A Missouri family of four recently welcomed in five orphaned siblings from Peru.
In January, 2011, Scott and Lauren Sterling of Blue Springs, Missouri, received an email from a friend of theirs visiting an orphanage near Pacasmayo, Peru.
The subject line read: "We need a mommy and daddy."
Attached were photos of five siblings, orphaned when their parents died of tuberculosis six years earlier.
The parents of two — 17-year-old Logan from Scott’s previous marriage and 1-year-old Laney — were moved by the images of the beautiful children.
"I even thought 'Someone rich should adopt them,'" Lauren wrote on her blog.
Soon after, Lauren visited a Guatamalen orphanage — and returned feeling compelled to help.
"Somebody’s got to do it, and why can’t it be us?" Lauren, 30, said of the five children still on her mind.
The Sterlings started bonding with the kids over Skype, learning about their favourite things and hobbies. They soon started considering the Peruvian children part of their own family.
On Easter Sunday, Scott, 43, an associate pastor at Gateway Church in Blue Springs, Missouri, announced that his family wanted to take in the kids as their own.
The church then rallied to help the Sterlings raise $85,000 to finance the adoptions. When Scott, who also runs a lawn-care business, and Lauren headed to Peru to finalize the adoptions, the community fixed up their home to accommodate their instantly-expanded family.
"People painted beds, people framed pictures — I mean, people made the girls' room look like they had lived here for years. It was awesome to come home to that," Lauren told FoxNews.com.
Right after Christmas, the Sterling's new family members arrived. Yhonson, 17, Gerson, 15, Betsi, 12, Joel, 11, and Sibila, 9, were greeted by 30 people welcoming them to America.
"The Sterling house is now a hectic mix of Spanish, English and Spanglish. The kids started going to school this January. All five need to be fed and shuttled off to different buildings in the mornings — two are in elementary school, one in middle school, one at a freshman center, and one in high school. The transition to an English-speaking environment has been tough, but Lauren says that the kids have a great attitude," NY Daily News reports.
And while money is tight, the family has no regrets:
"So we eat spaghetti a lot if we have to," Lauren said. "So I don’t buy expensive jeans. Those are dumb reasons to not take these kids in."
Lauren blogged that the family's supportive community has made their transition from a family or four to a family of nine an exciting one:
"I have cooked 2 meals this week that someone else prepared so that all I had to do was throw them in a crock pot. We have received more than 1 anonymous gift in the mail. We have friends bringing one kid home from school. We have cousins loving on the kids and making them feel like there is someone in this world that they don't sound stupid to when speaking English. I could go on and on...It takes a village — and I LOVE my village!"
Lauren hopes her family's story encourages others to do big things.
"It's about people seeing that it’s possible — that, one, adopting older kids isn’t as scary as everybody thinks it is, and two, that doing what God asks even when it seems crazy is worth it."
The Sterlings are currently in the process of moving to a much-needed larger home.
Follow their adventure on Lauren's blog, Our Crazy Story.