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Welcome to the Overcoming Odds podcast, where you get a glimpse into the stories of individuals who have overcome adversity, suffering, and struggle in achieving their personal success. This podcast was built by you, and for you, to help you overcome adversity, suffering, and struggle in achieving your fullest potential.

 

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He had three different names before he was three months old.

He said, “The first name I ever had was Jeremy Jones… In the foster homes … I was Toby … Now my given name, Aaron Parchem…”

For Aaron Parchem, silver medalist at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, adapting to …


Transitions.

She was in 63 different foster homes between four and 21 years of age.

63 different placements, a number that is simply unimaginable to most, if not all, of us.


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He was afraid to let the people know the real him.

He said, “I was ashamed, embarrassed and … afraid that people in my professional career were going to see this side of me…”


“Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”

He said, “I didn’t want to be a Catholic nun, but I wanted to be the Executive Director… I wanted to be the person who was able to make things happen for children…”


Who are you?
 
A question that some, if not most of us, seek an answer to.
 
A question that led Joel de Carteret on a lifelong journey of self-discovery.
 
He said, “I was 35 years old and I didn’t know who I was…"


What defines a great leader?
 
A question that some, if not most of us, seek an answer to.
 
A question that more often than not will lead you on a life-long journey of trial and error in figuring out what makes you an effective leader.


What would you do if you became homeless today?
 
It’s a condition that is unimaginable to most, if not all of us.
 
A condition that made Tiffony become more resourceful, so she would never have to lay her head on the concrete ground again...


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Where do you come from?
 
A question that some of us are fortunate to have an answer to, others not so much.
 
A question that sparks a story deep inside our hearts; a story that gives others hope to not give up when times get tough.


Abuse.
 
An act he simply couldn’t escape during his early years.
 
He said, “I grew up in a fear-filled, violent background. My father was physically abusive to me, my mom was as well… I didn’t know what a loving family looked like...”


Unadoptable.
 
A term that became a part of her identity at the age of seven.
 
She said, “My mother asked her neighbor to babysit while she went shopping, but she did not go shopping.


“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
 
A mindset that allows us to get through life’s toughest obstacles.
 
A mindset that allowed JT McCormick to overcome racism, poverty, and abuse to achieve the American dream.


It all suddenly made sense.

He said, “A moment that clearly defined what purpose meant to me was when I first started teaching… I don’t mean to teach people skills… but to get people to believe in themselves...”


Voiceless.

She said, “I grew up in an environment where I wasn’t necessarily allowed to be myself or wasn’t able to grow into who I truly was.”

Many, if not most of us have times like these in our lives.


He was in real, physical danger.
 
He said, “There was a time when I used to think that my father was going to kill me. So, I used to stay up late at night, tucked in the corner of the room.”
 


She was afraid.
 
It was either to hide her sickness or never get called for another job in her industry.
 
For Jeanette, her job was much more than simply receiving another paycheck.


Unknown.

A word that can be used to describe much of her early beginnings, especially her experience related to adoption.

She said, “There is so much that’s lost because my birth mother is no longer on the...


It was devastating.
 
She said, “I thought if other people heard it or if they knew about my early story, then they would see me as less able to do the job that I was doing. Somehow scared, less desirable to hire.”


She was born without legs.
 
Later on, she was placed for adoption.
 
Two life-changing events that would leave most of us hopeless.
 
But, Jen Bricker was different.


It was hard.

She said, “I went through ten different foster homes between the ages of 2 & 16.”

A system filled with memories of rejection and abuse.


She felt unworthy.

Shame, combined with lack of belonging, began to take over her life.

A decision had to be made. It was either to find a way to overcome the obstacles in front of her or suffer for the rest of her life.


It was humiliating.

Every time they left the household, whether it was to the grocery store or the mall, “My placement in the family was questioned.”

She said, “People wanted to know how much I cost, where I came from, how my parents found me and where my real parents were.”


Five percent. That was her chance of survival.
 
A hard thought for most, if not for all of us, to swallow.
 
What would you do if you were told you had a five percent chance at life?


Born and abandoned.
 
She said, “When I was found by the Ahmednagar police, I was severely malnourished, miasmic, and suffering from dysentery.”
 
An event that’s difficult for most, if not all, of us to imagine.


