Mom-Of-Three Honors Late Best Friend’s Wishes And Adopts Her SIX Kids

Virginia couple Stephanie and Donnie Culley adopted their friend’s six children after she died of cancer.

Stephanie’s friend from high school, Beth Laitkep, passed away last May at the age of 39. Beth had previously lived in Texas with her six children, and then moved back to Virginia where she and Stephanie rekindled their friendship.

Two years ago, when Beth was pregnant with her youngest child, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She received chemotherapy for about a year until last April when her doctors concluded that the disease had spread to her brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. Beth made the decision to stop treatments and passed away a month later.

“She was a devoted mother, that was her thing,” Stephanie said.

“Her kids were her life and she loved them more than anything. She was a humble and very sweet girl.”

On the day Beth was told about her cancer spreading, she and Stephanie had temporary custody papers drawn up. Stephanie and her husband were given full custody on July 19th. Beth’s children, Will, 15, Selena, 14, Jaxson, 12, Dallas, 10, Lily, and Ace, 2 now all live with the Culleys and their three children.

Beth’s children had two fathers. The father of the first four children agreed to giving the Culleys full custody, while the father of the two youngest did not appear in court. He left as Beth got sicker.

Beth’s nurse and friend Patti Nami was with her during her final days.

She gave each of the kids a Build-A-Bear with Beth’s voice as a gift.

“Those children are extremely amazing human beings because of the gift that Beth gave them and the way she raised them. She had a lot to overcome. That’s the part of the story I don’t want people to forget is what Beth did,” Patti said.

Stephanie added,  “My husband and I laugh because we didn’t really plan on having any kids and here are with nine. I picture the future as us having this huge, big, happy family. When I first realized that I was going to do this I was scared to death, but as we walked this journey, it’s so much better than anything I had in my head.”

“It’s just amazing to watch all these kids interact and love each other so much. Don’t get me wrong, they have days where they want to fight, but most days they get along. I just hope they will learn from us and be positive influences in society. That’s our goal.”

You May Also Like