Every summer, Dawn Nolting buys her 12-year-old son Isaac a pool pass, and drops him off to swim with his friends. In June, Isaac was hanging out, when he met a friend-of-a-friend, 13-year-old Dakotah Zimmer. The kids at the pool in Washington, Mo., noticed that Isaac and Dakotah looked an awful lot alike -- they have the same hands, the same feet, the same nose, the same haircut --- they even walk alike.
Someone asked if they were brothers. Dakotah said he had a brother he had never met who was adopted by a woman named Dawn. "That's my mom's name," Isaac said.
That night, Isaac sat on the edge of his mom's bed, and asked if they could talk.
"He looked at me with his big, black eyes and asked, 'Mom, am I adopted?'" recalls Dawn, 42, a manager at a dry-cleaning company. "I said, 'What makes you think that?' And he said, 'Because I think I found my brother.'"
Dawn told her son it was true and they both burst into tears.
"I just cried and cried and cried," Isaac tells TODAY.com. "I was so happy that I had a brother. I always asked for one."
Dawn says she had been trying to work up the courage to tell Isaac he was adopted. She had spoken to friends and her pastor wondering: when is the right time? She knew she was going to have to tell him soon, because next year the boys will be at the same school. But, she hadn't found the right words to explain their story.
When Isaac was a newborn, Dawn was on her way to dinner with her ex-husband and their then 11-year-old daughter, Krystyn. They ran into a friend of Dawn's ex who invited them to come meet his girlfriend and new baby boy.
Isaac's biological mother was a teenage mom with a 1-year-old son and a newborn boy. "She just looked overwhelmed," Dawn says. "My motherly instincts kicked in. I said, 'You need a break.'"
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