Last spring, MetroFamily asked readers to nominate moms who inspired them in our Real Moms of the Metro Contest. We received dozens of nominations of truly outstanding mothers across the metro (look for more about these moms in coming issues), but Dawn Davis stood out for her dedication to making the world better for children from around the world through adoption.
Nominated by her friend Jelaine Aprile, Dawn was described as “an inspiration in so many ways—a devoted wife, full time mom to seven children, three of which are adopted, two internationally. Dawn’s spirit is one of joy, conviction and a steadfast determination to enjoy life to it's fullest while enjoying the noble call of mom and homemaker.”
Dawn explains that she and husband Mark always “had a heart for adoption,” even before they were married. Here is more about this 42-year-old home schooling mom of seven and how adoption has changed their lives.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I hold a record in Indiana High School Basketball.
What are you passionate about?
Nurturing children into abundant life and helping others to do the same.
How did adoption help your family grow?
As a teen, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. This resulted in intense chemotherapy, which doctors told him would most likely keep him from fathering children. Three years into our marriage, Mark and I were ecstatic to learn that I was pregnant and our daughter was born in 1998. By the time our oldest was five, we had four children. In spite of the fact that our plate was very full, God presented us with the overwhelming need to adopt children in need. When our youngest was two, Mark’s niece became the newest member of our family, as well as our oldest child. A few years later, we again felt the call to adopt.
Tell us about your international adoptions.
We looked into adopting from Ethiopia after learning that there are over 4,000,000 orphans in that country alone. Our children were very much on board with us, and even gave much of their own money to help pay for the adoption. The international adoption process was long and full of ups and downs. Finally, we received an e-mail with pictures of a infant boy and a 2-year-old girl. Three months later, we were given the okay to go to Ethiopia. The trip was surreal, but the moment we first met our children will be fresh in our memory forever. Words cannot describe the flood of emotion that swept over us as we held our children for the first time.
How has motherhood changed you?
It took my eyes off myself. My children are so precious to me and being with them every day is such a pleasure.
How do you banish stress?
By playing games with the kids, putting on some great music and dancing with one of my kids, getting together with a friend or taking an afternoon to be quiet.
What inspires you?
People who are willing to sacrifice much for the sake of others.
What is on your wish list?
A multi-week vacation touring the country with my family.
What are you most proud of?
My family. My husband is a wise and loving friend to me and an amazing father to our children. My children never cease to amaze me with the love and unselfishness they show to each other and others outside our family.
How do you find balance in your life?
I ask God to order each day’s events, then do my best to take each day as it comes.
Advice for other moms?
Don’t give in to the pressure to get your kids involved in a lot of activities while they are young. Let them enjoy the security of home while they are little. Later as you see talents emerge, invest in those. Also, examine your heart and if you are willing to adopt a child. If so, let nothing stand in the way.
Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Indiana. My husband’s job brought us to Oklahoma in 1996.
What’s the biggest challenge in your life?
I struggle with slowing down during the day. I need to do a better job of blocking out the things that need to be done (laundry, meals, cleaning) and tuning in to the highest needs of the moment.
How do you help others?
Raising adoptive children holds it’s own unique set of challenges. I encourage anyone who knows an adoptive family to rally around them and offer support.
What is your parenting style? We attempt to provide clearly-understood boundaries and then give all the freedom we can so that the child can develop their own sense of personal discipline, sacrifice and joy.
Favorite quote or advice about motherhood? “Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own home. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor… Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”— Mother Teres
Quick Facts About Dawn
- What are five words that describe you? Encouraging, hospitable, busy, growing, nurturer.
- What’s your favorite indulgence? Anything with the word coffee in it.
- What’s your favorite date night venue? Dinner at Signature Grill in Edmond and a good movie.
- What’s always in your handbag? Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer and band aids.
- What’s your guilty pleasure? Dark chocolate.
- The Davis family–mom Dawn, dad Mark, and children (left to right) Jedidiah (age 3), Amari (age 5), Daniel (age 12), Sophia (age 13), Annie (age 10), Rebecca (age 18) and William (age 8).
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor of MetroFamily Magazine