Jen Reeves immediately had one question for the doctors after she gave birth to her daughter, Jordan. She remembers asking where her daughter’s left hand was.
Jordan’s left arm stops right above her elbow. She was born with a limb difference, a condition for which the reasons are not always clear for some children.
“I mourned for the kid I thought I was getting, but I got a totally upgraded version,” Jen said to CNN.
Jordan, now 11 years old, splits her time between inventing 3D innovations, music, CrossFit and Girl Scouts while raising awareness for children born with limb differences. Jordan even recently presented her 3D inventions to “Shark Tank” judges when she made an appearance on “The Rachael Ray Show.”
“She’s a force to be reckoned with, one arm or two,” Jen said.
Before her pitch to the sharks, Jordan attended Kid Inventors’ Day at NYU where she was able to showcase her new prosthetic designs. Jordan shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
“You can do anything as long as you try,” Jordan said.
One of Jordan’s inventions, a push-up arm, helps her to exercise. Another shoots glitter, known as “Project Unicorn.” She’s been able to work toward her dream job as a 3D designer due to Jen’s success with her blog, “Born Just Right.”
The blog started in 2005 as a way for Jen to talk about raising Jordan and has since gained thousands of followers. Topics cover everything from Jordan’s prosthetic-building processes, to advice for parents, to the various camp experiences for Jordan.
Jordan has attended Camp No Limits, a camp for children with limb differences, since she was three. The camp taught her to tie her shoes and grow more confident, but now she enjoys returning to mentor the younger children at the camp. “I love seeing old faces and new ones,” Jordan said. “And seeing the community grow and grow. I remember when it was just this tiny thing and now it’s huge. It’s awesome.”
Jen said while the two try to make the most out of being different, she doesn’t sugarcoat Jordan’s condition. Jen said she allows Jordan to be sad about not having two hands, but remains proud of her daughter’s accomplishments.
The mother and daughter said they find it frustrating when people stare at Jordan, but have learned to educate curious eyes. Jordan even owns a shirt with the phrase, “Don’t stare, just ask.”
“I want them to come up and ask me. I want them to know that it’s OK,” Jordan said. “It’s not a bad thing. We all find our own way to do stuff.”
Jordan’s own way includes “Project Unicorn,” the glitter-shooting prosthesis that gained popularity after she attended KIDmob’s “Superhero Cyborgs” camp. The camp gave participants an assignment of creating their own inventions.
Jordan was able to work with a design partner to develop and create new designs. It’s not the first time Jordan has been recognized for her work, though.
Last year, Jordan won a Dream Big, Princess award at Disney World for her innovative work within the limb difference community. The trip included a chance for Jordan to meet Disney’s cast of “Finding Nemo — The Musical.”
“I wore a Nemo-looking dress,” Jordan said. “It looked like a clown fish, just like Nemo. And, here’s my fin!”
Tori Linville is a freelance writer and editor from Clarksville, Tennessee. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s faithfully watching her alma mater, the University of Alabama, dominate the football field.