Everything is Possible isn’t just the title of Jen Bricker’s best-selling book. The author, aerialist, and motivational speaker lives by those three little words each and every day.
Bricker shared her inspiring life story with more than 300 students as part of DeSales University’s Character U program.
Bricker was born without legs and with her heart on the opposite side of her chest. Fearing that they couldn’t care for a child with two birth defects, her biological parents put her up for adoption.
Bricker’s adoptive parents already had three boys and her mother wasn’t able to have any more kids. But her mother always wanted a baby girl and knew that one day she’d have one.
“Everything was against them,” Bricker told students. “My mom was 40. They had never adopted, never fostered. When I was put up for adoption, there were 299 couples on the waiting list to adopt me. I ended up with the exact family I was meant to be with.”
Bricker’s parents raised her to be independent, and she thrived in sports as a child playing softball, volleyball, basketball, and even roller skating.
But being independent didn’t come easily. Her parents had to fight the school system after it assigned her an aide.
“It’s the first example I remember of seeing, not just with words, but with actions, what it looks like to be independent,” she said. “In my mind, that was the beginning of just showing me how to be creative, of thinking outside the box.”
Growing up, Bricker loved gymnastics and went on to become a state champion in power tumbling. Olympic gold-medalist Dominique Moceanu was her idol. And in a twist of fate, when Bricker was 16 years old, she learned that Moceanu was actually her biological sister.
It took four years, but Bricker finally connected with her biological family. After two failed attempts, she sent Moceanu a letter, along with pictures and copies of her adoption paperwork.
“I sent it out on a hope and a prayer,” Bricker said. “I felt defeated and discouraged many times along those four years. I just didn’t give up.”
Two weeks later, Bricker received a card and handwritten letter from Moceanu, who told her she was about to become an aunt. Bricker finally met Moceanu and another sister face-to-face in May of 2008. “It was surreal yet normal and crazy and awesome all at the same time.”
Bricker began training as an aerialist when she was 19. Her big break came when she joined Britney Spears’ Circus Tour. Since then, she’s been traveling around the world performing and inspiring others.
Her advice to students: believe in yourselves and know that you are shaping people’s lives every day.
“You’re making an impact whether you realize it or not. You know what you love, what you're passionate about. So really it just comes down to do you believe you can change a life with the gifts that you have?”
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