Dear Al Trautwig: I adopted, and that makes me Mommy

I really hate to cuss.

So I won’t.

Instead, I’ll just say NBC's Al Trautwig is plain stupid.

Now, I tell my daughter all the time that stupid is a bad word, too, but if I said what I really wanted to say about the Trautwig's ignorance, my editors wouldn’t be too happy and it would be out of line with our corporate values.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a to-do list that was growing, but then more than one person sent me the story about Trautwig’s comments on Simone Biles at the Rio Games.

In case you missed it, Trautwig said the adoptive mother and father of American gymnastics star Simone Biles were not her parents, a declaration that angered advocates for adoption.

I just had to take a moment to send Al a nice note.

Dear Al:

At the age of 3 months, a beautiful little girl was placed in foster care. She had been removed from her home for ABUSE and NEGLECT. I capitalized those words so you would feel them, Al.

When she was placed in foster care, both her parents were in jail. I won’t go into any further details, because your small pea brain probably couldn’t comprehend or accept it.

On the day her parents' rights were terminated by the state of Texas, her birth mother declined the offer to visit her daughter one last time, to hug her one last time, kiss her one last time, smell her one last time, rub her head one last time. The birth mother didn’t take the opportunity to tell her one last time that she was loved.

That little girl would spend the next two years of her life in the Texas foster care system. The foster home she was in was a good one, but more than 70 children moved in and out of that home while she was there.

While that little girl was being cared for in Texas, a woman in Atlanta followed God’s plan for her life and decided at the age of 40 that she would adopt. That woman spent two years in the adoption process. It was one of the most emotional times of her life, filled with ups and downs.

One Mother’s Day during the process, she ate dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and cried all day after learning that she might not get the little girl who she’d been matched with. It was that little girl in Texas.

During the adoption process, this woman attended adoption fairs where she met or saw photos of thousands of children who needed a home, children who were motherless and fatherless.

When this woman finally met the little girl from Texas, it was just like she’d given birth. One week after being with the Atlanta woman, the little girl started to call her Mommy.

It was the first time she’d said mommy — to anyone.

Seven months after they were united, the Atlanta woman received a birth certificate from the state of Texas that listed her as the mother of that little girl.

You see, Al, that Atlanta mother is me, and that little girl from Texas calls me Mommy. She knows I am the parent.

Al, perhaps you shouldn’t be fired, but I’m glad you apologized. I want you to know that your apology was not only for Simone. It was for a lot of other little girls and little boys who deserved the apology. All those motherless and fatherless children.

Your apology was not only for Simone’s parents, but also for me, and all the mothers, fathers and parents like me.

I will always make sure that my little one knows she is adopted. But, Al, that’s my job. Not yours.

I’m sure you aren’t alone, Al. There are other stupid, pea-brained people like you in the world who say and do stupid things. I’m sure there are people who actually believe what you said and would agree. They’re stupid, too.

Good luck, Al. Even with the apology, I don’t think your words will ever be forgotten.


Monica R. Richardson, adoptive parent, mother, mommy, provider