Perseverance Beyond The Field: From Foster Children to U.S. Olympians
September 07, 2016
The United States said goodbye to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a total of 121 medals – though many would say those medals were won far from the fields, mats and pools of Brazil. To merely compete on a worldwide stage of that magnitude takes personal and financial sacrifice that few of us will ever comprehend. Stories abound of parents’ unending support of their young athletes, taking on Olympic-sized debt, trading their own careers in support of their children’s – and those are the lucky ones.
For Olympians like Carlin Isles and Simone Biles, their fight to the top began long before the competitions. First, they had to fight to find a family of their own. Biles’ was bounced between her drug-addicted mother and foster homes until she was finally adopted by her grandparents. Isles was nearly eight years old before he found his forever home, eating dog food and never celebrating birthdays or holidays in an early childhood he has called “survival of the fittest”.
Both Olympians, however, have become a walking testament to the untapped potential of children in foster care and the importance of adoption to the success of foster children. Children adopted out of foster care are less likely to be homeless and more likely to complete high school than their counterparts and children with a Guardian ad Litem are more likely to be adopted.
Guardians ad Litem act as a voice on behalf of children in dependency court. They listen, observe and make recommendations based on the best interest of the child. Not every child is going to be the “fastest man in rugby” or one of gymnastics’ “Final Five”, but every child has gold within them…and every child deserves a voice.