Simone Biles was adopted at age 6.
While she is now the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles’s life was not always so suffused in gold medals. The Olympian had a very unsteady home life as a young child, something she opened up in her book Courage to Soar.
At age 3, Biles was placed in foster care with her younger sister, Adria, and her older brothers, Tevin and Ashley, as their biological mother was in and out of jail. In her book, she recounted the experience, writing, “Most people might think that at age three I was too young to know what it meant to be placed into foster care, but the truth is I understood everything.”
Simone Biles continued, “When the social worker piled the four of us into her car, I knew exactly what was going on. We were going to live with a new family, and we didn’t know if we’d like it there. I think we were all a little scared because none of us said a word during the car ride. Yet as clearly as I remember the heavy silence in the backseat of that car, with Ashley holding four-month-old Adria on her lap, the rest of my foster care memories are fuzzy images.”
Simone and Adria’s parents, Nellie and Ron Biles adopted the girls in 2003. Ron is actually Biles’s maternal grandfather and now her legal father.
Adoption is always complicated.
While on Simone Vs. Herself, Nellie Biles opened up about the complexities of being a new adoptive mother while having two biological sons. She explained, “I knew I had my own barriers because these were not my biological children. You do everything that’s nurturing, that’s mothering, but emotionally, you still have to be there 100%.”
In an incredibly honest moment, Nellie opened up about how connecting with Simone and Adria took time and effort, but when it happened, all the work was worth it. She continued, “I remember praying for that bonding. Because telling them that you love them and you care for them; that’s all words. But then you wake up one day, and you realize that you would do anything for these children. And that you would die for these children. And when that feeling comes, that’s when you know you are truly a mother.”
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