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Simone Biles' family story highlights adoption, grandparent rights

The Rio Olympic Games have shined the world's spotlight on the best athletes each country has to offer. So far, we've seen lightning fast cyclists, amazingly quick swimmers and powerful gymnasts performing seemingly impossible routines that take their bodies high up in the air.

We've also been given a glimpse into the background of some of our country's athletes and those of other nations. One of the most often discussed is Simone Biles of the U.S. women's gymnastics team. She helped lead the team to a gold medal earlier this week, and, just last night, she took the women's individual all-around gold after a strong floor routine.

Her athleticism is undeniable, and the hype about her skill is well-deserved, but much of the attention given to her by commentators has not to do with her performance, but instead her parentage.

A non-traditional, loving family

Tragic circumstances led to Simone Biles and her younger sister being raised from a young age by her grandparents, while two siblings were raised by an aunt. Her biological mother battled drug and alcohol addiction for years, often resulting in the four children being in and out of foster care prior to family members stepping in and gaining custody of the kids.

Simone's grandparents, Ron and Nina Biles, first gained custody of now 19-year-old Simone and her sister Adria when the former was just three. The pair was legally adopted by Ron and Nina when Simone was six. This may not be a "traditional" family situation, or even a "traditional" adoption (we typically picture a young couple with a newborn when we think about adoption), but it is reality for many families.

Death, drug addiction, illness, abandonment or prolonged incarceration of a biological parent can bring about the need for family members like grandparents, siblings or aunts/uncles or trusted family friends to step in and take over parenting duties through adoption. Adoption helps grow your family by forging legal bonds concurrent with preexisting ones based on love.

Adoption is an extremely useful process, helping countless childless heterosexual and same-sex couples and individuals fulfill their dreams of having a family.

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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Phone: 916-905-4805
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