She was born addicted to heroin and completely blind in one eye.
She was put up for adoption as an infant.
As a teenager, she moved in with her birth parents, where she lived with a drug-addicted mother and an alcoholic father.
Throughout her tumultuous childhood, Adrianne McCauley, a West Palm Beach native, relied on one talent that helped ease her pain: writing.
That talent eventually helped her launch a successful career as a journalist, author and speaker.
Now, the 32-year-old mother of three is sharing her experiences in a new book, My Life is No Balloon Ride: Seven Ways to Achieve Success in the Midst of Great Adversity.
McCauley will promote the book in South Florida later this month. During her numerous speaking engagements in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, she will highlight the seven chapters in her book about love, soul-searching, guidance, death, strength, faith and despair.
The book is a collection of journal entries she wrote while struggling to survive abuse and neglect. She said she hopes her work will encourage young people dealing with the same issues today to fulfill their dreams despite tough circumstances.
“I know that some kids are feeling an overall feeling of hopelessness. They don't have any direction,’’ said McCauley, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C. “I want to share my experiences and the message that they can achieve success despite their circumstances.’’
Throughout December, McCauley will travel to schools, youth groups and foster care centers, where she will tell her story and encourage kids to pursue their goals.
She began turning her dreams into reality while still in high school: One of her teachers noticed her writing talent while reading one of her poems.
“My teacher said to me, ‘'You could really have a career in journalism,’” she recalled. “At that point, I had no idea that I could even write. Nobody told me.’’
McCauley later became a reporter and editor at the Florida Photo News, an African-American newspaper based in West Palm Beach that later closed. Her career is now focused on writing books and conducting teen workshops around the country on topics such as education, work training, family life and how to make good choices.
While growing up, McCauley used her journals to pour out her feelings about living with a verbally and physically abusive father. Some of those entries now appear in her book.
An excerpt reads: “I've been sitting in my room the whole day, fearful… I don't want to run into my father. The epitome of a monster in my dysfunctional little world.’’
On Dec. 23, McCauley will speak to kids from Children’s Home Society who participate in Hands in Action, an afterschool program that teaches teens about life-development skills.
Volunteer Coordinator Julie Rentz said the kids will relate well to McCauley’s story because many of them are currently experiencing the same struggles she did.
“She'll be speaking about her background and the struggles she had to overcome during her life. She was in a system just like many of these kids are,’’ Rentz said.
“It’s exciting to have someone come and speak that has experiences so similar to many of these children,’’ Rentz continued. “It’s inspiring for them and it encourages them to take the right path in life.’’
For more information about McCauley, visit www.adriannemccauley.com.
Photo: Adrianne McCauley
IF YOU GO:
What: Adrianne McCauley South Florida book tour
When: Dec. 10, 11, 12 and 23
Where: (see addresses below)
Contact: For more information, visit www.adriannemccauley.com
Dec. 10 • 11 a.m.
Ben Gamla Charter School
2620 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Dec. 11 • 9:30 a.m.
Okeechobee Alternative High School
5050 NE 168th St., Okeechobee
Dec. 12 • 9 a.m.
Leadership Academy West
2030 S. Congress Ave., West Palm Beach
Dec. 23 • 1:30 p.m.
Children's Home Society
800 N.W. 15th Street, Miami