This viral video shows the beauty of adoption—and will make you 😭

"We are now one family and all of that is because Brandy made a brave, selfless, beautiful decision," says Heather Dickerson.

This viral video shows the beauty of adoption—and will make you 😭

It's an incredible, intimate video now being shared with the world. That's why Motherly has nominated it to be part of our "This is: birth" series. The camera captured the moment when a mom met her new baby for the very first time, but that mom, Heather Dickerson, wants viewers to know about another mother who wasn't in front of the camera for that video but will always be in her heart.

Dickerson's daughter, Adela, was born April 30 to 30-year-old Brandy Griffin, a fellow mom who made the choice to make an adoption plan for Adela. "Really Brandy's the hero. She's the one who had to break her own heart." Dickerson tells Motherly.

To Dickerson, Adela isn't a branch being transplanted from one family tree to another, but a special limb that will forever connect two trees, making each stronger. "We are now one family and all of that is because Brandy made a brave, selfless, beautiful decision," she says.

Speaking with Motherly, Griffin says she made the decision to make an adoption plan during a tumultuous time in her life. Still reeling from the loss of her daughter to Sudden Infant Death syndrome in 2008, she'd recently ended a relationship and was caring for her young son as a single mother when she learned she was pregnant with Adela.

"I just made the decision that I wanted her to have a life that I wasn't capable of giving her at this time," she explains. "I browsed the 'hoping to adopt' pages on Facebook, and there were about five different couples that I was speaking back and forth with, but Heather would literally text me daily and her texts would bring me to tears."

Dickerson and her husband Brent had already adopted once—they have a two-year-old daughter, Willa—and they were hoping to add another child to their family when Griffin found them on Facebook. It seemed like the perfect fit.

After a few weeks of chatting, on Christmas Day 2017, the Dickersons learned Griffin had chosen them to be her daughter's parents. "That was the beginning of the journey and the best Christmas gift ever," Dickerson remembers.

When Griffin and Adela's father resumed their relationship during her pregnancy, she says he too fell in love the Dickersons when they came to visit from out-of-state. It was a journey they would make again months later, when they finally got the news that Griffin was going into labor.

Noah Andras

"Brandy's water broke on Sunday night at 11:30 and by 12:30 Brent and I and our 2-year-old daughter Willa were in our car, driving across the country to get to Louisiana from Michigan as quickly as we could."

Griffin's family—including her sister Haley Griffin of Something Southern Photography—helped keep the Dickersons updated as their daughter entered the world, and when the family of three arrived at the hospital Haley was there to greet them. She and her fiance Johnny Cheramie kept the cameras rolling as the two families officially merged.

"The pictures and video are so powerful," says Dickerson, who feels the images are even more special because they were created by Adela's biological aunt. She says the way they were captured is the perfect manifestation of the beauty of open adoption.

Something Southern Photography

"[We're] embracing the fact that she does have two families who are now one and I would never ever rip her away from her first mom or from her grandma or her aunts and uncles down here," she says, envisioning a future where Adela knows all about the other parts of her family tree, and can just pick up the phone and make a call if she has questions about where she came from.

Griffin agrees, and she hopes sharing Adela's story helps mothers on either end of the adoption equation see the beauty that's possible in open adoption.

Helping others is important to Griffin, who plans to keep advocating for open adoption and hopefully help other women extend their family in the way she did. "It's been the most amazing experience of my life next to having my children," she says.

An amazing experience and a truly amazing gift.

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After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.


Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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