After enduring a miserable life with allegedly abusive parents, Alisia, Bradley, Cody and Emma needed a foster family to take them in. As there were so many of them, they knew it was likely that they’d be shipped off to different homes. But then the stars aligned for them.
Alisia, Bradley, Cody and Emma are four siblings who didn’t have the easiest start in life by any means. In fact, their story is a sad one, reportedly full of abuse and neglect. They were originally from Overland Park, Kansas, and lived with their parents.
But their parents’ marriage wasn’t a happy one. The relationship broke down, and a series of unfortunate events followed. According to The Kansas City Star, the children’s parents then turned to “substance abuse” after the split.
Along with that environment came a spate of abuse and neglect. Indeed, the four kids say they were physically mistreated at home. Consequently, the eldest child, Alisia, had taken on a protective role, looking after her younger three siblings ever since she had been very young herself.
With that in mind, a friend of theirs told The Kansas City Star that Alisia had “been a mother to those kids since she was three years old.” Nevertheless, despite the devotion of the eldest sibling, all four of them ended up reportedly suffering so much abuse that the state had to get involved.
In November 2015 they were all taken in by the state to keep them safe. The idea was that the four siblings would then find foster families who would take them in permanently. Even so, there was always a fear that they’d all end up going to different homes.
Speaking to 41 Action News, the siblings recalled how nervous they were about being separated. But at that point, they had no idea what was going on nearby. In the city of Gardner, a couple called Eric and Phyllis Watson had just received some great news.
The Watsons had always wanted to have a baby of their own. However, it wasn’t destined to happen for them. In fact, they had tried and failed to start a family, which is what led them to explore the world of fostering children instead.
So they got started with all the necessary training to become official foster parents. Then in November 2015 they finally jumped through the final hoop and received their license. And it happened to be just one day after the four siblings were taken in by the state.
The license gave them permission to become foster parents should an appropriate opportunity arise, and it also held potential for the Watsons to adopt after that. So just one day after they finished all the paperwork, the couple had a phone call.
An adoption agency was on the line, calling to tell the Watsons about the four siblings it had on its books. But there was a slight catch: the Watsons were only looking for one foster child to start with.
However, the adoption agency wanted to find a foster home where all four of the kids could stick together. It was a big ask for the couple, who had never taken in any children before, so they went off to think about it for a while.
“We were thinking one foster child at a time. Maybe two? We weren’t thinking four at once,” Eric Watson told The Kansas City Star. Even though they’d never dreamed of taking in four kids, it only took the Watsons a couple of days to come to a decision.
It all happened when Eric had a short sleep. On waking up, he had a decision. “We’re gonna take the kids,” he told his wife. And there was one particular reason why he came to that conclusion in the end.
“The turning point for me was they were going to be split up, and I didn’t want to see that,” Eric told 41 Action News, while becoming visibly emotional thinking about it. “And we’ve never regretted it. Not one day,” added Phyllis.
So a mere two days after the Watsons first heard about the four siblings needing a home, they officially accepted the displaced children. And to accommodate them, not only did the Watsons expand their home, but they also bought a bigger car to cater for their new family of six.
For the first year of foster family life, the main aim was to get the kids back with their birth parents again. But it wasn’t happening. That’s when full adoption became a realistic solution for the siblings. And sure enough, in March 2018, it happened.
The family of six walked into Johnson County District Court to stand before Judge Kathleen L. Sloan to make the adoption official. Alisia, Bradley, Cody and Emma grinned from ear to ear as they posed for a photograph with the judge once all the papers were signed.
The judge even commanded everyone present to stand up and applaud the adoptive parents for what they were doing for the kids. Then she had some beautiful words to say to the courtroom. “There is nothing better than an adoption,” she began.
“In part because you all came in here happy, and I get to let you leave happier than when you came in here. And, you have to trust me on this, judges do not get to do that very much,” the judge joked. And from that moment on, the Watsons were officially a family.