Best Friend Grants Mom's Dying Wish by Adopting Her 4 Children


Liz Diamond and Laura Ruffino had been best friends since the fifth grade. When Diamond moved back to New York with her four girls, her and Ruffino’s two girls grew up together.

But in August of 2014, Diamond received devastating news. She had brain cancer.

By December that same year, an MRI found that the tumors had grown. Her brain cancer was at stage four.

Diamond had never let herself believe that she wouldn’t make it through the cancer. But after the MRI, she pulled Ruffino aside for a serious conversation.

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“If anything happens to me, will you take my girls?” Diamond, a single mother, asked Ruffino. “Of course,” Ruffino said, an answer she didn’t even have to think about for a moment.

“As Liz’s body got weaker, our bond got stronger,” Ruffino said, “and then it kind of made sense to me, like this was kind of God’s plan of them building a strong relationship with us, if that makes sense.”

In April 2015, Diamond tragically passed away at age 41. Her girls, Tara, 12, Samona, 9, Ella, 8, and Lily, 6, moved into their new home with the Ruffinos the next day.

Laura and her husband Rico Ruffino gained temporary custody of Diamond’s daughters, and began the process of legally adopting them.

The girls’ biological father, who had little to no contact with them, attempted to gain custody of them while in court when the Ruffinos went to adopt them.

But after failing to file the necessary documents and not being present in their lives, their father lost the case, and the Ruffinos were set to sign adoption papers within the month.

And nearly 3 years later, the Ruffinos made it through the difficult transition as one big happy family.

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The family went from a small family of four to a group of eight, adding the need for another washing machine, a bigger table, and plenty more to fully adjust. A local car dealership even donated a much-needed van to the family.

“The new normal, I never thought we’d get here, but we did. It was a long haul, but we did it. We made it to this place and we are so grateful and thankful and really blessed,” Laura said.

The family is now making happy memories together, the most recent being their large Christmas celebration.

“It was beautiful,” the now mom-of-six said. “The girls loved it. They were so happy. Their mother was with us, we have her pictures and stories, but really, this was about the girls. It was beautiful. It was busy, don’t get me wrong, six girls and 12 days of Christmas, so it came with chaos, but it really was something special.”

Each of their girls continues to thrive today, being active in extracurricular activities and following their dreams.

As they look to the future, Laura and Rico know it will take tons of hard work to raise their girls. The expenses continue to add up as well, with college, weddings, and hopefully a much deserved vacation to Disney on the horizon.

The family continues to fundraise to cover the day-to-day expenses of their large family, but never find a reason to complain about their situation. Laura was even surprised with a cash gift and honored as one of Ford’s Game Changing Women by Steve Harvey for her selflessness in adopting her best friend’s children.

“It is amazing,” Laura said. “Sometimes I think — well, I want my friend back. I mean, there’s a daily reminder of a friend lost — I have these girls looking at me with these big brown eyes — and I see her.

“I say to them sometimes, you look just like your mom today,” she continued. “It’s a constant reminder, but I feel so thankful. I feel so blessed.”

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Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Liz was a senior story editor for The Western Journal.
Languages Spoken
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Topics of Expertise
Health, Entertainment, Faith