Oksana Masters spent her life constantly feeling like the world was putting her down. But every time the world pushed down on her, she pushed right back. Today she is a Paralympic athlete and will be competing in two sports in PyeongChang.
Oksana was born in the Ukraine in 1989. She was born with a long list of birth defects, and was immediately put up for adoption. She believes her birth defects may have something to do with the nuclear accident of Chernobyl in 1986, or just being surrounded by nuclear power plants her whole life.
She was born with deformed legs, webbed toes, webbed fingers, no thumbs, one kidney, and no tooth enamel.
She was in and out of three orphanages throughout her childhood. She was constantly let down by false hope of adoption, until she was seven. She first met her future mother, Gay Masters from the US, when she was five years old, but she was unable to adopt her because of the strict out of country adoption rule.
In 1997, the paperwork went through, and Oksana was finally allowed to be adopted by Gay, and they returned to the US.
"I felt just like Annie when she walked into Daddy Warbucks’ house. Everything was so exciting! I had never seen so many toys, and didn’t even know what to do with them," Oksana told Cosmopolitan Magazine.
At first, Oksana didn't speak English, so communicating was very hard for her and she had to communicate using hand signals. She eventually learned English.