GLASGOW — Tuesday was a special day for Kelli and Shannon Crumpton-Rust. It was when they expanded their family with the adoption of four children ranging in age from 7 to 3.
Crumpton-Rust, who also happens to be the mayor of Park City, and her husband decided to become foster parents about a year ago through NECCO, a private foster care service with an office in Bowling Green.
“Our first kids were our first set for respite. It's kind of funny because they were listed as some of the worst kids in care. It's funny to me now because we're drawn to them and they have just changed so (much),” Crumpton-Rust said.
She explained that the children were deemed the “worst kids in care” because they were “just wide-open.”
“They had a lot of issues that a lot of kids have when they come into foster care. They have a support system but it's not what you would have if you were living in the home with your biological parents, so they didn't know how to socialize,” she said.
The children stayed with the couple for a weekend, after which the couple learned the children were available for adoption, so they decided to adopt them.
“We worked for the next two weeks to get them and then they came into our care and we've had them ever since,” Crumpton-Rust said. “We've had them full-time since the end of June or the first of July.”
With the couple, the children have been able to experience a series of “firsts.”
“They never had birthdays, so we did birthdays. We did Christmas. They never had Christmas. Everything is new,” Crumpton-Rust said.
She has three children of her own, but Rust has never had any children until Tuesday when the adoption became final.
“This is a big deal for him and his family,” Crumpton-Rust said.
The couple chose to expand their family by adopting due to Crumpton-Rust not being able to have any more children.
“When we talked about it, it just seemed like a right fit. We were only looking at maybe fostering one or two children,” she said.
But then they got four. Crumpton-Rust believes God intervened. She and Rust were wanting to have more children, and the children were in need of a forever home.
“They had three potential adoptive families and then they backed out. It's sort of like setting them up for failure and here we are fighting for them,” she said.
Initially, Rust and Crumpton-Rust looked into doing a private adoption but the cost was more than they could handle.
In the end, though, Rust and Crumpton-Rust said they are glad they decided to foster-to-adopt.
“It has been life-changing for us,” Crumpton-Rust said.
Some people shy away from fostering-to-adopt because they fear they will become too attached to the children placed in their care and will have a hard time letting go if the children are moved to another foster home or adopted by another family.
“You have to set that aside, because you can make a difference. With one weekend we made a difference with these kids' lives,” she said. “It just benefitted us. If I could fill a whole house full, I would. Everybody tells me I'm crazy, but what it changes for them, it's worth it, completely.”
Rust and Crumpton-Rust didn't tell the children about the adoption ceremony taking place on Tuesday.
“They didn't know. Brian (Pack, attorney) actually told them. He said, 'Today is the day.' And that was pretty exciting. ... Getting adopted is so important to the kids,” Crumpton-Rust said.
Children who are in foster care think about getting adopted all the time. They lack the structure and stability a forever family can provide for them, she said.
“It's crazy that (is all) all they want. And now that worry is off the plate. I don't think kids should have to worry about that,” Crumpton-Rust said.
Rust talked a little bit about how important Tuesday was for him.
“It's special because before today I had no biological kids and now I have four,” he said. “They were mine the minute they came into the house. I never considered not having them. Today is exciting, but if today had never happened I would have still fought for them the same. They would never have left. I don't need a piece of paper. Now it's locked in, so it's nice.”
Adam, 5, explained what being adopted means.
“It means you can be with your family forever and ever,” he said.
His older sister, Taylor, 14, said she was excited to have four more siblings.
“At first it was unexpected because there's four of them,” she said, but added it's been nice to have them as part of her family. “It's fun to like have somebody different to do stuff with every day. They all have very different personalities, so it's exciting.”
Rust and Crumpton-Rust plan to celebrate the children's adoption with a party later on when roads are more conducive for traveling.
They had originally planned to have more family present for the adoption ceremony, but due to the weather and the condition of the roads not everyone could make it on Tuesday.
“We've had a lot of family reunions this summer, but there's some family that's not gotten to meet them. I think we are just going to do us a party,” she said.
Rust and Crumpton-Rust say they are not through growing their family and might adopt even more children.
“This probably won't be the end for us,” Crumpton-Rust said.
The larger their family grows the less space they will have in their house, so they are looking to move to a larger house.
“That's our plan. We've been looking at a house. We're probably going to be moving because our house is small and we want to accommodate them,” Crumpton-Rust said, adding the children don't really care about living in a larger house. “They are just glad we're all together. They are good kids. We are truly blessed with them.”
Crumpton-Rust isn't sure whether or not she and Rust will move before her mayoral term expires. She said that is something that is still up in the air.