Book Review: Courage to Soar by Simone Biles
At BPAR, as post adoption specialists we like to blog and share about literature and books we find helpful in educating about the adoptee experience. I recently read Courage to Soar by Simone Biles and wanted to highlight this read for others this summer. Simone is an adoptee. She describes being very young when she was removed from her home due to her mother’s drug and alcohol use. She and her siblings were removed to a foster home. She then talks of efforts to reunite with her mother, which weren’t possible due to her mother’s drug use. For children who are old enough, Simone does a great job of writing simply and honestly about her mother’s struggles to take care of herself. At BPAR, we often encourage families to use language including “extended families” and “birth families.” (Read our book Adoption is a Lifelong Journey for more about this!)
Simone’s book is a great real-life example of a kinship adoption and the real struggles adoptees experience, even those with amazing, natural talent and strength such as Simone!
4 Reasons You Should Read Simone Biles’ Book
1. Simone presents a realistic portrayal of an adoptive mother.
Simone shares her step-grandmother’s struggle in deciding to adopt. Her story depicts the struggle adoptive parents can face with insecurities and unknowns when adopting and taking on such an important, lifelong commitment. This is an honest portrayal of a thoughtful and responsible potential adoptive mother, needing support and guidance! In this case, Simone’s mom receives support from another adoptive parent and in her faith in God.
2. She “gets it!” Different adopted siblings have different experiences and stories!
Courage to Soar presents a very important perspective on the different impact of adoption on each child in an adoptive family. The book highlights how siblings in complex blended families often have completely different and unique experiences. Simone shared honestly how her older two siblings were more impacted emotionally after being separated from their birth mother, Shannon. “In foster care, Ashley and Tevin missed Shannon a lot, but I didn’t really mind our new situation.” This example captures the different impact on each of the children. At BPAR, we often work with sibling sets to address each child’s individual experiences and feelings.
3. She discusses the importance of language choice in adoption.
In Simone’s chapter entitled “True Home,” she encapsulates the importance of language and how word choice can make all the difference for adoptees and adoptive families. Simone demonstrates this when she shares her story about calling her grandparents (her maternal grandfather and step-grandmother) “Mom and Dad” for the first time. She quotes her “Grandma” as saying, “‘You know girls, we adopted you today. So I’m your mother now, and he’— she pointed at my Grandpa, who was wiping the table mats— ‘he’s your father.…It’s up to you…call us whatever you want to…'” This is a nice example of showing a child the importance of adoption day, but letting children choose language as they feel comfortable.
4. She shares a story of personal triumph and humility.
You will find this book is very down to earth and approachable, and while quite simply written, it is hard to put down! Simone humbly describes her climb to become the best gymnast in the world, as well as describing her “bratty” moments and battles with ADHD and friends.
Written by KC Craig
Boston Post Adoption Resources