Joni Mitchell rose from rags to riches after reaching the pinnacle of celebrity. Unfortunately for her, stardom arrived a little too late. Mitchell was so poor at one time that she put up her daughter for adoption because she couldn’t pay for her child.
Mitchell, like her daughter Kilauren Gibb, didn’t give up looking, and they eventually found their way back to each other after 32 years apart.
Joni Mitchell Abandoned Her Daughter
According to Cheatsheet, Mitchell gave birth to her daughter in 1965, a completely different era. Unmarried mothers were rather unusual back then. When she begged her child’s father to marry her, he refused.
She has yet to make a name for herself as a musician. She lacked the financial resources to raise and provide for her daughter. So, with a sad heart, she placed her baby for adoption, a decision she immediately regretted. She once stated to Hot Press:
“I had a house and a car soon after I’d given up my daughter for adoption, and I’d become a prominent person.”
She’d been looking for her child for years, but the trail had finally come to an end. When a childhood acquaintance sold her secret childbirth to the newspaper, it generated a lot of attention, but that was the end.
The Search for Kilauren Gibb’s Mother
On the other hand, Gibb confessed to the Toronto Sun (through Joni Mitchell’s website) that she would frequently question her adoptive mother about why she didn’t have photos from when she was born.
To keep the adoption a secret, the Gibbs — David and Ida Gibb, two Toronto teachers — had to feed her with a few excuses.
Gibb discovered she was adopted when she was 27 years old, and her search for her biological parents began. Thankfully, her adoptive parents left her with a referral to the Children’s Aid Society. As a result, she reached out.
However, it would take the institution five years to provide Gibb with the paperwork she wanted, and even then, the identity of her birth mother was simply a description.
Her mother, she discovered, was born in Saskatchewan, the lone child of Norwegian-Scottish parents. She suffered polio as a child and met Kilauren’s father in art school in Calgary.
“According to the CAS description, she is a successful Canadian folk singer.”
Gibb, on the other hand, wasn’t a lover of the genre for which her mother was famous and couldn’t draw the link on her own.
On February 1, 1996, she stumbled upon an article outlining Mitchell’s search for her daughter. The timeline was ideal. Gibb noticed the similarities as well: blue eyes, blonde hair, long legs, and high cheekbones.
She called Mitchell’s agency in the hopes of seeing her mother before her mother’s birthday on February 19. It turned out that she wasn’t the only “daughter” calling. All claims had to be reviewed by the agency.
Gibbs returned home one day to find a message from her mother on the answering machine. It said: “Hello, my name is Joni. Please contact me. I’ve arrived. I’m overwhelmed.”
On March 13, 1997, the mother-daughter combo reunited after 32 years apart.