October 15th, 2014.
 
The day she received her diagnosis.
 
It was thyroid cancer.
 
She said, “I have been working with cancer for almost 20 years and I have never had it before. So, to get diagnosed with it was shocking.”


It was painful.
 
18 years had passed before he saw her again.
 
He said, “We got in our family car. Drove to downtown Louisville, KY. Walked into a building we’ve never been to before.”


It took her years to figure it out.
 
Her life was consumed by anxiety and relationship issues.
 
As many of us know, our personal experiences often dictate the actions we take in life.
 
For Lesli Johnson, it was no different.


It was hard.

30 years of hard work. Massive credit card debt. Yet, the book was still not finished.

She said, “My mom died before she could finish her book. I am not going to die before I finish mine.”

However, things continued to get worse before they got any better.


“You never know.”

A lesson Samantha learned early on from her family and work.

Adopted from South Korea and raised in New Jersey, she never knew what might be the connecting thread between her twin sister and herself.


It was frustrating.
 
It would take 100 “No’s” before getting a single “Yes.” But, there was no other way around it.
 
Embracing rejection was the only way. Giving up on her dream was not.
 
Not for a girl from Long Island, NY.
Not for a girl who wanted to be on TV since the age of 3.


She couldn’t handle it.
 
At 12 years old, she became addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Later on, her stepbrother sexually abused her.
 
Her comfort zone quickly turned into a nightmare.
 
Hopeless. Not knowing who to ask for help.


Failure is good.

Fail fast, fail often.

She said, “I failed many times throughout my life.”

At school, she was not the best student.

At home, her life was one of abuse and fear.


Lara came to us by way of Operation Babylift, a mass evacuation of orphans from South Vietnam to the United States as well as other countries. She is now a professional musician living in Austin, TX as a Blues stage performer and recording artist. Her musical talent was inspired by influences such as her father, who gave her her very first music lesson, and dance classes...


It was hard to stay quiet.
 
Her body was constantly covered with bruises.
Her home was one of fear and abuse.
Her father was the man responsible for it all.
 
Others knew, but no one spoke up.
 
It left her no other option, but to speak up for herself.


Joe Galindo is a culinary entrepreneur based in Austin, Texas where he and his wife own and manage, RedBookChef. Their venture was inspired by his wife’s little red notebook in which she would take notes while watching cooking programs as a young girl. In this episode, Joe tells us the story of how he went from foster care and a lucky adoption, to where he is today.


Karen Goh didn’t know she was adopted until she was ten years old. After being asked countless of times why she looked so different, she asked her mother if she was “born” from her. 

“I didn’t know the word for adoption at the time,” Karen says while explaining this pivotal moment in her life.


Lisa believes that the ability to take control of your life all boils down to self-awareness. Through self-awareness you discover what makes you happy, drained, fired up, and motivated which in turn all help you decide how to proceed in life in the most strategic, productive way for your individual self.


"The only way you can change the future has nothing to do with money, it comes down to relationships and who you spend time with."

Join us as the most connected man in America, top business strategist and former director at Dell Computer Corporation: Peter Strople, talks about loss, love, relationships, and how he came to define those things through struggle and success.


Joshua Banks doesn’t believe there is any such thing as a selfless act. But, he does believe we can all be our most authentic selves while benefiting the people around us. According to him, we all have the potential to be self-centered, yet still be a positive influence on our communities.

Joshua earned many commendations during his years in law enforcement, where he learned much about the nature of people at their worst, as well as at their best.


"When I had zero, when I had nothing, it was absolutely freeing."

Kevin Kreider spent much of his upbringing being made painfully aware of how different he was as a Korean adoptee.

Join us as Kevin discusses the pain imposed on him by peers and the media for looking different, and the insecurity that followed motivated Kevin to begin working out. He eventually managed to start both modeling and acting careers, but was again set back. This time it was by Alopecia Areata, causing him to go bald.


Kira Omans is an Asian-American actor, model, dancer, and adoptee advocate. She was adopted by a Caucasian family living in Washington DC and grew up with an adopted brother from Korea, as well as a sister.

Join us as she discusses her struggles to adjust to how different she felt at school as her family had always celebrated their diversity. But, at school, these differences weren’t celebrated.