On her online Pioneer Woman blog, Food Network personality Ree Drummond surprised many of her fans in 2020 with the announcement that her family had a new member: their son and brother, Jamar.
The process of bringing Jamar into the Drummond fold was an exciting and joyful one for the family, Ree explained in her memoir Frontier Follies. But she hadn’t counted on a very special moment that brought about a dear friendship she hadn’t expected.
Drummond announced the arrival of her ‘bonus kid’
The newest teen in the family, Jamar had been living on the Drummond Oklahoma ranch since early 2019 but because he was still a minor, Ree could not post about him on her social media or even announce his arrival.
As she wrote in her recent memoir and on her blog, “I feel protective of Jamar and have always wanted his story to be his own and not fodder for my social media, which is often riddled with silly videos of my Basset hounds running toward the camera in slow motion,” she said. “Also, I’ve never wanted to subject Jamar to more attention than he wanted or needed before he had a chance to settle in and get his bearings in our home.”
Ree felt more comfortable speaking about Jamar once he turned 18 – and the young man wanted to know why she hadn’t. She wrote: “Most notably, he told me he’s tired of feeling like we’re trying to hide him from the world. He’s cool with my talking about him now, and he thinks it’s about time, considering he’s been in the family for over a year.”
Ree Drummond went kicking and screaming to this obligatory part of the fostering process
“Official training is required in order to be a foster parent in Oklahoma, and because Jamar came to live with us pretty suddenly, Ladd and I were allowed to complete the training after he was all moved in,” Ree wrote.
While her husband dutifully completed his training “immediately after Jamar’s arrival,” Ree shared that she unfortunately put hers off.
“I opted for the procrastination option, because if I’m going to be sitting in front of a computer, I usually have some kind of work deadline I’m trying to finish,” she said. She added that she “naïvely (and arrogantly) kept dismissing the relevance of the training because after all, I’m already a parent, I’ve had four kids of my own, and what would I possibly learn in foster parent training that I haven’t already encountered in my 20-plus years of raising children?”
Finally, after asking for and receiving three deadline extensions for completing her training, Drummond was told in no uncertain terms that not only could she no longer do it online but that if she did not complete it in person and soon, Jamar would have to be placed elsewhere.
She completed her training – and made a lifelong friend
The mother of now five was told she could complete her training in her own community of Pawhuska through a program “offered by the Osage Nation, the Native American tribe that’s headquartered in Pawhuska.”
Through the class, she met a man named Herman, “a Native American gentleman around my age, along with his mother and 18-year-old son.” Herman and his family had also just “begun fostering a family member’s child and were fulfilling their training requirement just as I was.”
Herman’s strong but gentle demeanor impressed Drummond, so much so that she told her husband about him.
“Ladd was familiar with his name since Herman and many members of his family had been football players when Ladd played,” she wrote.
Something happened, Drummond said, that she didn’t see coming: “I became fast friends with my classmate Herman. I started learning about Herman’s Osage culture, which is absolutely central to his life, and which drove his decision to step in and foster a child.
“Even though I was only there because I’d been a procrastinator, here I was, receiving a firsthand account of what it truly means to be Osage. I felt like the luckiest person alive, and to top it off, I’d made a new friend.”
She and Herman exchanged phone numbers on the last day of class and have kept in touch since then.
“I learned a powerful lesson,” Drummond said. “Sometimes you only have to open the window a tiny bit to let the breeze blow through. Between Jamar and Herman, the events of the past year have been a crazy, holy wind!”
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