The Real Winner
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“The Real Winner,” Friend, June 2006, 14

The Real Winner

“Being adopted means having a family that loves you,” says nine-year-old Kimberly who was adopted and sealed to our family five years ago. Often adoptive parents think they will teach and guide the adopted child, but in our family Kimberly is the one who often does the teaching.

Kim recently entered two events in a track-and-field competition. She had never raced before but wanted to give it a try. She positioned herself on the track to compete with the 20 or so other girls her age in the 100-meter race. A shot rang out to begin the race and, with hundreds of spectators looking on, Kim started running. I was waiting near the finish line with camera poised to capture her coming down the lane, when I realized that she was in last place. I expected to see a disappointed little girl, but Kim had a huge smile on her face! When I retrieved her from the group of girls, she blurted out, “Mom, that was so much fun! When’s my next race?” She then rushed off to sit with her new friends.

Feeling shocked, but extremely proud of my daughter’s positive attitude, I took my place once again at the finish line to see her race in the 50-meter dash. The starter’s gun fired again, and I caught sight of Kim’s beaming smile as she ran with all her might toward me. As I watched my beautiful daughter cross the finish line, parents around me were jumping up and down, congratulating their own daughters. I stood calmly as a warm, peaceful feeling of gratitude filled my heart. Only I knew how far Kim had come in the years since she came to our home. She was once a frail, malnourished, and withdrawn child, and now her strength and confidence couldn’t be contained. She cried out, “I came in third, Mom!”

I gently replied, “No, Kimmie, you didn’t come in third. The winners are over there receiving their awards.”

“I meant I came in third to last, and I want to race again!” I hugged her tightly, and we both giggled out loud as we walked off the dusty track. I knew that Kim was the real winner and had been blessed with gifts and talents far greater than speed and agility. How blessed I felt at that moment to be her mother. I can only hope that I will face my challenges and trials in life with a smile on my face and the same positive outlook that Kim showed me that day. I thank Heavenly Father for bringing us together and pray that I can continue to learn from her example.

Kimberly H., age 9, Arizona