never got that, we had like one bed and most of us slept in the floor,” Kyndal added.

The couple began the nearly year-long process of adoption back in February, and they finally shared the good news with the children in November. “We told them the Sunday before Thanksgiving at church we were adopting them,” Michael recalled.

What Michael and Terri didn’t know was that that one of the kids made a wish on a falling star the night before in hopes that the Hawthorns would adopt her and her siblings. “They were in tears, a little jumping up and down,” Michael said. “Very excited.”

“It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” Kyndal shared with THV11.

“It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” said Dawson Hawthorn, 15.

“These kids did not ask to come to foster care, four or five different homes, or schools,” Terri shared with the local news outlet.

“This is a blessing, they are a blessing,” she continued, addressing the common complaint that nine kids in total are too many. “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.”

“We hope this will give other opportunities and people will consider opening their homes to foster care and adoption,” Terri said. “There is such a big need for families in Arkansas, and we will be the first to tell you, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Lots of prayer and love is what made this possible.

Prayer and love are absolutely mandatory for any family to thrive, especially such an amazing family as this one. God bless them!

 

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Uplifting

Rhino Poacher Meets a Poetic Fate, Complete with Elephants, Lions, and Revenge

If this isn’t justice, I don’t know what is.

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Greed is a hell of a drug. Greed is what makes a wealthy man and addicted man.  It’s the idea that you can never have enough, no matter the consequences to the world around you. Don’t get me wrong: Winning and achieving are great, but there are costs to be considered. For wildlife poachers, the reward is dirty money…and lots of it.  Items such as rhinoceros horns can go for as much as $60k per kilo – an amount that makes cocaine look like over-the-counter DayQuil in comparison. Of course, the reason for this enormous price tag is the rarity of the item, with poachers having nearly caused the extinction of several species of Rhinoceros over the course of the last few decades. But, as Jeff Goldblum famously says in the 90’s blockbuster Jurassic Park, “life finds a way”. One poacher in Africa has learned that lesson the very hard way. Only a skull and a pair of trousers remained after a suspected rhino poacher was killed by an elephant and then eaten by lions in Kruger National Park, South African National Parks said. The incident happened after the man entered the park with four others to target rhinos, according to a parks service statement released Friday. His family were notified of his death late Tuesday by his fellow poachers, and a search party led by Kruger’s regional manager, Don English, set out to recover the body. Rangers scoured on foot and police flew over the area, but due to failing light, it could not be found. The poacher likely didn’t deserve such dignity, but the search went on. The search resumed Thursday morning and, with the help of added field rangers, what was left of his body was discovered. “Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured…

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Uplifting

Police Seek Teens who Interacted with Autistic Skateboarder for BEST REASON EVER

Police are searching for a few teens that left the mother of an autistic child in tears at a local skatepark…but for all the right reasons.

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Life is ostensibly difficult for teens and young adults in ways that many of us adults seem to have forgotten. Hopefully, (and luckily, if so), we grow out of these hormonal adolescent years with a bit of an even keel, able to keep a cool head, and fully aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  Sure, we have bills and the complexities of work/friend/partner relationships to navigate, as well as a whole glut of strange, “as you get older” family issues to deal with, but we at least get to do so as adults with a full understanding of our faculties and abilities. For teens and young people, it’s not that easy.  At these ages, human beings are insecure, unsure, and downright dumbfounded by the world around them.  And, let’s not forget, that kids can be severely cruel to one another over the most asinine of subjects.  Style, mannerisms, and intelligence are all fodder for the teenaged bullies of the world. For children on the autism spectrum, things are even tougher.  These are the “weirdoes” and “nut jobs” that the heartless bullies rail on, making them the bread and butter of these jerks’ daily dissing. So when the mother of an autistic son named Carter began crying at a local New Jersey skatepark, many feared the worst. Lucky for all of us, there is still some good left in this world. Kristen Braconi took Carter, who is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD, and his behavioral therapist to the park to celebrate his fifth birthday, where a group of older kids noticed him playing on his scooter. The teens took it upon themselves to teach Carter how to skateboard. “They were absolutely amazing with him and included him and were so beyond kind it brought me to tears,” the mother shared on Facebook,…

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