Theresa Moleski's life didn't turn out the way everyone thought it would.
Doctors told her birth parents that she would be completely dependant on others for daily care and wouldn't live to see her 16th birthday. As a baby, Moleski had almost no muscle tone - she more closely resembled a lifeless doll.
"When I was born, the doctors were quite serious about me because I didn't really have any growth motor skills," said the Delta resident.
"I didn't move around and they didn't think that I'd ever walk."
She was given up for adoption and spent two years going through tests at the hospital. Doctors couldn't pinpoint her diagnosis, though the closest illnesses were cerebral palsy and curvature of the spine. From the day she was born, Moleski was expected to remain in foster care until the day she died.
But that's not what happened: At the age of two, she was adopted, even after doctors told her prospective mother that she would be a burden.
"She changed my destiny because the doctors had anticipated that I'd probably be institutionalized," said Moleski. "My mom, she's pretty feisty. She basically told the doctors to sit back and just watch."
Through constant play, Moleski's siblings - who were also adopted - helped her exercise and build up muscle, between the numerous corrective surgeries Moleski had as a child. Slowly but surely, she was able to move on her own and gained the strength she should have had all along.
"By the age of six, I remember taking my first steps and how difficult it was," she said. "I had crutches and leg braces and back braces - I was like a little robot."
Defying doctors' predictions, Moleski was able to walk just in time for first grade, refusing to hold the crutches.
"I was a real pain in the neck for the teachers - I had no intentions of sitting still," she said.
But that wasn't the end of Moleski's time in the hospital. Throughout her 46 years, she had more than 30 surgeries, and she has the scars and screws to prove it.
She's been operated on from head to toe, including an operation in which both of her hips were professionally broken to fix her hip sockets.
"I said to my husband before he married me, 'Are you sure you want to go through this marriage?'" she said, warning him of her ongoing medical problems.
"They said if I ever had kids that I had a really good chance of passing whatever it is that I have onto my children. I know what mom had to do to get me where I am, and I just didn't think I had that."
Despite that prognosis, Moleski gave birth to her healthy daughter Katie some 16 years ago.
"She's totally normal, it was the greatest thing ever," said Moleski. "I call her the best accomplishment."
Moleski has a happy family, both inside and outside of her Delta home - she even found her long-lost older biological sister Leah, who was also given up for adoption.
But even after 46 years, Moleski still faces obstacles related to her body. In 2011, she required foot surgery that forced her to give up her 27-year career in daycare.
"I can't go back to my job as a daycare worker because it's so hard on my foot," she said.
While she can't work with children in that field anymore, Moleski has found a way to reach out to kids by sharing her story with students.
"One of the things that I talk about with the kids is bullies and the effects that they have on your whole personality, your drive, your outlook on life, and how you can step up against bullies," she said. "These kids have to know that you have to stand up."
And, going back to her love of writing from high school, Moleski is also working on a memoir, along with a children's book titled Charlie-Ray's New Colours.
"It's not out yet because I'm self-publishing," said Moleski. "I've had to do everything my way my whole life."
Keep an eye out for her books in the near future. To book her to speak at a local school, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2013