|Simone at work|
Well, you'd think that he had thrown out a bomb. It was bold, I'll admit and I wonder what prompted him to go that far--that is, CAP the NOT. Maybe he was being nudged to diminish or hide her back story, and he said, Wait a minute, that's not the true story. Maybe he is the biological father of a child who was adopted. Maybe he wanted to raise his own child and was denied that. Or maybe, he had already been criticized for acknowledging that she was adopted by her grandfather and step-grandmother and he was irritated by the sensitive souls who had taken offense and were already complaining about hearing the truth, a prospect that I as a journalist find plausible. Who knows?
What is known is that adoptive parents went ballistic. A blogger and adoptive mother wrote of being outraged that he kept referring to her parents as her grandparents. Last night a war broke out on Facebook on the Slate page where a writer called him out for..."Despite what Trautwig seems to think, the Biles’ formal adoption of Simone and her sister means Ron and Nellie Biles are Simone’s parents and that Simone is their daughter." The headline in Slate pretty much said it all: "Why Does NBC’s Al Trautwig Refuse to Call Simone Biles’ Adoptive Parents Her Parents?
The pro-adoption community is super sensitive about language and has promoted noxious, obfuscating, sugar-sweetened language on the world, and particularly we natural mothers for years. They don't want the words to sound as brutal and devastating as adoption can be for a great many mothers, and the adoptees too.
Simone is an amazing athlete and journalism is a profession that tells the story. And her story is that she was adopted by her natural grandfather and step-grandmother, Ron and Nellie Biles, and they raised her. I'd heard one of the original comments by Trautwig, and I thought, well, he's at least telling the full story here in an abbreviated fashion. I'd already known Simone's adoption story because I had read profiles of her.
But what this explosion of indignation and today its coverage in national media everywhere reveals is how fearless and entitled the pro-adoption community feels to trumpet their version of adoption--that anything before the adoption (like birth) is to be eliminated. They wish to insist that the adoptive parents position front and center as the only people on earth responsible for this amazing fireball of energy and talent are the adoptive parents. Even to indicate that her background is more complicated than that, and their attitude is: Shoot the messenger!
The blowback from the adoptive parents community led NBC to order Trautwig to delete his original tweet (he did) and say instead: "To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone's parents," Trautwig said Monday.
Yet when we natural mothers raise a ruckus about offensive ads (Cheerios, Kaye Jewelers) we get to note dislikes on Facebook and You Tube, but the general media yawns. We do not have the warm wind of the pro-adoption sentiment in this country behind our backs. We are the people who Shall Not Be Mentioned. We are only the mothers. Or, as we are reminded: the birth mothers. The adoptive mother is The Mother. Even when talking to someone I knew quite well--an adoptive mother--I've had my language corrected. Even though I am not only the mother who bore my daughter, who lived her all summer for several years, who later spent a great deal of time at my house--known to this woman--that did not allow me leeway to refer to her adoptive parents as anything but "her parents!" I remember this woman looking at me and saying: They are her parents. Talk about being diminished! (I wouldn't let that pass so easily today.) I also realized how fragile and insecure she felt about not being a mother whose child carried her genes.
The truth is Simone was born to a mother with addictions. Simone and her younger sister were formally adopted by Ron and his wife Nellie, her step-grandmother, in 2003. Two other siblings were adopted by Ron's sister--or their great aunt. At Nellie's urging, Simone has met her natural mother a couple of times, but at 19 Simone still lives with Ron and Nellie--her adoptive parents, her parents, her grandparents, Mom and Dad, which is what Simone calls them.
They sound like terrific people. A few years ago they even built a special gym for Simone and her coach. I don't deny they are her parents. But Simone has more than one set of parents. I'm relieved that she is with her kin, and has some contact with her mother. Simone is fortunate is that she has always known the truth about her background. It would be refreshing to see people accept that reality. But in today's world, that's not acceptable.--lorraine
Here's a link with a video clip of her natural mother (LINK FIXED)
Simone Biles' biological mother blasts U.S. gymnast's grandfather
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'Preferred' adoption language is bunk