DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - A typical day for a central Illinois woman could start with waking up, putting make-up on, fixing breakfast and preparing for the rest of the day.
For Marie Palmeri, her morning starts the same way, but can take at least two hours to complete because she doesn't have arms.
"I don't remember how I got to learn the things that I have been able to do."
Marie was abandoned after being born in a Vietnam Hospital and soon after was put into an orphanage.
"Growing up I didn't really know anyone who was in the same situation as I was."
Adopted by Tom and Diane Palmeri, Marie along with six other children were given a new chance at life. They lived over seas for some time, then after high school Marie moved to California to continue her learning.
"In school people were so amazed. I just grabbed another chair put it in front of me and started writing."
During her time in the United States, Marie expanded her education. She eventually made her way to Illinois, first Chicago, then to Decatur with her cousins.
Marie recalled growing up with a disability and said life wasn't easy especially when it came to the bullying and teasing.
"It hurt when it happened when they would call me names, there was a lot of that going on and throwing little rocks at me, but I overcame it because I surrounded myself with people who were supportive."
Marie said it was friends and family who helped her navigate through life, especially with her father who was very supportive and encouraging.
"It actually made me a better person because I know how it feels to be called names, to be belittled."
Marie wants to share her story about her journey through life with a disability, because she wants kids and others to see that someone like her can live a normal and happy life.
"It's made me a better person because I know to be careful now to not say anything that will hurt people because I know how it feels to be hurt."
Living a normal life, Marie is able to cook, clean, write and even shuffle cards with her feet. She explained she's has gadgets to help her with different day-to-day tasks, like using a hair clip with her house key on it to lock the door.
By sharing her story, Marie hoped to encourage love and compassion. She wanted people to understand that having a disability doesn't make someone unhappy or angry.
"Life is a gift, you know share that gift with others, embrace it," she said. "I'd rather people come to me and ask me questions because I want them to know that even though I look like this, I am able to accomplish things."
Marie said one of the tasks she has the biggest challenges with is putting her hair into a pony tail.