She Was Called the “Devil’s Child” in the Orphanage, but Now She is a Prima Ballerina

People
9 months ago

In a heartwarming tale of resilience and triumph, the story of Michaela DePrince, a world-renowned ballerina, serves as a testament to the power of love, determination, and the transformative potential of adoption. From being called the “Devil’s Child” in an orphanage to gracing the stages of prestigious ballet companies, her journey is nothing short of extraordinary.

Michaela’s life before the adoption was anything but a fairy tale.

Michaela was born in Sierra Leone in 1995, but her early years were marked by heartache and loss. After her parents tragically passed away, she was sent to an orphanage where she became just a nameless face in the crowd.

Reflecting on her time at the orphanage, she shared in an interview, saying, “They named us from 1 to 27. One was the favorite child of the orphanage and 27 was the least favorite.” Unfortunate circumstances led Michaela to be known as number 27, an outcast due to her rare skin condition known as vitiligo. In a cruel twist of fate, she was even referred to as the ’devil’s child’ by her peers.

The only solace the little girl found in her tough early years at the orphanage was through her closest friend, Mabinty. Unlike Michaela, her friend was number 26 and the two girls bonded over their shared love for singing, playing pretend, and imagining what their lives would be like if they were adopted.

In the blink of an eye, the girl’s life transformed into the stuff of fairy tales.

In a twist of fate, a woman named Elaine DePrince, hailing from New Jersey, had plans to adopt a child from Africa. Her initial intention was to adopt Michaela’s friend, Mabinty; however, due to a mix-up at the adoption agency, her destiny was shaped forever.

In a recollection of the event, Elaine, Michaela’s adoptive mother, recalled, “I got a call from the adoption agency. They said, ’Which Mabinty are you adopting? We have 2 of them.’”

It wasn’t until this conversation that Elaine learned, to her surprise, that the other Mabinty had been rejected by 12 families because of her skin condition.

Without a second thought, Elaine made the decision to adopt both girls. In their first meeting, Elaine vividly remembers Michaela standing there with her arms crossed, exuding anger and skepticism. Elaine mused. “She was standing there with her arms folded, really angry,” Elaine recalled. “I think...she just thought there was going to be more rejection ahead of her.

Michaela’s adoptive parents proved to be her unwavering heroes.

During her time at the orphanage, Michaela stumbled upon a captivating image of a ballerina in a newspaper, igniting a passion for dance that would stay with her throughout her early childhood.

Upon arriving at her adoptive parents’ home, she eagerly shared the photo with her mother, Elaine, expressing her dream of donning pointe shoes like a real ballerina. Touched and amazed, Elaine could only promise Michaela that one day, her dream of dancing would come to fruition.

While Michaela’s new life in the US presented a positive trajectory, she still carried fears of rejection, often finding solace in sleeping with the light on. However, the unwavering love and care from her parents gradually healed her wounded heart, bringing her back to a state of peace. With their support, Michaela fearlessly embarked on the pursuit of her grand dream.

Michaela’s unwavering dedication to her sacred dream led to a rewarding outcome.

As Michaela embraced her new life, her dance lessons began to bear fruit, fueling her desire to become a professional ballerina. However, she recognized the challenges that lay ahead, particularly her concerns about her vitiligo.

Prior to her inaugural performance, she sought reassurance from her mother, urging Elaine to confirm if the spots on her body were visible from the audience’s perspective.

Elaine recalled, “I said, ’No, not really.’ They looked like pixie dust. And she says, ’Oh, good. Now I can be a professional ballerina.’”

At the age of 17, Michaela achieved an extraordinary feat, becoming the youngest ballerina ever to grace the stage of the renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City. Her talent did not go unnoticed as she then secured a position with the esteemed Dutch National Ballet, making Amsterdam her cherished and genuine home. She acknowledges this remarkable journey as both a realized dream and a personal triumph that she wholeheartedly earned.

“It’s not a fairy tale, you know,” she said. “You have to work hard. There is a lot of loss, a lot of pain. But, you know, performing? I love it.”

The young woman wants her story to be a huge motivational push to everyone.

Michaela has her own role model, one of the first black principal American ballerinas named Lauren Anderson. The young woman wrote an autobiographical book about her life story, and now Madonna expressed the desire to direct a film about Michaela, and she confessed that when she found out about the ballerina’s journey, she was just awestruck.

In her announcement about the upcoming film, Madonna expressed her profound connection to Michaela’s journey, stating, “Michaela’s journey resonated with me deeply as both an artist and an activist who understands adversity. We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone and let Michaela be the voice for all the orphaned children she grew up beside. I am honored to bring her story to life.

From being labeled the ’Devil’s Child’ to gracing the international stage as a celebrated ballerina, her journey was marked by resilience and triumph. Yet, what about the neglected child who endured constant mockery? Prepare to be amazed as he rises above his past, employing his vlogs to educate and enlighten people from all walks of life.

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