Simone Biles' adoption

What Al Trautwig Teaches Us About Simone Biles’ Adoption

When Al Trautwig tweeted his comment regarding Simone Biles’ parents saying, “They may be mom and dad but they are NOT her parents,” the adoptive community went nuts. We hear these kinds of comments all the time. For Simone Biles, this probably isn’t a first.

A few years ago, I wrote this post about a man at Wal-Mart who remarked to me, “That ain’t yo’ kid.”

The other week, a boy at the pool asked my husband, “What’s your relationship with that girl?” referring to our daughter. He was trying to figure out if Sam was her dad.

But the comment my daughter has heard the most, even just this last Tuesday at a sports banquet, often comes from the lips of children:

“Is that your real mom?”

Yes. I’m her real mom.

And if this boy’s mom had been there, I might have been tempted to say, “Hey kid, is that your real mom?”

It’s frustrating to explain over and over again that we are indeed real families. We don’t see ourselves differently just because our children came to us another way.

I am the real mom. My husband is the real dad. A judge declared us a real family. We diapered our child and dealt with her tantrums and bandaged her cuts and helped her up when she fell and soothed her to sleep.

Like all real parents, we have cleaned up vomit, snot, pee, poop and blood. We have cooked countless meals, read Dr. Seuss over and over again, and took her to the doctor. But the most vital thing we do is love.

We are the real parents because we loved this child through every moment of everyday.

So when Al Trautwig said “they’re not her real parents” he mistakenly rubbed salt in our wounds.

These are exactly the kinds of comments we have to fight back against to prove that we are normal families loving each other through the hard days. After a while, we’d like to think people in the public eye would get it.  Simone Biles’ adoption made her mom and dad her real parents. Why is that so hard to understand?

Parents are the people who care for you and love you. They are not always defined by biology.

The people who don’t understand this aren’t defined by one gender, age or ethnicity. They’re young and old. They’re suburban white person and inner city brown skinned person. Their ignorance has less to do with ethnicity or age and more to do with a lack of exposure to adoptive families.

Because once you hang out with a family who came together through adoption, you see there are no differences.

People who don’t have a personal connection to adoptive families fail to understand that biology is not the glue that holds the family together.

The thing that holds all families together is love.

An acquaintance once admitted to us, “I’m not sure I could love someone who wasn’t related to me.”

I bit my tongue, but wanted to ask him, “Do you love your wife?”

It’s hard not to prove a point when people say things like this. Love goes beyond biology.

Ask any parent with children through adoption and they’ll tell you the same. Their children’s birth stories might be different than your child’s, but there is one thing that’s always the same.

Their love.

We’re real families. And it’s time for people to stop seeing us differently.

Thanks, Al Trautwig, for letting us speak up about the definition of a real parent.

When I watch Simone Biles at the Olympics, I think of how proud her parents must be.

And by parents, I mean the people she calls mom and dad. Because they are her mom and dad.

There shouldn’t be any confusion about that.


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