On Monday, the 21-year-old credited God for her success on Good Morning America after ABC anchor Amy Robach referenced her “difficult childhood.”
How Shields’ past was difficult, Robach didn’t say. But it’s a story well worth telling.
Shields grew up in Flint, Michigan with a father in jail and a mother with drug problems and male “acquaintances” who, Shields said, raped and sexually molested her. Her family relied on food stamps that, she believes, her mother sold for drugs – because food rarely appeared on the table. And when her cousin begged her for abortion money, Shields decided to adopt a baby of her own as a teenager.
Shields revealed to ESPN the story of how she adopted her cousin’s baby in 2014:
A lot of people don’t know, but I adopted a little girl. She’s about 6 months old now. Her name is Klaressa Shields like mine, just spelled with a K. My cousin had her. She already had two kids; she didn’t want to have another. I told her I wanted to have a baby after the Olympics but with my career and everything, I can’t afford to get pregnant right now. So she decided to keep the baby, and now the baby lives with me. I was there for her birth and got to cut her little cord. It was scary seeing her come out. I was like, “What is going on here?” We’re still going through the adoption process, but I have her when I’m at home. When I leave, my best friend’s mom and her birth mother have her.
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