In honor of the 2016 Olympics (which I have feverishly watched for the past two weeks) I wanted to share with the adopted community this heart-warming story. In case you have been buried under a rock and are not familiar with gymnastic superstar, Simone Biles, she took home 5 medals in the Rio Olympic games; 4 of which are gold (3 of which are individual events) and 1 bronze. Many are predicting that she’ll be the greatest gymnast of our time.
But even bigger than the story of her incredible athleticism is the story of her family. (Video below)
Simone and her younger biological sister were adopted by their maternal grandparents because their mother had struggled with drug use and had been arrested multiple times. Simone and her sister were born in Columbus, Ohio but after youth services placed the children in foster care, her grandparents asked to care for them. Being cared for by her grandparents meant a move to Dallas, Texas. This move would change her life for so many reasons.
The move to Dallas meant that Simone and her sister would grow up in a loving and stable home. It also led to her chance encounter of being scouted for the gymnastics team while on a field trip. It also meant an opportunity to be in the same city as two world-renowned Olympic gymnastics coaches who would later mentor young Simone.
And even though Simone and her sister were raised by their biological grandparents, they were legally adopted in 2003 when Simone was just 6 years old. So her grandparents, who loved them as their own children, officially became mom and dad.
Can you dare to imagine what her life would be like if Simone hadn’t gone to Dallas? If Simone’s gifted athleticism hadn’t been discovered on that rained out field trip? And what if she didn’t have access to the country’s best coaches?
It’s easy to note how dramatically different her life would have been if she wasn’t adopted. Even if her mother was healthy and in a position to raise her in Columbus, we could venture to say that she still may not have the gymnastic career and the lifetime of accomplishments and memories that she has now.
I can’t help but see God all over her life when I hear her story about her adoption. And I hope that her story can encourage all adopted kids out there. It’s not about where or how you get started in life, it’s how you finish.
Do not let your start determine your destiny and trust that even in the most confusing or difficult of circumstances, God has a plan for your life!
The ESPN video interview featuring Simone and her parents is below. Parents make sure you check out: 4:21-5:02! It will melt your heart!
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Are you part of an adoption within your biological family? Do you have a story similar to Simone’s where your biological start is significantly different from where you are now? Your story can touch and inspire others. I’d love to hear it!
Please share this story with others who are or have children who may be struggling with the start of their life’s journey or their adoption.
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Liz is a forever optimistic, creative, & intelligent woman. She credits her Christian faith for so much joy in her life. She loves her family and is excited about creating a family of her own with her husband (biological and otherwise). Liz is also a NY Giants fan and award winning ice-cream eating champion!