When the email first reached the inbox of Lauren and Scott Sterling, they thought it might be a scam or a fake. Five orphans from Peru were imploring, "We need a mommy and a daddy." Lauren wrote on her blog, "I remember Scott and I looking at that e-mail and thinking about how beautiful the kids were. I even thought, 'Someone rich should adopt them.' And then life went on."

While Lauren and Scott weren't rich in material things -- they were, however, rich in heart. Lauren couldn't get the email out of her mind. And after digging around and discovering that the email had been written with the help of a friend of theirs who had visited the children in their orphanage, the couple -- who already had two children -- realized they were "rich" enough to open their doors to five more.

The orphans, who ranged in age from 9 to 17, had lost their parents to tuberculosis. After ruminating on the email for awhile, Lauren says she asked her husband, "Somebody's got to do it, and why can't it be us?" He agreed.

Thus began a year-long struggle to get all of the kids from Peru to Missouri, where the Sterlings lived with their two daughters, ages 19 and 3. Meanwhile, the couple chatted with the kids over Skype, worked through the red tape, visited them in Peru, and began to imagine them as part of their family.

Lauren told Fox News:

We got told 'no' a lot of times, and by then we were already crazy about these kids, so it was a rough part of the story. And you had to keep trusting that we were fighting for something that you knew was yours to fight for.

When the adoptions were finally cleared, their church helped them raise $85,000 to bring the children home before Christmas. The community pitched in with getting their home ready for a sudden influx of kids.

So few homes are available for older children who need parents -- especially five children all at once. Since the kids refused to be separated, it made their adoption all that more unlikely. It truly is a miracle that it worked out for them.

Lauren chronicles the adoption on her blog, and says that while money is tight and she'll never again "buy a pair of $100 jeans," she wouldn't have it any other way. And the kids, who are now learning English in school, have made the transition that much easier. She says: "These kids are fabulous. They have great attitudes."

No doubt they realize how lucky they are.

What do you think of this family? Have you ever adopted or thought about adopting an older child?


Image via familymwr/Flickr