Woman adopts friend’s 6 kids after mom dies of breast cancer

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 09:22:33-04

SOUTH BOSTON, Va. -- Two months after her friend passed away after a battle with breast cancer, a Virginia mother was granted full custody of her friend's six children. Stephanie Culley was granted custody in court this week after the father of four of Beth Laitkep's children decided not to contest the issue in court, WSET reported.

"It was just a huge sigh of relief, that it was over, that we could move on," Culley told WSET. "That we could sleep easy at night knowing that this is where everyone is going to be sleeping at night for the rest of their life. Everyone is happy about that."

Beth Laitkep, 39,  leaned on Stephanie Culley, who has three children of her own, as her health deteriorated.

In April, doctors told Beth there was nothing else they could do for her in terms of breast cancer treatment.

"She was never worried about herself. She was never worried about anything but [her children]," Culley told CBS This Morning. "She looked at me and she said, 'Can you do this for me? Can you do this?'"

After talking it over with her husband, Culley went back to her dying friend.

"We cried together. And I told her that I would love them, I would never be able to love them like she would, but I would do the very best that I could," Culley said.

A GoFundMe account set-up to help to newly expanded family has raised more than $65,000.

"I'm not a saint, I'm not a angel, I'm not a hero. I just-- I just love these kids," Stephanie said. "To walk in the door and see all of 'em in the living room dancing and playing and happy,that's what it's all about."

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers are Working For You.

Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.