Simone Biles – We know her as Olympic medal winner and the best womens gymnast in the world.
What a lot of people don’t know, I certainly didn’t, is that Simone had some early childhood challenges that could have kept her from becoming the champion that she is. It was through the love and support of her grandparents, who later became her parents, that she was able to blossom into the best womens gymnast in the world.
Simone was born 1997 in Columbus Ohio to two parents struggling with drug addiction. The two parents were not able to care for their children, and Biles dad left the family when she was young. Her mother tried to take care of the 4 children, but they were moved back and forth between their mothers home, and foster care for a few years.
At the age of six, Simone and her younger sister were adopted by their paternal grandfather Ron and his wife Nellie. The two older children were adopted by Ron’s sister. That was a pivotal time in Simone’s life in more ways than one.
Soon after the adoption, Simone’s day care visit to a gymnastics center started her love of the sport. Most successful Olympic gymnasts start their training as soon as they can walk, so Simone got a late start.
It’s really pretty amazing that Simone is as successful as she is today. A lot of credit goes to her grandparents, who Simone and her sister, know as mom and dad.
If Ron and Nellie hadn’t adopted her, if they hadn’t enrolled her in gymnastics, if they hadn’t believed in her, if they hadn’t spent the time and money helping her achieve her dreams, she obviously wouldn’t be where she is today.
There was a bit of a firestorm recently when sports commentator Al Trautwig would not refer to Ron and Nellie as Simone’s parents, but as her grandpa
rents. He even doubled down Tweeting “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents”.
I guess Mr. Trautwig doesn’t understand what adoption means.
My husband and I adopted two girls when they were young, and I assure you I am their mom! I am the only mom they will ever know. My husband and I are the parents that changed diapers, and fed them, we are the parents that took care of them when they were sick.
We have loved them, nurtured them and supported them for as long as they can remember. We ARE their parents. We would give up our lives for theirs.
Adoptive parents are no less parents than biological parents. I could argue that adoptive parents have had to work a lot harder than biological parents, to become parents.
Ron and Nellie ARE Simone’s parents, and they helped shape Simone into the great young lady that she is. They deserve a lot of credit. As an adoptive parent, I can almost guarantee they don’t want the credit, because their reward has been raising Simone and her sister. But, still they are largely responsible for helping Simone achieve the success she has had.
If you are an adoptive parent, let this be a reminder of how important your role is, as a parent. It is an awesome responsibility, and a huge privilege.
If you have considered adoption, maybe now is the time for you to step forward and begin the process. You could be that “unsung hero” in a child’s life.