Four siblings, two happy families after adoptions finalized

Strangers no more, both couples bonded by love and friendship

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The day Pastor Scott Richerson and his wife Brandi had prayed would come finally did when their adoption of 11-year-old Andrew and 5-year-old Xavier was finalized Wednesday morning by a Comal County judge with a last-minute opening on the docket.

The children’s adoptive dad said, “We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to adopt these fantastic kids.”

As for Andrew and Xavier, Richerson said, “They’re feeling loved and, in their words, ‘Awesome!’”

Chris and Melissa Rust know how it felt five days earlier when their adoption of 8-year-old Paul and 3-year-old Emily -- Andrew and Xavier’s siblings -- was finalized in a Bexar County.

“We expected to have them for two months, and 27 months later, they’re our forever kiddos,” said Melissa Rust, a Bexar County prosecutor.

The double adoption of four siblings comes during National Adoption Awareness Month.

Rust and her husband, Chris, a middle school teacher in the South San Antonio Independent School District, had never met Pastor Richerson and his wife, Brandi, a registered nurse, who live in New Braunfels.

Then, four siblings in need of foster care came into their lives.

The Richersons said they didn’t get into foster care to build a family, having already raised six children.

“We had more room in our life and lots of love in our hearts,” said Brandi Richerson.

She said they wanted to provide foster children a place to feel safe and be loved.

As a pastor, her husband said he wanted “to just take Jesus to them in real, practical and tangible ways.”

At first, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had given each couple two children until it was thought the Rusts could take all four.

But when it was finally decided, the children could get more individual attention in separate homes while maintaining the bond between them.

“It kind of worked out how it was supposed to,” said Melissa Rust.

As a man of faith, Chris Rust said, “This was His plan.”

Along the way, the Richersons and the Rusts had formed a deep friendship during weekly two-hour visitations, driving between New Braunfels and the South Side of San Antonio.

They said they were united in their desires to give Andrew, Xavier, Paul and Emily the love they needed.

“We haven’t had a conflict about parenting. We haven’t had a conflict about boundaries. We haven’t had a conflict about time or schedules,” said Pastor Richerson. “We just compromise, work it out and make it work.”

Not only do the four siblings have the love of two moms and two dads, Chris Rust said, “There’s four of us saying, ‘You better stop that!’”

Even so, Andrew, the oldest, said, “It’s amazing. There are two separate families, but we’re just one big old family.”

Find out more about adopting in the San Antonio area by clicking here.

Find more about informational meetings here.

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.

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