Today’s Up Close: Adoption comes Kimber Dawn Brouse who lives in southwest Florida with her husband and three children. She homeschools and spends as much time as possible teaching her children to ride horses because it’s so much more fun than math. The whole family are avid readers, and it’s not uncommon to find one or more family members reading during meals. Kimber Dawn has even been known to ask her kids to tell her when a traffic light turns green so she can read a quick paragraph at a red light.
I always knew that on my birthday, if on no other day of the year, my mother was thinking of me. My birth mother that is. My real mother thought of me constantly; of that I was never in doubt. I was adopted when I was only a few days old, and the only thing I knew about my birth mother was that she was short with red hair, was a member of the church, and had been very young at the time of my birth.
Growing up I imagined a whole realm of possibilities for my genetic family tree. My favorite one (aside from the one where I was a real-life princess who would someday inherit a fortune) was that my birth parents grew up after I was born, realized they were eternal mates, married in the temple, had a wonderfully large family and a place for me in it if I could ever find them. I dreamed my mother was Relief Society President and she wanted nothing more than to find me and give me all the love she had not been able to give me before.
Then the time came when as an adult, I actually met her. I just knew that she would tell me she had thought of me every year on my birthday. Instead she said, “Every time I heard of some little girl being abducted, I hoped it wasn’t you.” Then, “You were born in the end of February, right?” I was astounded! I am her flesh and blood and yet she didn’t remember when I was born! “No, actually it was the end of January.” “Oh, that’s right, you came early,” she rejoined. And so began my relationship with this woman, my mother, my flesh and blood, who was and is so very, very different than I had imagined, so different from me.
And yet the very reason I had always wanted to find her was to thank her for giving me a life she could not have given me. I should have expected her life to be different than my imaginings. I grew up privileged in so many ways, and not one of those opportunities was one she could have given me. My dream of having a perfect family out there just waiting for me was just that—a dream. The reality was that I was already living in a perfect family. My birth mother’s life has been a hard one. She has struggled to get by and support her other children as a single parent after her marriage to a non-member ended in divorce. She did often think of me, but not quite in the way I had imagined. Instead she used her pregnancy and my birth as example of what could happen to my half-siblings if they made wrong choices. And blessedly, they have not.
And so I thank you again mother, for making the choice to give me the world. I have had every good thing in life: a mother who stayed home with me, made bread and cookies, and took me to early-morning seminary every day; a father who held the priesthood, worked hard to give us a beautiful home, and took me bowling for daddy-daughter dates; dance lessons; music lessons; family vacations; and yes, every little girl’s dream, a horse. I have a special place in my heart for my mother who gave me my life. By choosing to give me up, she gave me everything.