SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - If you've ever thought about adopting, and have wondered how you'd manage with an extra child, or two, or three, this local mom just might be the inspiration you need.
La Shara is a single mom who is raising six kids on her own, and the gratitude and respect the children have for her love and devotion is incredibly touching.
"These are my children, they're all stair-steppers. So I have Manny who is 8, Sierra, 9, Jeremiah, 10, Angelica, 11, Justin, 12, and Austin, 11," she said.
Whoops, Austin is actually 13. You'd probably get it wrong too once in a while if you had six children like La Shara does.
"I can't even count anymore," she joked.
Of the bunch, Austin, Justin and Sierra are La Shara's biological children. Angelica, Jeremiah and Manny are her adopted children.
"It's something I've always wanted to do," La Shara said.
La Shara wanted a big family, and first considered international adoption, but was then compelled to go through San Diego County Adoptions three years ago after a friend of hers went that route.
"There's a lot of children here who need homes and need loving families, and I thought why would I go elsewhere when we have many children here," she said.
That's how La Shara, a single mom, ended up with six kids. And when they're out in public, they most definitely turn heads.
"We get a lot of looks," La Shara said. "Just about everywhere we go we're asked, 'Oh, are you guys on a field trip? Oh, you're a teacher.' No, these are my children. 'All of them?' All of them."
La Shara's three adopted children tell me they are so grateful for their new life and have this to say to their new mom: "Thank you, this is one of the best things that had ever happened to me."
"She always takes us places," Manny said.
"I lived in a few group homes. It was sort of really hard, because I had to keep moving to another house and another, so I'm really glad I have a family," Angelica said.
La Shara's biological children are just as appreciative of their expanded family.
"One of the best things of having extra big family is that there's always an extra person to play with and talk to," Justin said.
"You can always count on them to be at places that you're at," Sierra said.
And they say it never feels like their mom is spreading herself too thin.
"She does a good job giving everyone love," Austin said.
As we all stood on the playground talking for about 20 minutes, I marveled at La Shara's children, who were 100 percent attentive. None of them got antsy, and so I asked how they have the discipline to be so patient and well-behaved.
"Because she always treats us with kindness and compassion," Austin said.
"She does many great things for us and we like to repay her by always being nice to her. And if she needs something we always try to be kind and help her, just like she does everything for us," Angelica said.
If you are interested in adopting from foster care or becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U or visit iadoptu.org to take that first step and fill out an inquiry form.