When a father saw that his baby girl was born without legs, he told his wife they couldn't keep the child. The heartbroken woman was given no choice in the matter, and as she parted from her little one, she wondered if they would ever meet again.
Every child deserves to grow up feeling loved, cherished, and protected. Having a safe and supportive home environment and loving parents is essential for a kid's sound upbringing.
In recent times, many children who were deprived of family life have found loving foster and adoptive families. At AmoMama, we love sharing stories that document the power of love, acceptance, and togetherness. Today's story follows a similar theme.
Jennifer Bricker. | Source: youtube.com/truly
GIVING UP THEIR BABY
In 1987, a Romanian couple, Camelia and Dumitru Moceanu, welcomed a baby girl. She had big brown eyes and a playful smile, but when her father saw her closely, he immediately decided to give her up at the hospital. Why did he do that?
It turned out that the little girl was born without legs and her father feared that he would not be able to pay her medical bills. He reportedly communicated the decision to his wife, who didn't have a say in the matter and never got the chance to hold her little princess.
A LOVING ADOPTIVE FAMILY
When the little girl turned a few months old, she was adopted by Sharon and Gerald Bricker. The couple said they immediately fell in love with her because she was full of energy and had an infectious smile.
The Brickers brought their daughter home and named her Jennifer Bricker. When they adopted her from foster care, they were told that Jennifer was born without legs after a uterine band cut off the blood supply to her lower extremities in utero.
They couldn't help gushing over the fact that they didn't know about each other, despite leading parallel lives.
Sharon and Gerald showered little Jennifer with endless love and care and gave her the confidence to chase her dreams. They became her strength when she felt weak and motivated her. Jennifer also had three older brothers. She expressed:
"Ever since my parents adopted me, they didn't just say you can do whatever you want, we believe in you. It was, 'You want to go roller skating? Put the skates on your hands. We'll figure out a different way.'"
A PASSIONATE YOUNGSTER
Jennifer grew up knowing that she was adopted and that her biological parents were from Romania. She noted that her adoptive parents had always been open about her adoption, and she knew the reason she was given up was that she didn't have legs.
Jennifer was fond of playing ball games and loved gymnastics as a young girl. Her parents encouraged her to follow her passion and always told her that she was the answer to their heartfelt prayers. Growing up in Illinois, she enjoyed watching sports events on TV.
HER CHILDHOOD IDOL
In 1996, she saw a fellow Romanian during the Olympic Games, a 14-year-old girl gymnast, Dominique Moceanu, whom she began idolizing over time. The gymnast was only six years older than her at the time and looked very familiar. Jennifer recalled:
"I was drawn to her because we looked alike and that was so important to me."
Jennifer said she didn't know many Romanian people in the U.S. then, and she somehow related to Dominique. She said she saw herself in her because they were both small and had the same features. She added:
"I knew she was Romanian. I knew I was Romanian. She had that spunky little personality just like me so as a child I just related to her."
When Dominique and her team won a gold medal for the U.S. at the 1996 Olympics, Jennifer decided she wanted to be a gymnast too. She underwent rigorous training, and by age 11, Jennifer also became a gymnastics champion.
Meanwhile, Jennifer's love and appreciation for Dominique increased, and she regularly followed updates on her idol. In 1998, she discovered that 17-year-old Dominique had taken emancipation from her parents.
A SHOCKING DISCOVERY
Every time she saw the gold medalist, she wondered if they shared a connection. When Jennifer turned 16, she asked her mother if there was something she hadn't told her about her birth family. To her surprise, Sharon responded with a "Yes."
Then, Jennifer's adoptive mom revealed that her biological last name would have been Moceanu. Jennifer remembered:
"Immediately when she said that I was like, 'Wow, that means Dominique's my sister.'"
It took Jennifer four years to reach out to her long-lost sister. She wrote a letter to Dominique, explaining the situation and telling her how she was her inspiration to join gymnastics. She included copies of all the paperwork and photographs of herself. Jennifer added:
"I instinctively made the choice not to tell her I didn't have legs because I thought it might be a little bit much."
On the other hand, Dominique had turned 26 and was no longer competing professionally. She was married to a fellow athlete and pregnant with her first child. On December 10, 2007, she found Jennifer's letter in a package she had collected from the post office.
After reading the letter, Dominique was taken aback, and when she looked at the photos, the resemblance was uncanny. She recalled:
"That letter was the biggest shock of my life and I'll never forget it."
Before responding to Jennifer, she called her mom and asked her if she had placed a baby girl for adoption in 1987.
Her mother's voice broke off as she related the heartbreaking story, and Dominique finally plucked up the courage to write back to Jennifer after welcoming her own daughter on Christmas Day. Dominique mentioned her sister's response in her book "Off Balance." It read:
"Talking to you is something I've been dying for since I found out that we were sisters. When I got your letter saying that you believed me, I almost passed out. I had no idea how you were going to react, but I knew I had to write to you."
MEETING AT LAST
The long-lost sisters met in person in spring 2008, and Jennifer also discovered she had a younger sister, Christina. The three sisters couldn't help dote at how similar they looked and vowed to make up for the lost time. Jennifer stated:
"It's so much fun every time the three of us get together. And I can't believe this crazy life is my crazy life. And by crazy, I mean awesome!"
Jennifer said her birth father died before she could meet him, but in January 2010, at the age of 22, she met her biological mom, Camelia, for the first time. The two women hugged, and Jennifer recalled how Camelia felt proud of her achievements.
Over the years, the three sisters have managed to keep in touch, despite living in different states. They couldn't help gush over the fact that they didn't know about each other, despite leading parallel lives.
Jennifer constantly travels the world as an aerial acrobat and motivational speaker. Indeed, she's a true inspiration for millions of people, especially women. If you liked this story, please share it with your loved ones.
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