If you were watching the Olympic Track and Field events Friday night, then you may have seen US Shot-Putter, Reece Hoffa win the bronze medal. You probably also heard the announcers refer to Hoffa’s “A-mom” in the crowd as his good luck charm. Hoffa was adopted at five-years-old and has an open adoption relationship, leading to him referring to his adoptive mother as “A-mom” and his birth mother as “B-Mom.”
Hoffa was raised by his birth mom, Diana Watts, until he was four years old, when he accidentally started a fire in his house with a lighter. According to an article in New Jersey Today, after the fire, Watts brought Hoffa to an orphanage because she wanted a better life for him then the one she could provide.
“I started life as this kid from a mom who wanted to give her kid a good life, to being the son of now moms now and getting a medal,” Hoffa said in the article. “It’s pretty awesome.”
One year after being placed in the orphanage, Hoffa found a forever family with Kathy McManus and her four children. However, according to the article, he never forgot his birth family and would often look through phone books in the hopes of finding his birth mother.
Finally as a junior in college, Hoffa followed an Internet ad on an adoption website that he believed would lead him to his birth family…and he was correct.
According to the article, a few weeks after answering this adoption ad Reese’s birth mother called him and he knew right away it was her. The first words words out of his mouth were “I’m sorry I burned down the house.”
Hoffa and Watts eventually re-united a few weeks later where, according to the article, she told him that the “fire had nothing to do with the decision,” and that she made the decision to place him for adoption to give him a better life.
When Watts saw Hoffa win the bronze on Friday night she was filled with emotions. In the article, she said that “there are so many great things that went through my heart. Mostly joy, because I know what he has been through, how long the journey has been both in sports and in his life. There is so much pride about what he’s done, and how he conducts himself as a gentleman and a sportsman. It is so overwhelming in so many ways.”
According to the article, Hoffa is now dedicating his life to promoting adoption.
“We want to do great things,” he said in the article. “We just need a home to do that in. I’m definitely a testament to that.”
To read the full New Jersey Today article on Reese Hoffa and his “A-mom” and “B-mom”, please click here.