A woman who was born without legs is busting down obstacles and breaking stereotypes.
Jennifer Bricker, a professional aerialist and acrobat, is a members of the New York Times bestsellers list. That should be no surprise. Bricker, who was born without legs due to a birth defect that cut blood off to her lower extremities while in the womb, has been breaking the norm all her life.
The title of her new book is also the motto of her life: "Everything is Possible."
“My story is very vast, but it started with a miracle,” Bricker said during a recent interview in San Antonio. “Miracle after miracle after miracle.”
The 29-year-old is the product of the adoption system, having been abandoned by her Romanian biological parents when she was an infant. It’s because of her adoptive parents that Bricker says made her into the person she is today.
“They raised my three brothers, they grew up in southern Illinois, small town, simple life. They had three boys, 10, 12, 14 years old. My mom always wanted a baby girl. She couldn’t have kids anymore after her third, and she never gave up,” Bricker said. “She prayed for 10 years and never gave up on wanting a baby girl and getting one, and one day she heard that there was a girl born without legs, in need of a home, put up for adoption and that was it. She was like, ‘I want her.’”
The acrobat-turned-author said she actually doesn’t prefer that people say she’s an inspiration. In her words, that’s because she doesn’t consider herself to be any different. Being born without legs may be something others don’t see in another person often. But for Bricker, it’s simply a normal part of life.
“Everybody kept telling me, ‘You’re such an inspiration,’ and I was so irritated by that,” she said. “Why are you telling me I’m an inspiration? My friends are doing the same thing, you know, and I just didn’t get it. Because I wasn’t treated differently at home, I wasn’t treated differently at school."
Bricker’s been featured in stories all her life. Although she said she will continue her career as an acrobat for another 10 to 15 years, she’s writing the next chapter with a best-selling book and more to follow. She’s also hoping to get married someday. She wants to travel the world, and she wants children.
“I have so many things I want to do,” she said. “I think four more books are coming. I want to get married, I want to have kids. There’s plenty more countries that I want to go to.”
Her story might have turned out differently had it not been for a situation that gave her the opportunity to overcome all odds, and parents that treated her like everyone else. It wasn't until much later that Bricker knew her biological sister was Olympian Dominique Moceanu.
Don’t think for one minute that she’s bitter for being abandoned 29 years ago.
“It amazes me that people are so surprised by that because it’s just the way I was raised," she said. "I had a good childhood, and actually when I met my biological family, I found out that I would have been raised in an abusive household.
Is she angry that she escaped that situation?
“No way,” she said.