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“Sweetie, do you know this lady?” a concerned stranger asked my daughter who was sprawled out on the concrete bleeding and stunned after a very public fall. (But she won the race against her friend before the spill! She wants everyone to know that!)
My sweet girl and her friend were racing ahead of me and it took me a minute to get to them. I pushed through the crowd that formed, calling my daughter’s name and saying, “Are you okay, baby?” and then “It’s okay, Momma’s here” as she started to cry reach for me.
But none of that was enough.
Because our skin doesn’t match.
So as I helped her to her feet, a women said, “Excuse me, but don’t you think you should wait for her mother?”
“I am her mother,” I declared without taking my eyes of my daughter.
That’s when she asked my kiddo for verification.
“Sweetie, do you know this lady?”
We hobbled off without responding. I heard her and her friends still pondering what to do. “She could be kidnapping her. You never know.”
This wasn’t the first time something like that has happened to us. And I know it won’t be the last.
I also know it happens to other families like ours all the time.
Families who weren’t built in the traditional way.
It happened very publically to a family just this past week.
It came out that Olympic gymnast Simone Biles is adopted. Instead of focusing on her amazing gymnastics talent, the focus has been on the time she spent in foster care, biological parents who were unable to care for her and going to live with her grandfather and his wife, who adopted her.
They adopted her.
That makes them her parents.
She calls them her PARENTS. Not only are they legally her PARENTS, she also chooses to identify them in that role.
NBC’s Al Trautwig took it upon himself to tweet out to the world that nope, she’s wrong. The whole Biles family is wrong. “They are NOT her parents,” he declared.
Sorry, Mr. Trautwig, but you don’t get to declare to Simone Biles who her parents are.
She’s made it clear in interviews Ron and Nellie Biles are her parents. They have been the ones there caring for her, supporting her and encouraging her day after day. They are mom and dad. They are her parents.
And not just emotionally.
They are legally her parents.
You see, when a child is adopted, a new birth certificate is issued.
My daughter’s official, legal birth certificate lists my husband and I as her parents, just as if I’d given birth to her.
Ron and Nellie Biles are the names on Simone Biles birth certificate.
Because they are her parents.
Please stop questioning adoptive families.
So what if our family was built through adoption?
Not all families look the same.
And stop focusing on the adoption parts of our stories.
Simone Biles is an amazing gymnast. That’s the interesting part of her story right now. Not how her family happened to be built.
When you see a child lying on the ground bleeding and reaching out for their mom, don’t interrogate them because they don’t meet your preconceived notions of what a family should look like.
When someone tells you who their parents are, you don’t have the right to correct them based on your opinion.
And when an athlete is doing amazing things at the Olympics, talk about that. Not her adoption story.
Because families built through adoption are just families. Just like yours. So stop putting “adopted” and “adoptive” in here.
My daughter is my daughter.
Not my “adopted daughter.”
Ron and Nellie are the parents of Simone Biles. Not her “adoptive parents.”
Just her parents.