Adoptions
Couple who lost 3 kids adopts “least likeable” child at orphanage unaware she’d become a star
She was ranked 27th by the women in the orphanage, which meant she got the last dibs on everything including clothes and food.
Elijah Chan
07.19.22

“Why would somebody want to adopt the devil’s child?”

Michaele DePrince was born in Sierra Leone. But at that time, it was the last country anyone would want to find themselves in. DePrince, born as Mabinty Bangura, lost her parents during a brutal civil war.

She was then sent to an orphanage where she became an outcast.

Because, unlike other children, she was born with a skin condition that made her the “least likeable” child.

She has vitiligo, a skin condition that’s characterized by pockets or patches of skin without pigmentation.

Because of this, she was branded as the “devil’s child”.

She was ranked 27th by the women in the orphanage. It meant that she had the last dibs on everything like food or clothes. Through this painful phase, she made friends with a girl with the same name – Mabinty who was ranked 26th.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Together, they dreamed of what their life would be once they were adopted. But this is not the only thing DePrince dreamt of.

A gust of wind brought a magazine page to the orphanage gates.

Little DePrince looked at the picture with such wonder and showed it to one of her teachers. Her teacher said that it was a ballerina.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Since then, that’s the only thing DePrince wanted to become.

“It was not just the fact that she’s a ballerina,” she said to TODAY. “It’s that she looks happy. And I wanted to be happy.”

Her life changed because of her friend and Elaine DePrince of New Jersey.

Elaine adopted a child named “Mabinty” but the orphanage asked her which of the two. Then, when Elaine learned that 12 families turned down Mabinty the 27th because of her vitiligo, she took both of them instead.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Her friend was then named Mia and she took the name Michaela, after her late adopted son Michael.

The first thing Michaela DePrince showed Elaine was the image of a ballerina.

Elaine couldn’t believe that an orphan from Africa dreamt of becoming an artist. And from then on she made a promise.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

But getting there won’t be easy. Because first, DePrince had to realize what it’s like not only to live with vitiligo, but as a black American.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Elaine, also a civil rights activist, taught them African-American history. This gave her the confidence to embrace her identity and chase her dreams. What people used to hurt and disenfranchise her didn’t stop her from realizing what she’s supposed to be.

She became the youngest ballerina in the Dance Theater of Harlem.

She was only 17 at that time. But through her journey, she learned that becoming a ballerina wasn’t just a dream for herself. It was a beacon for young ladies like her to aspire to. She was a trailblazer in her own right and as she broke the shell of the “devil’s child”, she paved the way for others.

“I want young black girls to have more dancers to look up to. I want to be able to spread more poppies in a field of daffodils.”

Watch how this unwanted girl became one of the best artists of her generation.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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