When she and husband Bob Eveleth adopted three siblings through Child Protective Services, Page Parkes’ power to change lives took on new meaning. Page has scouted some supermodels over the years, but the story of how she gave her children a fresh start is more captivating than any gawky teen-turned-cover girl  tale.  How perfect that a story with so much heart happened along on Valentine’s Day!

How old are your kids? 

Reagan is ten, Zachary is nine, and Jacob is eight.

 

When did you adopt them?

Seven years ago.

 

How old were you then? 

Forty-seven.

 

Did you delay motherhood because you already were mothering all your models through the years? 

That’s exactly the reason. I could not fathom going home to a child after giving everything I had to 7,000 teens. I was so fulfilled.

 

How did the decision to adopt come about?

I met my husband at 37 and fell madly in love with him. He was five years younger. It really was the first time I had ever wanted children. We tried to have a child, but went through many mishaps—a surrogate mom who lost the babies, birth moms who ran away from the adoption home. It was a nine-year journey. Finally, we decided to reach out and ask ourselves, What should we do? We had to put our egos aside and realize that we could love any child. I wish I had put my ego aside sooner. We started down a road of hopefully less heartbreak, through Child Protective Services. With CPS children, the parents’ rights to the child have already been terminated, and there is no wait and no cost. I had worked as a child advocate through the years of trying to build a family. I decided to volunteer so I could love some child and try to put my head in the right place and not be so sad. Each year I had a child in the court system. Through that experience I learned I had no ego at all and realized I could take any one of those children and make a family. In my industry, I had worked with kids who were so blessed and talented and had everything they ever wanted and some were so bratty—certainly not all, but some. For these CPS kids, a happy meal was equal to booking a movie for my talent in terms of the gratitude.

 

How did the adoption of your children happen?

We were asked if we would consider three siblings—the two older ones had already been put into foster care; the baby, Jacob, was later left at a hospital by the mother. They matched him to the siblings and put them together. It was magical. We actually had been chosen second, though. First they picked a 30-year-old mother who stayed at home, but the family turned the kids back in ten days later. That was the most damaging time of their life. The woman went nuts. They were climbing the refrigerator, swinging from the chandelier. CPS had been very honest and warned us that these kids were wild. They said they would be breaking out of their car seats. But they all were asleep in our car within seconds and slept all the way from Austin to Houston. They were so at peace.

 

They look so much like you!

We never even saw pictures. We had about a paragraph on each child. When we met them, this girl with long curly blonde hair, ran up to me and said, “Mommy, mommy, can I brush your hair?” It was love at first sight. I told her, “You can brush my hair for the rest of your life.”

 

You often hear stories of health issues that adopted children have; did you have medical information?

Both parents are meth addicts. Both are in prison. The children were not born drug addicted and they have no learning disabilities. They are very intelligent. They are in honors classes at school. They have great social skills. They’re all very good at sports. I’m not athletic, so that freaks me out—I was never picked for any sports team in my life! It’s neat. You never know where they are going to excel.

 

Do you discuss the adoption with them?

From day one, we were completely honest. A feeling of abandonment can haunt children, or adults, if you can’t tell them the truth. There’s no reason to be secretive about adoption anymore. We’re in a really great time in this world: adoption is cool these days—so many celebrities are adopting—and people of mixed races are the #1 commodity in my industry. CPS called for us to take a newborn and one-year-old from the same mother. They ended up finding a distant aunt who is a teacher and wrote us a beautiful letter telling us about the mother. She sent pictures of the kids—one looks just like my daughter, the other is mixed race but looks like her too. They are too young now, but if my children want to meet their sisters when they are 18, I would support that.

 

What is your advice for someone considering adoption?

I would really encourage people not to consider a three-year-old an older child. They are still very young. Contact CPS in your area, and say yes to everything. We were asked if we would take a newborn, one-, two-, three-year-old.  After we adopted the children, CPS called to offer us subsidizing for the kids. We couldn’t believe it. They were giving us money? It wasn’t a lot, but for some people it would be. Since we adopted three children, they cover Texas college education also.

 

Have your kids done any modeling? 

We stayed far away from that. I didn’t want them to think I cared about anything so shallow. But Reagan was painfully shy when she arrived—not surprisingly—so I put her in acting classes. Now she has an agent in L.A. She said to me, “I understand you don’t want to push me, but because you’re Page Parkes, you can’t hold me back!”

 

I don’t think this model citizen and model mom ever would be found guilty of that. 

To find out more about this type of adoption, look up Child Protective Services (CPS), the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), or the Department of Social Services (DSS) in your area. 

See a video of Page and her daughter discussing the adoption at the end of this post on my site: http://www.modelingmentor.com/blog/page-parkes-heartwarming-journey-to-motherhood/