'Pioneer Woman' Ree Drummond opens up about having a foster son

Kerry Justich
·5 min read

Ree Drummond is introducing her foster son to the world, a year and a half after he joined her family, in a blog post titled “Bonus Kid,” published on her website on Monday.

The chef and television personality known as the Pioneer Woman invited fans to “Meet Jamar” through an excerpt of her upcoming book, Frontier Follies. And although the news has been well-kept from the public, Ree has been chronicling the journey that she, her husband Ladd Drummond and their four children have been on together since Jamar arrived at their door.

“That he came to be our foster son was entirely situational. Fostering a kid was never something Ladd and I pursued or felt called to do, but Jamar’s circumstances presented themselves to us in a way we couldn’t ignore — so, long story short, all six foot five inches of him showed up at our house one afternoon, bag in hand, ready to move in,” she wrote. “Ladd, who had the initial idea to have Jamar live with us, had met him a couple of times during high school football practice that summer. My boys knew him, too. I, on the other hand, had never officially met Jamar before that day.”

Chef and television personality Ree Drummond has introduced her foster son, Jamar. (Photo: Getty Images)
Chef and television personality Ree Drummond has introduced her foster son, Jamar. (Photo: Getty Images)

The 18-year-old had recently transferred from Tulsa, Okla., to where the Drummond’s live, outside of Pawhuska, and started playing football with the Drummond boys, Bryce, 18, and Todd, 16. Once Jamar was welcomed into their home, Ree wrote that they became fast friends with a “crash course in Drummond recreational activities” that included a night at the rodeo and an ATV ride at home that had a catastrophic ending.

“Jamar hopped on one of our ATVs and took off down our road. He’d never driven before, so when he saw the vehicle in the garage he thought it seemed like a fun activity,” Ree wrote. “About fifty yards down the road, he made too sharp a turn and wound up tipping over the ATV and badly injuring his foot. A skin graft (yikes) and a tendon repair surgery (double yikes) later, he had to stay in bed for more than six weeks to give his foot time to heal. For a kid with aspirations to a football career, it was a dicey, scary time.”

Through Jamar’s bedrest, however, Ree shared that her family became closer with him while adapting to his needs and ensuring that he properly recovered. “It forced all of us to get pretty darn close, and fast,” she wrote, recalling changing the dressing on his foot daily, delivering him meals in bed and making sure that he got to all doctors appointments and physical therapy sessions in Tulsa. “We were all up in Jamar’s business, and if there’d been any hesitation on any of our parts to interact and get comfortable with one another, his injury quickly knocked down those walls and gave us all a reason to come together,” she continued. “Jamar had to learn to trust us, which wasn’t easy. But again: crash course.”

While Jamar has taken over the room once occupied by the Drummond’s daughters, Alex, 23, and Paige, 21, Ree shared how she’s adjusted to having three boys at home, writing that having two of her own has been a challenge and advantage during Jamar’s transition.

“A challenge, because Jamar and Bryce are just a month apart in age, and there’ve been some natural turf wars and personality clashes that Ladd and I have had to referee. It can be tricky, because we’re mindful not to make Bryce feel like his whole life at home has changed, but we’re also mindful not to default to taking Bryce’s side over Jamar’s. Bottom line, we make them shake hands a lot,” she wrote. “It’s also an advantage to have two other teenage boys, because the Drummond house is just one big soup of testosterone and disgusting gym bags, and sometimes Ladd and I just have to throw up our hands and surrender to the chaos and disruption—and I’m not talking about the disruption of adding a new kid to the mix.”

Ree additionally explained that she initially kept Jamar from the public eye in accordance to the state agency that handles fostering, as well as her own concerns over using him as “fodder for my social media.” After allowing him to adjust to their family, however, they felt it was time for him to make his debut.

“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,” she wrote. “He’s larger than life, has a hilarious laugh, and is extremely smart — both book and street. He’s a great kid who’s overcome some difficulties in his life, not to mention a tough accident (and a foster mom who overfed him and unintentionally tried to turn him into a fly fisherman). Through a ton of determination, Jamar has excelled in football, and he’s already received a couple of college offers, with more sure to come in! I’m proud of the kid, and I can’t wait to see where life takes him.”

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