I have never kept up with the Olympics. It’s just never been my thing; I haven’t ever cared to. I considered for a few hours doing an Olympic party this year…then I remembered how insane it is to host a party for something you don’t even enjoy! (Not that that has ever stopped me before.)
Unlike previous years though, I am privy to some of the information on one of the gymnasts-Simone Biles. Obviously, every single person I know and every page I follow has made it known to me that this young, extraordinary woman was adopted from foster care and is now an Olympian.
I love the story, I truly do. I always enjoy an over comer and anything that brings foster care into the limelight makes me so so so happy.
On the other hand, something made me uneasy about how other’s were talking about this. I really couldn’t place what it was making my stomach feel strange and my eyes to become real life emoji-you know the one. The side eyeing one.
I kept seeing these posts being shared and reading uplifting commentary, trying to place my discomfort in a eat little box. I saw people saying this would encourage them to adopt or foster, I saw them talking about how this is what could happen when you adopt! That’s a good thing…right?
Except, maybe this isn’t what would happen if you adopted.
That was it. There it was. That’s what was making me so uncomfortable with the media and all the sensationalism surrounding Miss Biles.
Please, don’t get me wrong. I am not angry or making fun of friends sharing this young lady’s accomplishments. I am so impressed by Simone Biles. She is a strong young woman, who overcame hardships and a past that can dictate entire lives. She is now a star, on newspapers and gracing the media world. She is an inspiration to all young girls. I don’t know her personally, obviously, but simply making it to the Olympics is not a small feat. A foster child, adopted, who became an Olympian. Doesn’t that make you want to adopt?!
Except…that’s not the ending for all our kids. For every Simone, there are a hundred kids out there in foster care who need your love and support, even though they will never become a gymnast, competing on this level.
There’s a little girl, who three years later is still afraid of leaving people because too many have gone and never returned.
There are teen-aged boys who have to be untaught what is acceptable and what is not, because they’ve been raised since infancy to believe women are inferior and deserve to be disciplined.
There are club footed, autistic, traumatized babies who may never speak or walk or potty train, but still need someone who will rock them to sleep at night.
There are toddlers who have been hurt in more ways than we can even begin to comprehend, who are incapable of giving and receiving love because they don’t know what love is.
And there are other 19 year olds out there who are still messy inside and don’t have it all figured out.
I don’t want to discourage you from foster care or adoption. That is not my intent and it never has been-I’m notorious to friends for showing their wives adoption pages of legally freed kids. I think everyone should experience foster care or adoption on at least some level.
But I don’t want you to adopt because you’re hopeful of what they can be. Please, adopt and foster for the kids that are here now, not the Olympians they may become some day.
These babies deserve your love. They are so worthy of it. Simone Biles was not adopted because they believed she would someday become a legend. She was adopted because they loved her and they wanted her in their family.
I encourage everyone who has seen her story and is inspired by it to go and look into your local foster care and adoption centers. Learn how you can help. If possible, adopt or foster. If not, look into other ways you can help.
Do it for the children that are waiting now. You won’t regret it, even if they never become a gymnast or a doctor or a rock star. Let this encourage you to love a child, to celebrate a young woman’s amazing gift and perseverance. But know, my kids will never be in the Olympics-but I am happy I chose foster care adoption every. single. day.