(CNN)In 2013, Vanessa McGrady learned that her 2-year-old daughter's birth parents were living on the street. So she took an unusual step: She invited them to stay with her.
Her daughter's birth parents were homeless and sleeping in a tent. So she invited them to stay with her
This unorthodox living arrangement, with its joyful and painful moments, became the basis for McGrady's new book, "Rock Needs River: A Memoir About a Very Open Adoption."
McGrady and her husband, Peter, had met their daughter's biological mother just four days before she gave birth. They bonded with the young, very pregnant woman and her boyfriend in part due to a shared love of music.
After McGrady and her husband took their newborn daughter, Grace, home to their 2-bedroom condo in Glendale, California, they kept in touch with the biological parents via email and Facebook.
Fast forward two-and-a-half years, and almost everything had changed. McGrady was separated from her husband. Her daughter's birth parents were homeless. When McGrady learned of their plight, she made a very unconventional choice.
In the 14 years I've known McGrady she's been unfailingly bold and generous. I spoke with her recently about her story of adoption and adaption. (Her answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
CNN: Tell me about the circumstances Grace's birth parents were in when she was born.
McGrady: So, at that time, Bill and Bridgett were living in a small apartment. It was more like a residential hotel. Bridgett was unable to find work. She had a background in grocery stores. And Bill was assistant managing a Pizza Hut. But they were barely making it. And then a couple of years later, they got evicted. Bill had lost his job and they just couldn't afford to do it anymore...they were out on the sidewalk in Los Angeles.
And when it became winter, it was really rainy and stormy and cold, and I invited them to stay with us, because, you know, what else would you do? They were living in a tent. And I just feel like that is the thing you do when someone you know becomes homeless. You give them a spot to rest.
CNN: Did you give a lot of thought to doing this or was it more of a quick decision?
McGrady: I didn't give a lot of thought to it, because I don't know you repay an un-repayable debt. Them choosing us to become parents is really something I can never, ever repay and if it means them bunking with us for a little bit, that's okay. There are things that I wish I had done differently, but I don't regret inviting them to stay.
CNN: What was it like living with Bill and Bridgett?
McGrady: It felt like it was in between having friends and family stay. They were very polite and tidy. We tried hard to stay out of each other's way, but I also wanted them to feel comfortable. They were also very sweet with Grace.
CNN: Do you think Grace benefited from having them in the house?
McGrady: I don't know. It's one of her earliest memories. I think it is important for (most) adopted kids to know at least a little about their birth parents. There was one really sweet night I remember that I was having a hard time brushing her hair and they started brushing each other's to show how nice it felt. It didn't convince her, but it was just such a lovely gesture. There was also another time where Bridgett and I orchestrated this great comeback visit from a lost teddy bear on Christmas Eve -- I'd found a replacement -- and that was fun. Of course, Grace figured out it wasn't the same bear, but I'd say our production was pretty good.