How Family is Adjusting to Life After Adopting Best Friend's Four Daughters
Laura Ruffino didn't think twice when her best friend asked if she'd adopt her children after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Liz Diamond and Laura Ruffino were like sisters, best friends from childhood.
Diamond was a divorced single mom raising four daughters on her own. Laura Ruffino and husband Ricco were also busy raising their two daughters; then the unimaginable happened.
Diamond was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She was terrified what would happen to her girls. She turned to her best friend and made an extraordinary request: she asked her to adopt her four daughters.
Laura told INSIDE EDITION, "It's really hard and difficult for all of us. Nobody really knew how to handle it."
Laura said, “I wish I could say it was this was really long, sit-down talk, where we went over everything, but it wasn't. She said, ‘Laura, I want to talk about the girls. If ever anything happens to me, I want you to take my girls.' And I said, ‘Okay.’ That was the only time we ever talked about it,” she said.
In April, Diamond passed away. True to her word, Laura And Ricco took legal guardianship of Tara, 12, Lilly, 5, Samona, 8, and Ella, 7. They all moved into the Ruffino home outside Buffalo, New York.
“We had a conversation and I told them their real mom who's the best mom ever, is in heaven, but while they are on earth, I'll be the Earth mom,” said Laura.
Naturally, things in the Ruffino household have changed in a big way. Oldest daughter Isabella 13, is helping her new sisters settle in.
Isabella told INSIDE EDITION, “I want them to be happy and welcome to the new family, too. I want them to feel like at home again.”
Everything has grown -- the laundry, the grocery list, the daily chores," said Laura.
Sleeping arrangements in the modest, three-bedroom house has been the biggest challenge so far.
Isabella said she sleeps elsewhere in the house so her new sisters could have her room.
Laura owns a hair salon and Ricco is a teacher. The household budget is tight. “I just want to raise them the way they need to be raised, and care for them as such as I humanly can,” said Rocco.
Support from strangers is growing, as word gets out about this remarkable family. While INSIDE EDITION was at the Ruffino home, a local car dealership gave them a van that seats eight.
“I talk to Liz all the time. I ask her for guidance. I know it sounds crazy, but I want approval. We're doing our best and I want her to feel like we're doing a good job," said Laura.
“I never thought you could love someone else’s children the way you love yours, and we do,” she said.
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