×
Man abandoned as a baby and bullied for years now inspires 2 million followers online by sharing his life

Man abandoned as a baby and bullied for years now inspires 2 million followers online by sharing his life

"There's always been a fire that ignites in me when somebody tells me that I can't do this or that I'm doing something wrong," he said. "I always want to be able to push those norms and show that anything is possible if you just try."

The kid in the wheelchair was how Gabe Adams-Wheatley was always looked at when he was a child.

"Nobody was asking me to hang out, because they didn't see that I was physically independent and capable of doing things without my wheelchair," he recalled.

But as the years passed, Gabe showed to himself as well as the world that it's what's on the inside that counts. Today, 22-year-old Gabe has two million users following him on TikTok while 118,000 follow him on Instagram. His online followers are constantly inspired by the makeup videos and little bits of his life that Gabe shares on social media.



 

Gabe has truly come a long way since he was abandoned as a baby with Hanhart Syndrome, which can lead to underdeveloped limbs.

"I was born in Brazil and put up for adoption at 9 months old," Gabe wrote for Popsugar. "I was adopted by a Utah family here in the US, and when they were adopting me, my mom was pregnant with her 11th child; she now has 13 of her own biological children, and I am her only adopted child."

After years of being "the kid in the wheelchair" in school, Gabe remembers mustering up the courage and auditioning for a talent show in the 7th grade. When he came back home and showed his mother the performance, she was brutally honest with him and said it wasn't good.

"She ended up helping me choreograph a whole new one," Gabe recalled.

On the day of his big performance, his mother ran to the front of the audience and watched as Gabe performed and received a standing ovation.



 

 

"...The first person I looked at was my mom, and she started crying and mouthed to me, 'You did it,'" Gabe said. "It was a huge eye-opening moment for my classmates — I was no longer just the boy in the wheelchair. It helped push me out of my bubble and make some friends."



 

Although Gabe was still bullied, he tried to remain true to himself over the years and grew more and more confident in his skin. He continued dancing and eventually grew fond of wearing makeup, which he applies effortlessly to get his stunning looks.

"It's a creative outlet and a way for me to express myself," Gabe said about makeup. "I feel like my entire life, I've always had to prove myself and go beyond what people think the boundary could or should be for a person without arms and legs, or just with a disability in general. For me, there's always been a fire that ignites in me when somebody tells me that I can't do this or that I'm doing something wrong. I always want to be able to push those norms and show that anything is possible if you just try."



 

In January, 2020, Gabe met his now-husband, Adam Wheatley, and moved in with him the following August.

"Adam popped the question after me begging him for multiple months," Gabe smiled and told Queerty.

Dating has come with many challenges for Gabe over the years. But things were different with Adam, and Gabe was happily able to say "I do" within a heartbeat.



 

When asked about the one change he would like to see in the world, Gabe said, "I think it would be to make the world a little more open-minded. There are way too many times that people underestimate someone else. Put your mind to it and you can achieve anything, even if it takes an extra few minutes, days, or weeks to learn how."



 

Cover image credit: TikTok/@gabeadams

Recommended for you