RHOD's Brandi Redmond Adopted Her Son Thanks to an Introduction from BFF Stephanie Hollman
"It's the thing I'm the most proud of in our friendship," RHOD's Stephanie Hollman tells PEOPLE of helping Brandi Redmond adopt her son
The Real Housewives of Dallas costars have long been best friends, despite a slight snafu back in season 2. But Hollman took their connection to the next level at the top of this year, when she connected Brandi with the social worker who would help her and husband Bryan Redmond adopt infant son Bruin Charles.
That’s one of the many revelations in RHOD: Brandi Redmond’s Baby Story, the new seven-episode Bravo digital series that follows the reality star through the ups and downs of her adoption process (watch an exclusive preview of the episode above).
“It’s the thing I’m the most proud of in our friendship,” Hollman tells PEOPLE. “I know she has wanted another baby forever, and a baby boy at that. To be a part of fulfilling that dream for her, even in the smallest way, is just so, so special.”
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PEOPLE revealed the news about Brandi’s newest addition to the family exclusively in May. The baby boy, born Dec. 31, joins sisters Brinkley, 6, and Brooklyn, 9.
RELATED VIDEO: Real Housewives of Dallas‘ Brandi Redmond Adopts Baby Boy After Fertility Struggles
Back then, Brandi explained that Bruin was a bit of an unexpected addition to her family. After failing to conceive another child, Brandi and Bryan reluctantly made the decision that they were going to stop trying for baby No. 3. It was an especially tough call since Brandi always felt like her family was still incomplete.
Days into the New Year, though, she got a call from “a friend” connected to a social worker who told them about Bruin — a friend who we now know is Hollman.
“I worked as a social worker for about six years, up until the time I was married to my husband,” Hollman explains. “And a little bit after New Year’s Day, I got a call from Dr. Mercer, who owns this adoption agency in North Texas.”
Bruin’s biological parents were teenagers, who awarded him to the state at birth. Without a plan in place, Dr. Mercer’s team were having trouble finding a family who wanted a son — until Hollman came around.
“He said that there was this baby boy [for whom] they needed to find a forever home, and asked if I knew anybody in need of adoption. And I immediately thought of Brandi.”
She texted Brandi quickly, asking “Would you like to adopt a baby boy?”
Brandi’s response? “A dog or human?”
Hollman followed up with two pictures of Bruin and the message, “A human. Call me.”
The rest was pretty much history. Bruin was in the intensive care unit because he was born prematurely, so the Redmonds flew to meet him, Redmond raving that they “immediately fell in love.” Bruin came home a few weeks later.
“It was so fast,” says Hollman. “Bryan was really interested and open to adoption and Brandi, I feel like from the moment she saw a picture of him wanted to adopt him.”
“I got to talk to her about her fears, and hear all the amazing stories of her going to the hospital and meeting him for the first time,” Hollman adds. “It was so cool to have a front seat to witness it all.”
The process was also a bit of a full-circle moment for Hollman, who previously worked at a homeless pregnancy shelter filled with young moms in abusive situations or with drug issues who had often made the tough choice to place their child for adoption.
“As a social worker, you see a lot of the hard things. And this showed me the other side,” Hollman said. “Opening your heart and your home up to a child who needs a family is one of the most amazing things you can do. You literally change the life of these children who don’t have anyone. So it’s really, really emotional.”
Seven months after Bruin’s arrival, Redmond remains as blissful as ever with motherhood. And Hollman is just looking forward to fans meeting her best friend’s baby on season 3 of RHOD.
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