A few months ago, a loving, Texas family went viral when their home video hit the web! Shane and Kasi Pruitt captured the tear-jerking reaction of their two young daughters being surprised with their newborn, adopted sister. It was a beautiful, unifying moment that was shared around the world. The Pruitts have five children, three of whom are adopted. In this interview with Kasi Pruitt, we discuss their reasons for adopting, the open adoption they share with their children’s Birth Mothers, dealing with the adoption wait and more.
ANLC: Last month, the video of you introducing your baby girl to your other daughters, Raygen and Harper, went viral! Woohoo! Did you expect it to gain that much attention on social media and news platforms? What did the girls think about their reaction being seen and felt throughout the world?
KASI: No, we had no idea that the video would go “viral.” The intention of the video was just to share with our family and friends about Baby Girl joining our family. Before we knew it, more and more people were sharing it and then news outlets were contacting us. We were shocked and surprised by all of it but wanted to use the time to share about the beauty and loss of adoption.
ANLC: That reaction speaks to the essence of what adoption is and means for people: unconditional love, regardless of biology. What led your family to adoption and do you plan on adopting more children?
KASI: Shane and I always knew that we wanted to adopt. When we first got married 13 years ago, adoption was always part of the conversation. God has been so good to us and we knew that this was something that He had in store for us. We now have 5 children, 3 of whom are adopted. We believe our family is complete, but have learned that sometimes things don’t work out exactly how you plan. So, while we don’t plan on pursuing adoption again, we also know that God works in crazy ways. We do believe though that this very well could be what our family will look like going forward. I guess the answer is, we don’t plan to adopt again, but who knows!
ANLC: We often get questions on how to prepare and guide biological children through the adoption journey. How did you prepare your children for the adoption journey?
KASI: Our first adoption was a little boy from Uganda, Africa. Our oldest daughter was almost 7, and our younger daughter was under 2-years-old. So, most of our conversation was with our oldest daughter at the time. We explained to her that there are some kiddos who just need a family to be in. We also told her that there are many reasons this can happen, but that our family can provide a safe and loving home for a child. Our younger daughter always knew adoption to be a part of her life. While our girls have gotten to see the beauty of adoption, we have also explained to them that their siblings have gone through major loss. That in a perfect world, they wouldn’t need to be adopted, but we just don’t live in a perfect world. I believe it is super important to have your kiddos know and see the good and hard of adoption.
ANLC: Are you in an open adoption? What is the hardest part about an open adoption; how has it benefited your family?
KASI: We have an open adoption with both Birth Moms of the kiddos we adopted through ANLC. Both of them wanted an open adoption so we wanted to honor that. We love having an open adoption. I believe it will be so good for our 2 kiddos as they grow up to know and love the women who gave them life. I always encourage other families who are adopting to be open to an open adoption. I know the unknown can be scary, but I truly do believe (in most situations) that an open adoption is what is best for the adopted child. And, that should always be the goal in all decisions when it comes to adoption. What is best for Birth Mom and baby?
ANLC: What is your perspective of your children’s Birth Mothers' sacrifice? How can potential Adoptive Parents better understand her perspective?
KASI: There are really no words for me to describe how I feel about Birth Moms or Birth Families. I truly believe they are some of the bravest people there are. All too often they are looked at in such a negative light. But the truth is, they love their child fiercely and they truly want what they feel is best for them. As I think about the 2 women who chose my husband and me to parent their children, it brings tears to my eyes. When talking about them to others or to our kids, we still refer to them as Mom. Our kids have 2 moms. Yes, we each play a different role, but she will always be Mom. When talking to potential adopting parents, I try to encourage them to not view their Birth Mom as a means to an end. Their Birth Mom should be honored, loved, cherished, and supported. I often find myself thinking about my kiddos’ Birth Moms and it always brings tears to my eyes. So, please don’t view these women as providing you something that you want. It’s all too often the case. The bottom line is, these women will always be your child’s mom and they should be respected and loved as such.
ANLC: Sometimes the adoption wait can take over a year and really weigh on some. What are some ways that you and your family have dealt with the wait time? And what are some ways that you have dealt with a quick adoption, as with your newborn daughter?
KASI: Our first adoption with ANLC was very different from our last. We were matched with our son about 1.5 months after we were active, but he wasn’t born for like 5 more months. We spent that time getting to know and love on his Birth Mom. Our second adoption with ANLC was very different. We were waiting about 9 months when we got the call about our sweet baby girl who was already 3.5 weeks old. We went to get her the next day. So there was waiting involved with both situations, but just in a different way. With our most recent adoption, while we waited those 9 months, we had one “failed match”during that time. The Birth Mom decided to parent. While difficult, I was so incredibly happy for her to become a mom. In fact, I am still in touch with her and check on her often.
I would just encourage people to always remember that adoption is unpredictable. Don’t put too many expectations on what you think is going to happen and how it is going to happen. All 3 of our adoptions were very different than we expected. Spend the time waiting, enjoying that moment, because when a baby joins the family, things change. In a good way, but they change. More than anything, spend that time thinking of ways you will support and love on your Birth Mom. She will soon become one of the most important people in your life. Hopefully, not because she is carrying a child you hope to adopt, but because you come to know and love her as a person.