Marilee Adamski-Smith
Ae 39, Tetra-Amelia
Photographed by Anna Costalas


I was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. My disability is called Tetra-Amelia. It means four missing limbs. In spite of my disability, my childhood was pretty normal. My parents never sheltered me from the world and taught me that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

I was mainstreamed in school. After high school, I went to college at UW-Whitewater. I graduated with bachelors in graphic design with a minor in advertising. While in college I got involved in disability advocacy. The organization that introduced me to disability rights was an advocacy group called ADAPT. I wanted to advocate for people with disabilities. I truly believe that we as human beings have the same rights. Later, I founded the local ADAPT chapter called Central Wisconsin ADAPT.

After graduating I moved to Madison, WI where I met my loving husband Joseph. From the day I met Joseph I knew that he was my soul mate. I hope that someday my dream of being a mother will come true. In 2010, I was also able to fulfill another dream of mine by starting my own graphic design business, Adamski-Smith Multimedia Solutions.

I am thankful for all the experiences that I have had in my life. They have shaped me into the person I am today. My parents wanted me to be independent and successful in my life. My disability does not define me.

“Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t know what it is like to have arms or legs, so I’m not missing anything!”