Grieving Friends Adopt Their Best Friend’s Four Kids After She Dies From Brain Cancer

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 17, 2015   |   11:31AM   |   Washington, DC

Liz Diamond and Laura Ruffino were best friends since fifth grade. The girls remained close as they grew up and started their own families. Then Liz discovered she had stage 4 brain cancer.

Last December, when Liz found out that her condition had worsened, she asked her best friend for a big favor – to adopt her four daughters if she died, according to People Magazine. Laura, from Buffalo New York, did not even hesitate with her response.

“She said, ‘If anything happens to me, will you take my girls?’” Laura, 41, told People. “I just immediately said, ‘Okay.’ That was basically it.”

Liz told her best friend that she wanted her girls to have a loving, two-parent home if she died, and she knew Laura and her husband could give that to them, according to a fundraising page set up for the family. Liz’s ex-husband had abandoned the family about six years ago, the reports state.

It was a big commitment for the Ruffinos to make. Liz had four daughters: Tara, 12, Samona, 9, Ella, 8 and Lily, 6, according to the article. Laura and her husband, Rico, also have two of their own daughters. Four more children would mean sacrifices: more expenses, dishes, clothes, food and running around for the family – but Laura did not back down on her promise to her best friend.

Liz died on April 4, 2015 at age 40. The very next day, as their grief was still very raw, the Ruffinos welcomed the four sisters into their home, according to the article. The sisters have been living there ever since.

The Ruffinos are currently in the process of trying to adopt the four sisters, but the sisters’ father also is seeking legal custody. Right now, Laura and her husband have legal guardianship of the sisters.

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The couple says it was an easy decision to welcome the girls into their home, though people around them wondered about their quick decision.

“We didn’t really talk about the decision to take in the girls,” Rico said. “I know that sounds crazy. But I just came out and said [that if] anything happened to Liz, I’d be honored to take her kids.”

The family had to put off other priorities when the girls came. According to the fundraising page, they started digging out space in their backyard for an above-ground swimming pool but stopped when the girls came. Their new priority is turning their garage into two extra bedrooms for the girls. The community has set up a fundraising site to help the family.

Laura and Rico do not have any regrets in taking in the four sisters, despite all the new challenges they face.

“We’re one big family now,” Laura said. “We just wish Liz was with us.”