The Hawthorn kids stole our hearts in early December 2018 just days after they were officially adopted.
The seven kids shared their brutally honest memories about life with their biological parents, like having bugs in their food, no bed to sleep on, and lack of feeling safe.
"We've got letters from people just praying for us, checking on the kids, wanting to know how they are doing,” said Terry Hawthorn, their mother.
Their story quickly went viral, so we took our cameras back into their home and recorded a day in the life post-adoption.
The kids, Dawson, Kyndal, Lacey, Layna, Addiley, Arria, and Nixson, wake up every morning at the crack of dawn.
“Having them on a daily routine, they know what's coming next,” said Terry.
It may seem simple, but for the first time in their lives, they are living like most children.
They get up to bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair, pick out their outfit, and study for daily tests.
“It's changed a lot. They are a better caring family,” said Layna Hawthorn, one of the seven children.
Early morning wake up calls don’t bother them because they now look forward to a new day.
“At home they didn’t have a tooth brush,” said Terry. “Their hygiene is getting better, their behavior is getting so much better.”
They are now faced with a world full of new things; ones we take for granted.
One in particular, is the feeling of waiting for the school bus in the early morning hours knowing they’ll make it to class every day.
Living with their biological parents, they rarely went to school, leaving them all with failing grades.
“All of them are behind in reading,” said Terry.
The teachers at their new school are working with each of them, playing catch up.
“We are so blessed to have them here at Cutter Morning Star,” said Nancy Anderson, superintendent.
Anderson said the kids have been introduced to tutoring lessons, and one on one teaching. The new constant in their lives has proven successful.
"They all have A's and B's, they are getting awards now,” said Terry.
They’ve been introduced to new opportunities; ones that seem normal to us.
"They love going to the dentist,” said Terry.
We followed Dawson, the oldest, and Nick, the youngest, to the dentist to check-in for a teeth cleaning.
"We never went to the dentist, so when Dawson came into care he had so many cavities,” said Kyndal. The hygienists worked to remove years of buildup, leaving their teeth sparkly white and clean.
It was at the dentist office that all the kids received their first personal toothbrush. "It's just the things we take for granted seems to be so important to them,” said Terry.
The kids shared their new-found passions, like playing in the school band and taking a jab on the basketball court.
"There's always like one thing after another, like we are always busy and having fun,” said Kyndal. "Before, we had bugs in our food. Now we don’t. Before, we had torn up clothes. Now we have perfectly good ones. Now we have hair bows; a lot of them."
Their life may seem like the simple one, but to the Hawthorn kids it’s the little things that matter most.
"I know I'm safe, and that's a huge change from where we were,” said Kyndal.
"We didn't have parents who loved us, but now we do, so we cherish family,” said Layna.
The Hawthorn’s look forward to a fun-filled summer. They plan to enjoy the great outdoors that Arkansas has to offer.
Even though the beautiful nature has been around them their whole lives, it’s their first opportunity to get out and explore it.