The Olympics are a time for the world to see the beauty of possibility. Seemingly impossible feats are achieved by many whose struggle to participate in this coveted competition inspires people across the globe.
There are so many Olympic moments this week compelling us to think about the incredible resilience of our humanity…moments that move us to contemplate the power of Purpose. NBC’s Al Trautwig couldn’t even see the story behind the story when he ignorantly proclaimed that Olympic gold-medalist Simone Biles’ adoptive parents (which were, at one point, her grandparents until they legally adopted Simone and her sister) were “NOT her parents”. To be so blind about the beauty of adoption isn’t surprising for an institution that pushes the violence of abortion as a form of equality. After a fierce backlash on social media, Trautwig apologized about not being “clear in his wording”. International Journal Review’s article featuring All-Around Gold Medalist Simone’s story, “Little Girl Abandoned by Father and Drug-Addicted Mother Adopted by Christian Texas Family, Becomes Best Athlete in the World”, captures the essence of adoption—it unleashes purpose. (Note: The URL of the IJR article reflects the original word choice “unwanted child”, which apparently was rightfully changed to the current title. There is no such thing as an “unwanted child”.)
For all the Mr. Trautwigs out there, I’ve adopted two children. My wife and I have four kiddos, and we are the parents of each of these amazing children.
I particularly loved the story of Olympic cyclist Kristin Armstrong, three-time gold medalist, who celebrated motherhood. NBC’s vignette of Armstrong (unrelated to disgraced Lance Armstrong) was powerful. She left cycling to become a mother and gave birth to her son, Lucas. She returned to the sport that she loved, strengthened by being a mother. “As a mom, I feel like I’m a better cyclist. When I go home, whether I win or lose, there’s always unconditional love.” Those words struck me so powerfully. As a husband and father, everything I do means more because of my family. Sadly, NBC never bothered to mention Armstrong’s husband one time in the video featurette, even though he actually builds her bikes. He’s instrumentally involved in her life and her success.
One of the most poignant Olympic moments wasn’t even during any of the televised events. It was an NBC commercial, during these Rio Olympics, from NewYork Presbyterian. “Celeste Fine’s Story” is described on NYP’s website as “Amazing is not having to choose between your kids”, an ad that is part of their Amazing Things Are Happening Here campaign. The TV ad reveals Celeste’s and her husband’s ordeal with a medical emergency during pregnancy in which she was pressured by doctors to abort one of her twins, which is sometimes callously referred to as “selective reduction”. They refused to give up and medical technology was used to heal and not to harm at New York Presbyterian. Endoscopic laser surgery, in utero, was performed and saved her twin boys, Elias and Mattin.
Ironically, New York Presbyterian thinks an equal “choice” is aborting and commits abortions up to 24 weeks in some of their facilities. Doesn’t everyone—in and out of the womb—deserve to have someone (especially medical professionals) fighting for their lives? We are all stronger than our circumstances. We see this every day—not just during the Olympics. But it’s great to see, and feel, the reminder that nothing is impossible.
When we celebrate amazing Olympians, let’s not forget to thank the moms who didn’t abort them. Let’s not forget the mothers and fathers who pour their lives into their children helping them achieve great and simple things every single day. And let’s never forget that we are all—regardless of whether we were planned, unplanned, able or disabled—created with undeniable and irreplaceable purpose.