Having been born without legs, Jennifer Bricker was abandoned in her birthplace of Romania by her biological parents the day she was born. An American family, Gerald and Sharon Bricker, would come to adopt Jennifer and raise her in a small town in Illinois. Raised alongside 3 boys, her parents wouldn’t allow the word “can’t” to enter her vocabulary. It was through their acceptance, love, and encouragement that she never saw her disability as a limitation.
At an early age, Jennifer loved tumbling on the trampoline with her father and watching her gymnastic idol, Dominque Moceanu, perform on a national stage. A gymnast herself, Jennifer would go on to win state titles and place fourth in the Junior Olympics.
Jennifer knew that she was adopted, but never expressed interest in the adoption. The adoption was a closed adoption that would not reveal the identity of her biological parents, except for a minor clerical error that identified her last name at birth as Moceanu. The gymnast Jennifer had been idolizing on television was actually her older sister.
Like her sister, Jennifer has never put any limits on her dreams. Being a natural athlete, she taught herself to swim and roller-skate on her hands. By age 7, Jennifer was playing softball and eventually took up tumbling and volleyball. She is now a highly accomplished acrobat and aerialist who has toured with Britney Spears on her ‘Circus’ World Tour.
Doing new challenges and putting yourself out there absolutely affects me and every other part of my life, when you challenge yourself, you put yourself in an uncomfortable position, always growth comes from that.
When you’re growing, you’re inspired. You inspire yourself, and then others.”
Please reflect on and answer the following questions:
- What role do you think mindset has in Jennifer’s success?
- How might Jennifer’s life be different if she chose to view her birth defect as a limitation?
- What limitations have you unnecessarily placed upon yourself?
- What stories play in your head that keep you from achieving your dreams?
- What are you doing to challenge yourself to be your absolute best?