USA Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast, Simone Biles is inspiring foster children to DREAM BIG!!! Not only is she the first female gymnast since 1974 to win four consecutive all-around titles at the U.S. National Championships, but she’s also the first woman ever to be the all-around world champion three years in a row. She’s won fourteen total world championships medals—the most ever won by an American woman.
Simone’s grandparents, Ron and Nellie, officially became her mom and dad when Simone was 6. Her birth mother struggled with substance addiction and she and her three siblings were placed in foster care. After three years in foster care, the children were adopted. Simone’s oldest siblings went to live with their great Aunt, while Simone and younger sister, Adria, were adopted by Nellie and Ron.
Becoming a “family” takes time. As they transitioned through the adoptive process, the family went to counseling to help them adjust to their new roles. Simone used to do the talking for her little sister until she learned to trust that she had a mother who wasn’t going anywhere and felt safe enough to relinquish that role. In a May interview with Reuters, Nellie Biles spoke of the unique experience of caring for and eventually adopting her own granddaughters: “It’s really hard to explain because you do not one day wake up and decide ‘oh good, I’m going to be her mother and I’m going to love being her mother.’ It wasn’t an easy transition because they didn’t have any connection to me and I didn’t have any connection to them. It was a very trying time for me because they were not my children, they were related to Ron.” Nellie says she prayed to love her new daughters as much as she loved her own boys. “I don’t know the exact date it happened,” she says, “but my heart just made room.”
Once Simone trusted that her feet were planted, she started to explore the space above her head. “I would just try to flip on the couch,” she says. She and Adria would jump from bed to bed. “My dad would always tell us, ‘I can hear you jumping up there.’” Later that summer, the girls attended a daycare field trip to the gymnastics center. Simone was “immediately hooked” on the sport and Nellie was thrilled that she finally found a solution that would keep this child from flipping and jumping over and around the furniture!
When asked about her adoption, Simone replied:
“I wonder what my life would be like if none of this happened, I want to know why my mother did what she did. But those aren’t questions for me because that was her lifestyle when I wasn’t even born. I have everything I need so there are no blanks left unfilled. I never felt I had questions or needed answers or had a part of me that was missing.”
When a child has unconditional love and support, they are free to dream BIG! As adoptive parents, Ron and Nellie provided the structure that these girls needed and set the foundation that helped produce what could be the greatest gymnast of her generation. Have you ever considered adopting a child? You may not be able to change the world – but you can change a child’s world. To learn more about what it takes to become a foster or adoptive parent, click here: http://kidinc.org/what-we-do/children-family-support/ or call us at (954) 390-7654 ext 1287