Paige, a behavioral specialist, said it took a while for him to adapt but he's now happy and expressing himself.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 28, 2021. It has since been updated.
A 26-year-old single teacher from Indiana adopted her 7-year-old student and is now officially his mom. William had changed foster homes many times and had been subjected to “endless trauma” and had PTSD at just 4 years old. Paige Bramlett worked as his behavioral specialist while he was in kindergarten and felt a deep connection with the boy. She shared their story on TikTok. In the video, she can be seen reading a book on adoption with William. “He was my kindergarten student. I was his behavior specialist. He was in foster care and struggled with behaviors from PTSD and trauma. He had been in several homes in four years," she said.
"He was very isolated because he didn’t know coping skills, and he really struggled," said Paige, reported Good Morning America. "Since I was one-on-one with him, a lot of our time was spent working on coping skills, behavioral skills, talking about how we behave in school, those types of things." She posted a video explaining their journey. “One day, he didn’t show up to school, and he had never missed a day. I ran into his caseworker collecting his things in the hallway. She told me they were looking for a forever home for him to be placed in. I introduced myself and asked her what to do to become his forever home," she said. Paige felt the need to step in and provide William with a safe home. She fostered him for more than a year before making it official. “Now, he is adopted, loved, and chosen. My son. We are learning together every day," she added. Paige adopted William on October 12, 2021.
Paige said she had been warned against it by her friends and family, as she was so young and unmarried. They said she was "insane" to do it. She also posted a second video highlighting how her loved ones had reacted to her decision to foster William. She captioned the video: "Me, single at 24-years-old explaining to everyone that I’m going to start fostering one of my students." She set the video to the Taylor Swift song "Oh my God, She’s Insane," and Paige mouthed the lyrics. She also warned that fostering kids was no walk in the park. She stated in a video that “foster care is so hard” but added that it's “worth it.” She posted a montage of her and William skiing, dancing, rollerskating and more. “Foster care is worth it. Can’t believe all of the memories and so many more to go,” she captioned the video.
Paige said William found it hard to adapt in the beginning but she knew he would warm up to her and her home. "We became best friends very quickly. I saw a lot of the potential in him. He’s very artistic and creative, and his imagination is insane," she said. Paige made a very deliberate connection with him and put him at the center of her world. Wary that he had been hurt many times before, she kept the promises she made and guided him. "I would get down on his level and make eye contact, and I don’t know how many people had done that before," she said. "When I would say goodbye, I would tell him that I would see him tomorrow. He struggled with sleeping and nightmares, so I would tell him sweet dreams, and we worked on skills that would go beyond the classroom."
Paige and William spent their first Christmas together in 2021. "We are enjoying creating our own traditions in our own little home this year," said Paige earlier. They were surprised with a $10,000 Christmas gift from Five Below on the show. "We love spending time with our family and we are excited to just be with family and create our own traditions this year for sure," she added.