Stephanie Culley credits God for making everything work out so smoothly when her friend, Beth Laitkep, died of breast cancer.
“It had to be someone up above looking out for us,” she told People magazine, citing the fact that her house has enough room to accommodate Laitkep’s six children in addition to three of her own.
Culley and Laitkep had been friends in high school, and began to reconnect when Laitkep was stricken with the dreaded disease, reports the Washington Post.
As Culley explained to the Post, “I felt this pull to reconnect with her, this pull that I could not stop.”
The reuniting of the two friends was especially fortunate considering the fact that Laitkep’s husband abandoned her and their children while she was dying, leaving the six kids with the prospect of being parentless.
Culley and her husband, Donnie, currently have temporary custody of the six orphans: Ace, 2, Lily, 5, Dallas, 10, Jaxson, 11, Selena, 14, and Will, 15. A June 19 court date has been set in an attempt to make the custody permanent.
To help defray the costs of caring for nine children, a GoFundMe donation page has been set up which quotes Culley: "I want to thank every one of you that has shown your love and supported Beth and her family during this time. From making monetary donations, all the meals and just being there when needed. It's been unbelievable, the support in our community.”