Two Missouri boys were hanging around in the local pool with friends when someone stopped and asked if they were brothers.
Isaac Pettet-Nolting, 12 and Dakotah Zimmer, 13 met through mutual friends over the summer. When people started pointing out their striking physical and personality similarities, someone finally asked the obvious question: are you brothers?
Dakotah then revealed that he actually had a brother who was adopted as an infant 10 years ago. The woman who adopted his brother was named Dawn.
Caught off guard, Isaac responded, “That’s my mom’s name.”
That evening, when he got home, Isaac confronted his mother and asked for the truth.
“He looked at me with his big, black eyes and asked, ‘Mom, am I adopted?'” Dawn recalled. “I said, ‘What makes you think that?’ And he said, ‘Because I think I found my brother.'”
In tears, the mom revealed the truth to her adopted son.
“I just cried and cried and cried,” Isaac recounted. “I was so happy that I had a brother. I always asked for one.”
“I just didn’t know how to tell him,” the mom added. “I never knew when was the best time. I talked with experts and relatives, but never knew when I should do it.”
Dawn Nolting and her ex-husband were friends with Isaac’s birth parents. A few weeks after Isaac was born, Dawn visited the Zimmer family home and saw that the parents were struggling with then-1-year-old Dakotah, as well as the new baby. In a show of compassion, Dawn decided to offer to take Isaac.
“She just looked overwhelmed,” Dawn said. “My motherly instincts kicked in. I said, ‘You need a break.’”
Isaac’s biological parents accepted Dawn’s offer, and Dawn took the baby home with her that night.
A few months after Dawn took Isaac home, his biological mother came for a visit and told Dawn that she was pregnant again. This time, she requested if Dawn would formally adopt Isaac.
When the adoption was finalized, Dawn raised Isaac as her own son. Isaac’s biological parents both died in 2007, leaving Dakotah and his younger sister in the care of their maternal grandmother Debi Bay.
After find out about the chance encounter at the pool, Dawn called Bay immediately, after having no contact for almost a decade. “I knew it was gonna happen sooner or later,” said Bay. “It didn’t surprise me that much. I’m just surprised the way they ran into each other. I’m glad they got to meet.”
“You can just tell they’re brothers,” Dawn added. “It’s the strongest bond that I’ve ever seen. It’s like they were never separated. For being apart for 10 years and 20 minutes away, they picked up right where they left off.”