Brannan Family: Seeing Our Son’s Birth Mother


Brannan Family in FloridaIt’s been a minute or two since my last update from the Brannan circus, so let me just say it’s good to be back here with you in the Gulf Coast Mom Blogosphere! We’ve been neck-deep in baby-life, dramatic-kid-life, cheer-life, work-life, and generally really enjoying life about as much as we possibly can.

Even through the nights of no sleep and times of high stress, we are constantly reminded of how blessed we are to be on this family journey. We have a TON to be thankful for, including maintaining our sanity (for now). 

I hope you are enjoying all of your blessings, as well! There’s a lot of crazy in the world right now and sometimes it’s good to step back and remind yourself of the good in life.

As for the Brannan family, we are all still beaming right now after a recent trip that proved to be such a rich experience for everyone involved.


To cut to the chase, we just took a trip to Florida and got to meet up with our lil dude’s birth mother (or tummy mommy) and they got to see each other for the first time since he was born.

This whole adoption has been incredibly unique from the start.

According to our adoption agency, it usually doesn’t go like this, and we’re so glad it’s unfolded the way it has. We have pretty much been connected and are in contact with the tummy mommy, we can call her Mama S, since our match-up.

Alyssa and Ollie, her adopted son
Alyssa and Ollie

To recap, my wife, Alyssa, wrote a handful of letters to moms who had registered with the adoption agency. The letter would basically express our family’s interest in adopting that mom’s child. Well, Mama S, who lives near Tampa, was the first one who responded to our letter and showed an interest in us. Since then, we have had a unique connection with her and we were even personally involved in getting her to doctor’s appointments and to the hospital for her delivery. Alyssa even got to be in the delivery room and cut the cord! It was really special and we’re still blown away by how this has all turned out.


Everything has happened for a reason—from the connection, to the funding (another WILD story about God’s obvious hand in all this), and everything in between. It all looks very intentional looking back at it, and it continues to be that way. 

So, we planned a pretty standard family vacation to the theme parks in Orlando over the Mardi Gras break. Since the adoption we’ve thought about possibly trying to meet up with Mama S if we were ever back in the area. We didn’t know if it would actually happen, or if it would even be a good idea, or if Mama S would really be interested.

Turns out, she was very interested and really wanted to meet up at some point during our trip. We felt like this meeting was pretty important, so we arranged for Mama S and her two elementary-age children to meet us halfway between Orlando and Tampa for supper one night. 

We didn’t really know exactly what to expect.

My wife and I have complete and total respect for Mama S’s decision to make sure her youngest born would have a good life.

During Ollie’s birth and when we were finalizing everything with Mama S at that time, it was very obvious that this was anything but an easy decision for her. It was both a gut-wrenching and profoundly loving choice she made to let another family raise the child she brought into this world. This was not lost on us, and we don’t want it to be lost on Ollie either. All of these thoughts were going through our heads as we prepared to meet up with Mama S and her other two children.

Sister with adopted baby brotherWe were also wondering how the dynamic would play out with ol’ Offspring number 1 (AKA Eden). She has been an absolutely incredible big sister through this whole process. She loves her brother more than I’ve ever seen anyone love their sibling. There hasn’t been a single second where she hasn’t been head over heels for him. At the same time, she has always loved the idea that she has “another brother and sister” in Mama S’s other children. She may drive us crazy from time to time, but in this regard, she absolutely amazes me.

So, a lot of unknowns were leading us into this meet up with Mama S.

If there’s anything we’ve learned through this journey, it’s been to trust the leaps of faith.

When we pulled up and all went into the restaurant together it was like an instant wave of peace washed over all of us. It felt like we were meeting with long-time family members (and the kind you actually like).

Mama S was overjoyed to get to hold the baby she had birthed 10 months before. It brought us so much comfort and peace to see the love in her eyes when she held him, and I believe he gave her the same comfort and peace.

We had great conversations. Eden and her “other brother and sister” got along like they had been around each other since birth even though it was the first time they had ever met.

While I was sitting there watching the whole night unfold in front of me it reminded me of how much we are all alike and different at the same time. We all have such unique stories that we’re writing and living, but we’re all just so similar to one another and can get along if we allow the barriers and walls to come down.

Good people are good people, and it’s sometimes that simple.

Mama S is a good person and that’s evident in her decision to make sure all of her babies get a good life and the care they deserve, which could really only happen if she let another family raise and love on her youngest born.

At the end of the night, we parted ways. I’m not the most intuitive person like my wife is, but I felt like there was an overwhelming sense of peace in all of us. The prayers I had been praying leading up to this meeting were all answered and there was a feeling of contentment and wholeness. It almost felt like Mama S had a bit of closure in knowing she absolutely made the right decision.

I know that may not happen with every adoption and that’s just par for the course with us. At this point we’re used to not following any standard books of procedures in our life and we’re thankful for every moment!


Jonathan Brannan and his childrenWhile we have had an incredible adoption journey, we want others to, as well. That’s why we’ve partnered with the 1720 Foundation, a non-profit that awards grants to families in the adoption journey. While you can always donate right to the foundation, there are several more ways coming up for you to help out that I can’t wait to announce!

I can’t wait to share more with you as our journey continues.