Evan Agostini, AP
"There's a book called 'The Shack' -- it had a lot to do with me coming full circle, meeting my birth mother," Rodney tells The Boot. "Awhile back, my birth mom and my adopted mom came to my show together, and it was pretty surreal. I met my birth mother, Dianne, a couple of years ago, and it's a long story ... 'The Shack' is about unconditional love, and it really inspired me. Part of it talks about a guy who gets a letter to go to this shack, and you find out it's a place where his daughter had been kidnapped. It's tough to get through the front of this book. He goes to this place where they found his daughter's body and goes in and suddenly it's bright and inside is a lady cooking and some person he can't see if he looks directly at him but he's always there, and this other guy's the handyman around the place who in his time off likes to fish. And the lady is God and who he can't see but is always there is the Holy Spirit, and the handy man is Jesus who's fishing in his spare time. And he goes and spends time with each of them. And they talk about situations."
Rodney first decided to start his own dialogue and seek answers about his past after his debut album came out and his adoption story became public, in part because fans kept approaching him about the subject. He tells People magazine, "People came to my shows saying, 'My neighbor is your mom,' or bringing baggies of hair to run tests on. I didn't think I was trying to fill a void -- I just had to put a stop to the crazy."
From the first moment he met Dianne, though, Rodney was instantly filled with compassion after finding out the circumstances under which she had to make that difficult decision -- becoming pregnant after a traumatic first date. "When you're adopted, no matter what you've got issues with unconditional love," Rodney tells The Boot. "And you find out you're the product of the worst situation for a young girl to be in and start her life, and I'm so grateful that my birth mom made the decision she made. She came from a rough situation."
There was an instant connection between the two, as the singer recalls when he first looked into Dianne's eyes that fateful first day. "I saw, (in her) my son's eyes," he tells People. "The same strange color as mine, the same hair. We were teary. She held my hand and kept saying, 'I'm so sorry,' and I kept thanking her. I said, 'I have wonderful parents. You have no idea the blessings you opened up for me. You don't have to explain yourself.'"
Since that day, Rodney has not only gained a second mom, but has become friends with his half-brother Tony (Dianne's son), as well. "I embraced my past, and my family has grown," he tells People. "It's a full circle. Dianne was a scared young girl, and now she's family. Having another mom is about the greatest thing you can have."