The Westberry Family:
Parents Lesha and Joseph with Biological Child Joseph and Adopted Children Juriyah, Jediah, Jagger, Jayden, Justus, Joshua, Josiyah, Mayra, and Cierra
Lesha and Joseph Westberry are blessed with wonderful children - 10 to be exact. Of those 10, nine have been adopted by the Westberry family. Their biological son Joseph, age 10, thoroughly enjoys having so many brothers and sisters.
While many families want to adopt babies and younger children, Lesha and Joseph were determined to adopt hard-to-place children. Over the past three years, the Westberry family adopted a sibling group of four - twins Juriyah (10) and Jediah (10), Jagger (9) and Jayden (7). They also adopted children from other foster homes: Mayra (10), Justus (10), Joshua (10), Josiyah (6) and Cierra (3).
"For the first time in their lives, the four siblings were a real family," says Lesha. "They were placed in different homes before we adopted them." Although some of these children were from the same biological family, they were strangers until they arrived at the Westberry house. It was a homecoming to remember for the brothers.
The Heart Gallery and Children's Home Society of Ft. Pierce played a significant role in assisting Lesha and Joseph with the adoption process. "The process can take a while if you are selective," says Lesha. "We did not have a preference and we were open-minded." The Westberry children are all from various backgrounds and races. To Lesha and Joseph, preference in race or color was not necessary to create a strong family unit. "We just wanted to help, since these kids are our future and they deserve to have hope," adds Lesha.
Lesha advises individuals considering adoption to look at the bigger picture and consider the child's feelings. "By hanging in there, you'll definitely see miracles occur with each child," notes Lesha. "There's a big transformation that goes on everyday with my children. Older kids who come from unsettling home environments may not have learned simple tasks like brushing their teeth. If nobody was looking out for these children, how are they going to learn?"
In fact, Lesha and Joseph had never seen three of their adopted children until they arrived at their home. "We constantly reassure the children they will always have a permanent home here," shares Lesha. "We tell each child there is nothing you can do to make us send you away." The Westberry family is committed to one another through thick and thin.
Preparation for each child's future is crucial to Lesha and Joseph. All of the children are homeschooled, and are constantly on the move participating in activities such as in Tae Kwon Do.
"People come up to me and ask if I have a daycare center," Lesha chuckles. "When I explain to them they are all my children, most folks are in awe." The journey will continue for the Westberry family, and each day brings new challenges and joys.