FRANKLIN, Ind. — The story of how Paige Bramlett adopted her son, William, reads like a modern-day fairy tale.
“I had this tunnel vision,” said Bramlett. “It was my goal to keep this child safe. And if that meant that it was adoption, then that's what that meant.”
In October of 2019, as a behavior interventionist at an elementary school in Franklin, it was Paige’s job to help William as he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma as a foster child.
“My goal as a behavior interventionist was to focus on the emotional and social regulation, and we really focused a lot on the zones like red meaning angry, green meaning you're good,” said Bramlett. “Really focusing on the children who needed that extra support in school.”
Right away, Paige and William bonded.
“We spent every day together at school,” Bramlett said. “We went to recess together. We had lunch together. We worked on social and emotional behaviors. And I really think I got to see him come out of the shell.”
So what was the deciding factor in Paige wanting to adopt William?
“I knew that this child needed a forever home, and I didn't want him to continue to bounce back and forth, in and out of foster homes,” said Bramlett.
In January of 2020, Paige became William’s foster mom. Then in August of this past year, after an intense screening process, 25-year-old Paige legally adopted 7-year-old William.
From Miss Paige to mom
“I never asked or pushed to be called ‘Mom,’” Bramlett said. “I was his teacher, Miss Paige, so it was a little bit of a difficult transition to call me ‘Mom.’ So we were on a family vacation, and after that trip was when the whole ‘Miss Paige’ name shifted, and she graduated to ‘Mom.’”
Bramlett has found herself playing the role of “mom” and “teacher” in the 25 months since she rescued William from the foster system.
“It's really neat to still work on those (behavioral) goals,” Bramlett said. “At times for him, it's still kind of like, ‘Uh-oh, Miss Paige is coming back out!’ We’ve been learning together. He'll call me out if I'm in the green zone. He'll call me out if I'm in the red zone. So it's been fun.”
A Christmas to remember
This past Christmas was Paige’s first as mom to William, and she hit a home run, along with Santa, delivering an adorable puppy named “Banks” as a present.
“We got Banks, and like everything that we do, I shot video and took pictures when it all happened,” she said.
Paige posted an adorable video to TikTok of William asking for, and then receiving, his Christmas puppy. That video exploded online, getting millions of views.
“I guess an adoption story and a puppy was what people really needed,” Paige said. “A lot of people have said to me, ‘That's the happiest story we've heard!’”
As more and more people learned of Paige and William’s adoption story, the friend requests came pouring in from all over the world, including a certain Hollywood actress.
“Jamie Lee Curtis!” said Bramlett. “She has reached out twice, wanting to send books to William, which is really cool.”
And Paige and William were suddenly becoming celebrities themselves. They appeared on a national TV show together and even got a mention by People magazine.
“People magazine reached out, and they put us on their Instagram page on Christmas Day,” said Paige. “We were next to Kate Middleton on their Instagram page, and I was wigging out!”
Room for one more
It seems like the only thing missing from this fairy tale is a Prince Charming. But with a new son and a new puppy, does Paige really have time for a man in her life?
“I would like to think so!” Bramlett said. “I worry about bringing somebody around, but William longs for that. And that's something I'm really excited for. And I have hope that that will happen. Somebody who can do the ‘man things’ and ‘boy things’ with him because I cannot throw a football! It’s not the easiest situation, but I think that eventually, we'll get that.”