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OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Four siblings in the Kansas foster care system have all been adopted by the same family.

Johnson County District Court Judge Kathleen Sloan made the adoptions official on Monday for Alisia, 17; Bradley, 16; Cody, 15; and Emma, 11, the Kansas City Star reported.

Eric and Phyllis Watson received their licenses in August 2015 to become foster parents with the potential to adopt. Adoption agency KVC Kansas called the Watsons the next day with their first case: four siblings looking for a home where they could stay together.

“We were thinking one foster child at a time. Maybe two?” Eric Watson said. “We weren’t thinking four at once.”

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The children came from an Overland Park home that saw a failed marriage, substance abuse and neglect. Biological grandmother Susan Bustamente said the children were always well-behaved thanks to Alisia.

“She’s been a mother to those kids since she was three years old,” Bustamente said. “They’ve had a hard life but they’re strong.”

Officials said the children likely would have been split into separate foster homes had the Watsons not taken them in, and Alisia might have aged out of the system.

“It’s rare to see kids in the system, especially teens, find this perfect of an ending,” said Kiersten Stolxenberg, a case worker at KVC Kansas.

Eric Watson works as the youth director at Faith Baptist Church in Olathe, where the children also attend school. Phyllis Watson works at an optical lab.

“I really believe, honestly, that God’s hand has been all through this process,” Eric Watson said.

Sloan called the adoptions “the best hearing that any judge gets to have in the United States.”


Information from: The Kansas City Star,