Well-meaning friends and family questioned Paiva as to whether, under the circumstances, she would proceed with completing the adoption. “Although my husband’s death was heartbreaking for all of us, there was never any question in my mind as to what I would do,” said Paiva. “These wonderful children are my kids, my reason for getting up in the morning and carrying on. This loss has brought our family closer together.”
Paiva, 48, credits God with her ability to “love and nurture children.” In addition to adopting Anthony (5), Apollonia (6) and Isaiah (10) in 2011, the Paivas also adopted two four-year old twins over ten years ago and their daughter, Tanzi, 23, when she was 11 years old. On top of that, over the past decade, Paiva has fostered 15 different children and, each day, she welcomes 10 more in to her home at her home-based daycare business in Manteca, California.
The Paivas adopted the twins back in 2000, when the brother and sister pair were just 6-years old. “`Angelina and Angelo came to us as 4 year-old foster children,” said Paiva. “They immediately stole our hearts and two years later, when it was determined that birth family reunification was not an option, we jumped at the chance to adopt them and make them a permanent part of our family.”
Several years later, the Paivas decided the time was right to again welcome more children into their home and this time made the conscious decision to foster teens. “My husband was a social worker and knew how hard it is to find homes for foster teens,” said Paiva. “Although it was our original intention to open our hearts and home to a teenager in need, that all changed when we received a late-night phone call.”
In 2010, the Paivas received an urgent call from the Stockton office of Aspiranet, asking them to provide emergency placement for three siblings, ages 3, 4 & 8. The Paivas welcomed the trio and within a few short months, decided to begin the formal adoption process.
“Although Anthony, Apollonia and Isaiah were not teens, they desperately needed love, stability and security in their lives,” said Paiva. “We fell in love with them right away and knew that we had put an end to the cycle of loss and rejection they had experienced.”
Last November, Paiva’s adoption was finalized and now, three months later, she has decided to share her story in the hopes of motivating other people to consider fostering or adopting children. “There are thousands more children just like my six who need a loving home to call their own,” said Paiva. “The blessings you receive when you open your heart to a child in need are immeasurable.”
For 35 years, Aspiranet, one of California’s largest and most innovative social service agencies, has worked to ensure that California children are placed in permanent, loving homes – influencing the lives of more than 10,000 children. The organization provides adoption and foster care services at offices in the following 25 counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura and takes collective action to support communities and families as they love and care for children.
To learn more about fostering or adopting a child, please call (877) 350-HERO or visit the website at: www.aspiranetheroes.org.