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Donna Bloomer: Thanks, Simone Biles (and her ‘parents’) for reminding us of power of grandparents

By now most Americans have been captivated by the story of gymnast Simone Biles, the 4’8” gymnast who can catapult herself into the air with superhuman strength and ease.

She won four gold medals at the Rio Olympics and is the reigning three-time world champion.

Perhaps the even greater story is about her parents — actually grandparents — who adopted Simone and her sister Adria when the girls’ biological mother was unable to care for them.

Ron Biles, the father of Simone’s mother, and his wife Nellie, have nurtured the children with love and respect. While they attended all of Simone’s competitions, they continuously discuss their commitment to ensure they spend equal time with Adria and their two sons.

Every year thousands of Kentucky grandparents like the Biles assume responsibility for raising their grandchildren.

Donna Bloomer

Donna Bloomer

Their compassion and love most often creates a stable environment for the children in which to thrive. It’s not easy. In my practice I often see grandparents using their own limited financial resources to care for their grandchildren.

And of course age is a factor. Grandparents don’t have the energy that they did in their younger, childbearing years. What grandparents do have is unconditional love, stability and the wisdom of years on this planet
Some grandparents I see opt to continue their “parenting” with the hope that at least one of the biological parents will return to regain custody of the children. Some have sought legal custody; others simply take in the children to avoid placement in the foster system. Still others take the route of the Biles, seeking to legally adopt their grandchildren as their own.

This year National Grandparents Day falls on September 11. It doesn’t sound ideal to celebrate the love of grandparents with the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. But it does give us is a teachable moment, that amidst the chaos of the world, children have adults like the Biles, who are unselfishly committed to be caregivers no matter what.

So, in honor of this national recognition day, let’s salute the Biles and the thousands of Kentucky grandparents who are dedicated to making all of our children superstars.

Donna Bloemer is a Fort Mitchell attorney whose practice focuses on family law issues; adoptions; wills and trusts; probate and other general civil matters; personal injury actions; and criminal law.

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