OLYMPIAN SIMONE BILES REMINDS US: WE DO NEED TO GET ‘REAL’ ABOUT ADOPTION

What makes the news in adoption? Most frequently, it’s the sensational. It is the “Either/Or” theme or “Us vs. Them” mentality that makes the headlines – either extremely good OR terribly bad; either this OR that. Rarely is adoption shown as the many shades of gray that more aptly depict this complex experience.

The most recent of these polarizing narratives surrounds Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, her kinship adoption, and the need society has to publicly and shamelessly call into question the diverse family connections that comprise the adoption experience.

Although NBC announcer Al Trautwig ultimately deleted the tweet in reference to Simone’s parents, in which he insisted “they may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents,” it’s true that nothing ever really disappears in the vast land of social media. Commentary continues in the wake of his ignorant remark, as the public weighs in with their opinions surrounding the authenticity of Simone Biles’ family connections, and how this reflects on their own family experience.

It is incredibly sad that something so personal as an adoption experience is being debated in the public sphere, as though any of us have a right to comment on how Simone chooses to reference her own family connections. Indeed, nothing seems to be sacred when it comes to using adoption as fodder for dramatic headlines, inappropriate punch lines or click bait. As two adoption professionals, we choose to comment on this recent media buzz simply to use what others have made public in the hopes of educating. Within this teachable moment, we wish to share three critical elements…

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