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What My Mom’s Biggest Secret Taught Me About Raising My Own Kids

Every time you ‘like’ and share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per social action), up to $350,000, via the Global Moms Relay, to help improve the health and well-being of families worldwide in support of [email protected], Girl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, UNICEF USA and Nothing But Nets. More below!

My nana experienced 3 heart-breaking miscarriages and gave up on the possibility of bearing a child with her husband. Desperate to be parents they began the adoption process in Hartford, CT.

My mother, Patricia Ann was born June 3, 1948, minutes before or after her twin sister Priscilla Margaret – no one remembers who came first. In December of 1948, my mother and her sister were delivered in a basket to the door of my grandparents, Fay and Nicholas Bruno. They welcomed these 2 little girls with love, gratitude and hope for their new family. Soon after they renamed my mom as Donna Marie Bruno and my Aunty, Deborah Michelle Bruno.

Brooke Burke

Brooke Burke

My Nana Fay surrounded my mother with love and gentleness. As was so often the case at that time, she never told her daughters that they were not born from her womb. Adoption did not seem to quite capture the way in which they became a family, so my nana avoided the topic altogether. Life was blessed and beautiful.

One day, when my mother was 18, a family friend accidentally told the story of the day she and her sister were delivered to my grandparents. He shared how joyful and proud the Brunos were to be blessed to become parents. He had no idea this was the first time my mother would hear of her biological history.

My mother had no prior knowledge that she was adopted. You can imagine the questions, and the mystery that consumed her.

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However, my mother never told her mother what she’d learned. She continued to honor and love her mom as she always had. She had no resentment; she knew that she had the best mom in the world and never felt unwanted by her unknown biological mother. My mother had an amazing gift to love completely and unconditionally. She loved me the same way – with her whole heart. The same way her mother loved her. I am forever grateful to my mom for giving me possibly the most important gift in the world and for teaching me life’s most valuable lesson of love. She made me want to be a mother. She loved me unconditionally without judgment. She accepted every part of me and allowed me to be me. I strive every day to give the same type of support to my own children.

Brooke Burke

Brooke Burke

What I wish for every child everywhere is the opportunity to be loved and to know how to love in return. Love is not a one-way street. I wish for them to feel safe, safe enough to take chances and explore their own world. I wish they will be brave enough to find their own way without fear so they may travel their own journey with confidence. I wish every child the ability to communicate so they may find their own voice to do great things. I wish for them deep friendships so they will never feel alone. I wish for them to know God and have a spiritual connection so they can find their own important purpose. I wish that every child will feel valued and celebrated and encouraged to be who they are supposed to be. Globally I wish all will have nourishment, both physically and emotionally. I wish all children to have protection, to shelter their innocent spirits. I wish for every child to know compassion so they may take care of our world. I wish that every child will have the freedom to make their own wishes.

But first and foremost, my wish for every child is love. Love is invaluable, it is universal and essential for every human being. I wish all children will be able to understand the depth of a mother’s love as I do. Family means so many different things to different walks of life. We can all be mothers, caretakers to someone. Guiding, teaching, nurturing and protecting. If a child knows love they will have a full heart; with a full heart one can have an open mind; and with an open mind, a child can be whomever they chose. When that balance is met a child can change the world.

Brooke Burke

Brooke Burke

Thank you to my nana, may she rest in peace, for loving my mother, who in turn gave me the greatest gift in the world. The essence of who you are lives inside of me and my children. The energy from where I was born has made me who I am today. Thank you mom, for all that you are.

Brooke Burke is an American actress, dancer, model, and television personality.
You share, they give: Each time you ‘like’ or share this post via the social media icons on this post, or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $350,000 to [email protected]Girl Up, Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Nothing But Nets.

The Global Moms Relay was created by the United Nations Foundation and  Johnson & Johnson with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen and Fatherly, to  help  improve the lives of families around the globe. Share this post with the hashtags #GlobalMom and #JNJ, and visit GlobalMomsRelay.org to learn more.

You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up, U.S. Fund for UNICEF or Nothing But Nets, up to $150,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone.

* via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn’t reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.