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A Mother’s Gift

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.

segullah2I 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.

15 thoughts on “A Mother’s Gift”

  1. Thanks Kimber for your beautiful post, I am sure so many adopted children can relate to those fantasies and myths. I am always grateful to your birthmom for giving me a sister! XO

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  2. I too have recently found my birth families and we are getting to know each other. I also had the fantasies~I was the daughter of Marilyn Monroe, my birth mother longed to see me again, etc. Of course real life is a little different than teen-aged dreaming.
    Now that I can fill in the blank spots, my story is rounded out and much more colorful because I have the missing pieces. I am who I am partly because of the choices of so many others, the rest is up to me, and I like Kimber am thankful for the Mom who gave me birth and the Mom who raised me.

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  3. Beautiful. Thank you.

    I hope my {adopted} daughter grows up to be just like you. 🙂

    And I love her birth mother for giving her that chance.

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  4. I have appreciated the posts on adoption this month as it is a subject so near and dear to my heart. Until you have been that adoptive parent longing for a child of your own, can you really appreciate the gift that a birth mother truly gives. How eternally thankful we are that your birth mother gave you life and that you became a part of our family! We love you!

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  5. One of my favorite stories is a book called The Star of Kazon by Eva Ibbotsson. I'm sure I butchered the spelling of the name and title. Anyhow, the main character was found as a baby by an altar in a tiny church in the Austrian mountains. Two women found her and adopted her. Little Annika grows up dreaming of the fairy tale–hoping her mother will be of noble birth and sweep her away, even though her reality is pretty wonderful. She is loved, productive and happy. Annika's dream comes true when her mother sweeps in and takes her to live in Northern Germany. The reality of that life is so very different and so much worse. Annika holds tightly to her dream, because it's her real mother,ignoring and rationalizing the ensuing events. The story does have a happy ending and it is one book that I recommend to anyone.
    I thought the dream and fantasy of one's birth mother is very potent and very real and Kimber's musings today reminded me of that story. I thought this was written well. But what I especially liked is how you, Kimber, seemed to have come with terms with the difference between your fantasy and the reality of your birth mother. I'm humbled by your willingness to give up the fantasy and embrace what is without bitterness or rancor.

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  6. Great post. Two of our four kids are adopted and we have open relationships with their families (meaning: we visit, we know where they live and vice versa, our kids know their other bio siblings…). Mostly, we wanted them to always have that piece and not wonder or be disappointed when they did meet them one day.

    I have always wondered if that was the right thing to do..because sometimes the fantasy is a lot better than the reality.

    Your words have really made me think today!

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  7. This is so wonderful, thank you for sharing. I feel the exact same way about my mother and father, though I was not adopted. They led very poor lives, made poor choices, and for the first 10 years of my life I had to suffer them too. When they died my life improved 10-fold and has only gotten better as the years have gone on. I too always had the dream of a perfect family somewhere out there waiting for a good kid like me. What my experience has been is that I now create that family from my friends. It's like the saying goes, God gives us friends to apologize for our families. 🙂

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  8. Holy cow! Hi Kimber Dawn!! Such a surprise to open my google reader and see your face! I was just thinking about you, Natalie, Diane, Jenn and Arianne W the other day. How are you old friend??

    Thanks for your post. I've thought many times about adoption, as I've known to some extent that I would most likely adopt since I was 12 years old. Dan & I haven't taken that step yet, but I know when it does happen it will be for the right child who was sent to us.

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  9. Thank you for your beautiful story. I wish there were more young girls who could read it when they are deciding what to do with an unplanned baby on the way.

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  10. Great post, thank you! I also hope my dd turns out like you. As a matter of fact, I wish Florida wasn't so far away, you sound like my kind of person.

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  11. Kimber, You know we've worked with LDSFS for years and treasure thoughts on the subject of adoption. Your insights are powerful and articulately expressed. Thanks for sharing a challenge that you have turned from "ashes to beauty". Very meaningful!!!

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