3/3 “Following that incident, Americans were adopting children from the orphanage. Almost everyone got chosen but no one adopted me. In total, I got rejected twelve times. My best friend, number 26, and I had the same name. So when her adoptive mother got a phone call from the orphanage asking which Mabinty she wanted to adopt, she said that she would adopt both of us. My adoptive mother had previously adopted 3 sons, which she lost to HIV/AIDS. One of her sons who passed away, left her a note which stated; ‘’Please adopt a child from West Africa.’’ That is why she decided to adopt us. I was named Michaela DePrince and my friend, who is now my sister, became Mia DePrince. The very first thing I did when I met my mother, was to show her the magazine cover of the ballerina. We didn’t speak the same language but she immediately understood what I was trying to say. She said, “I promise you that when we get to America, you will dance.” America was completely different from Sierra Leone and I have never seen so much food in my life! I didn’t understand the concept of paying for food. So whenever we would go to the supermarket, I would just eat the grapes from the fruit section. We were living in New Jersey and life was really good. I was taking ballet classes but I was still very nervous about my vitiligo. As my mother promised, I started dancing ballet and I would practise every day. I had one goal and that was the become a prima ballerina. My vitiligo wasn’t a problem but I was discouraged to dance ballet because I am black. When I was 8 years old, one of my ballet teachers told me that they weren’t putting much effort into the black ballerinas because she said they end up getting fat anyways. I knew it would be really hard to reach my goal to become a ballerina but I was not planning on giving up on my dream. At seventeen, I started performing at the dance theatre of Harlem and at 18, I got hired at the National Ballet Company here in Amsterdam. A few years ago I got to dance in Beyonce’s music video ‘’Freedom’’. If it wasn’t for my adoptive mom and sister, I am not sure I would have survived. I have been angry for a long time but I have decided to leave the past behind. Of course, it makes me who I am today but also I want to look forward to a bright future. I am not afraid of obstacles because I know that I am strong enough to survive anything.“

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