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Two Mothers

Dawn Caldart

My daughters have two mothers—one in Wisconsin and one in Ethiopia. Adoption is complex and beautiful and sad.

My joy is another mother's grief. But she has shown me such grace. When we were parting ways at the end of a recent visit, she took our daughters' hands and put them to my heart and wiped away my tears. She has shown me that our daughters are strong. Because she is. They are resilient. Because she is. And that they are the best of the both of us.

I watched them bound into 1st and 2nd grade with confidence and enthusiasm and for a few seconds I lost my breath, I thought of her. At the 8th grade graduation ceremony, I thought of her. When I watched them plan a youth led movement and stand up for their beliefs, I thought of her.

I have the privilege of seeing them grow up. It is an immense gift. And because of them, and her, my heart walks outside of my body.

We are all connected. And we belong to each other. 


Dawn Caldart is the Director of Pro Bono & Professional Development at Quarles & Brady.