Foster Mom Who Adopted 3 Kids After Realizing They Were Siblings Says Journey 'Changed My Life'
With five kids under the age of five currently living under her roof — three who are adopted and two of whom are her boyfriend Josh's biological kids — Page tells PEOPLE that the chaos is exactly what she loves.
"As a little girl, I always wanted to adopt. I never knew it was going to be this way, but I couldn't imagine it any differently," she says. "It changed my life in a way I never knew. People are always like, 'Oh, what you've done for these kids is amazing.' And I'm like, 'What they've done for me is amazing.'"
Listen below to Me Becoming Mom to hear Jillian Michaels' adoption journey and her unique road to motherhood.
"I didn't imagine our story would ever end up this way, but the twists and turns it has taken has kept it interesting and fun," she adds. "Without adopting, I don't know where I'd be."
Page first went viral in 2019 after finding out that the little girl she was then fostering, named Hannah, shared the same biological mother as her son Grayson, now 5, whom she adopted in 2017.
Two years after Page officially adopted Hannah, now 4, she heard about Jackson, the biological sibling of Hannah and Grayson. Page knew she had to also take him in and officially adopted the now-3-year-old in June 2020.
Then, in February, the Parker-based mom, who documents her life on Instagram, learned of another surprise: the children's biological mother had welcomed another baby. Without hesitation, Page took in baby number four, a little girl who she referred to as "Nora" for privacy reasons.
Nora stayed with Page and her family for the first nine months of her life before she was officially adopted by Kaci and Dustin Whitney, a couple in Florida — who also happen to be the adopted parents of Taylor and EadyGrace, the older sisters of Grayson, Hannah and Jackson.
"There's six within the two families now. They have three of them, and I have three of them," Page explains. "We've all been really open that they are all siblings... And we'll maintain that relationship."
Though Page — who has fostered a total of 10 kids so far — admits that giving Nora to the Whitney family was "hard for [my kids] to grasp," she looks forward to showing them how they've helped in her journey.
"They've seen other babies come and go through fostering, so I don't think they quite know what the difference is," Page explains. "But with Nora, they'll at least get to see and follow her. We'll be able to show them pictures and say, 'Hey, we raised her for a number of months to help keep her safe and be her temporary home until she could go there.'"
"We always remind them that they're all sisters and brothers," she notes. "And so they get to have that connection remain."
November is National Adoption Month, and PEOPLE is celebrating by highlighting the many extraordinary ways families can grow via adoption, featuring real stories from celebrities, everyday parents and adoptees, as well as information on the varied ways to adopt. For more heartwarming, heartbreaking and happy-ending stories, visit our Adoption page.
With Nora now in Florida, Page says she will be taking a break from fostering as she focuses on raising the five children in their household, which include Josh's daughter Maggie, 5, and son Hank, 4.
"My boyfriend has moved in so we're committed to raising all of his kids and mine," she says. "If any more should come along, it'll be biological, because the needs of mine are so high at this point."
"As the kids get older, we start to see more of the effects of the drug abuse [from their birth mom]," Page explains. "Over the last year, my son, the youngest, Jackson, was diagnosed with autism. We suspect he may not be the only one with it... and so it's been a lot of challenges as we adjust."
Despite those challenges, Page says she's reminded each day why she does this.
"Every child deserves a safe and loving home, whether that's forever or temporary," she says. "Some of us are lucky enough to have that through our biological parents, some of us are not, but every child deserves one... and it's so cool to watch them stay together and be part of their journey."
"I need some more sleep," she jokes. "But I'm grateful for it. Getting to be their mom has been my biggest reward. It's something to look back on and be proud that these are the kids that I've raised.
"They're little world-changers," Page adds. "They're so strong and so resilient, despite everything they've been through."
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With National Adoption Day right around the corner, Page hopes others will consider opening their hearts and homes for children in need.
"The need for more adoptees is incredible. It's really high," she says. "The more we can do to help spread that message and show how great it can be and help try to overcome some of those fears that people have is one of the best things we can do."
"Whether you can give a home to them or not, you can still help support organizations who do, by donating clothes or school supplies or meals," Page goes on. "It's one of those things that if you feel a calling for that, then God will work it out. There are tons of resources and plenty of people that want to support you in that journey to do it."
"I never thought I'd be here today," she adds. "I would've told you, 'No way would I have ever fostered.' Every step of the way I was terrified, but things always worked out. Where there's a will, there's a way, and when your heart is in the right place, and you're trying to do good, it's rewarded."
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