What would you do if your child had the chance to not only win gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but to become a world-record holder as the most highly awarded female gymnast in the history of World Championships?
What would you do if you had to watch it all unfold from home, sitting on your porch with her two younger siblings because addiction destroyed your relationship with her at the tender age of six, when you had to give her up for adoption to your own father and his wife?
What would you do if, like the biological mother of Simone Biles, you wanted nothing more than for her to know you were proud and cheering her on from the sidelines, but you were afraid to overstep your boundaries- so much so that you hadn’t seen your daughter since 2014 and all your phone conversations are terse, short, and leave you longing for redemption?
What would you do?
Shanon Biles, the 44 year old biological mother of 19 year old Gold medalist Simone Biles, admits she has made mistakes in her life. She owns that allowing her father and step-mother to adopt Simone Biles and her younger sister, Adria, while her brother adopted her other two children was the best thing for their futures.
“It was hard to give up my kids but I had to do what I had to do, I wasn’t able to care for them.”
So when NBC announcer Al Trautwig brought this painful part of Biles’ life to the international stage with an insensitive comment, Sharon felt the need to step forward, share her story, and offer as much encouragement, love, and support to her daughter as she can from the sidelines.
During her interview with TMZ Sports she went on to explain that- though she understands now- at the time of Simone’s adoption she was wounded by her father’s request that she remove herself from her life for a while. In fact, she didn’t see Simone or Adria for six years.
Prior to their adoptions, the Biles children spent early childhood in and out of foster care while both their parents indulged in substance abuse and other illicit activities. While Sharon now recognizes that her father wanted to establish stability and structure, she recounts feeling betrayed and wounded by his strict demands:
“When we signed the [adoption] papers, it was like my dad flipped a switch on me- no communication, don’t call, don’t visit. That’s how it was at the beginning. It took me six years before I saw my children again. I was respecting my Dad to let the kids’ transition, he felt that was the best thing for them… I was still using and he didn’t want me coming in and out of their lives when I wasn’t right.”
Thankfully Sharon has been sober since 2007 and now works in a long-term care facility for the elderly. She hopes to mend her relationship with her daughter and other children as time goes by, but she is willing to move at Simone’s pace.
Of her last conversation with Simone Biles, Sharon said it was prior to her entering training camp for the Olympics about six weeks ago and brief.
With her biological mother bursting with pride at home and her adoptive parents at her side supporting and encouraging her dreams, Simone is headed to a bright and shiny, golden future.
What advice do you have for parents attempting to mend relationships with their children during recovery? Leave your comments below!
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