NEW YORK and KANSAS CITY, Mo., Feb. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While sharing the story of their family's decision to adopt five Peruvian orphans with the ladies from "The View," Lauren and Scott Sterling received the surprise of a lifetime when Avila University President Dr. Ronald Slepitza suddenly appeared on the stage to offer the seven Sterling children $500,000 in scholarships to the Kansas City, Mo.-based university.
The Sterlings, from the Kansas City suburb of Blue Springs, Mo., hugged each other for joy upon hearing Slepitza's offer.
"This ensures our children get an American education and bright future. We are so grateful," said Lauren Sterling, whose religious faith led her two years ago on a journey that more has than doubled the size of her family and captured national media attention.
In January 2011, Sterling received an e-mail from a friend under the subject line, "we need a mommy and daddy." Inside the message was a photograph of five children— Betsi, Sibila, Joel, Gerson and Yhonni—who had lost their parents to tuberculosis and had been living in an orphanage near Pacasmayo, Peru.
At first, Lauren and her husband Scott agreed that someone wealthy should adopt the children and went about their days. But then curious things began to happen. While in Guatemala to see a friend, Lauren visited an orphanage where more than 120 children were living with little hope of ever having an adoptive family. A friend sent her a copy of Beth Guckenberger's book Reckless Faith. And then, on Easter Sunday 2011, Scott turned to her and said he was willing to move forward with the adoption.
After raising nearly $85,000, months of hard work and uncertainty, the Sterlings returned to Kansas City last Christmas with all five children, who joined 17-year-old Logan and two-year-old Laney to transform a four-person household into a family of nine.
Slepitza said Avila University first learned about the Sterlings when one of the school's administrators saw a news story about them on local television.
"What the Sterlings have done touches our hearts and this is an opportunity where everyone can say 'YES' and help this wonderful family," said Slepitza.
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Road in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.
SOURCE Avila University