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  • How many of you are tired

  • of seeing celebrities adopting kids from the African continent?

  • (Laughter)

  • Well, it's not all that bad.

  • I was adopted.

  • I grew up in rural Uganda,

  • lost both my parents when I was very, very young.

  • And when my parents passed,

  • I experienced all the negative effects of poverty,

  • from homelessness,

  • eating out of trash piles,

  • you name it.

  • But my life changed

  • when I got accepted into an orphanage.

  • Through one of those sponsor-an-orphan programs,

  • I was sponsored and given an opportunity to acquire an education.

  • I started off in Uganda.

  • I went through school, and the way this particular program worked,

  • you finished high school and after high school,

  • you go learn a trade -- to become a carpenter, a mechanic

  • or something along those lines.

  • My case was a little different.

  • The sponsor family that was sending these 25 dollars a month

  • to this orphanage to sponsor me,

  • which -- I had never met them --

  • said, "Well ...

  • we would like to send you to college instead."

  • Oh -- it gets better.

  • (Laughter)

  • And they said, "If you get the paperwork,

  • we'll send you to school in America instead."

  • So with their help,

  • I went to the embassy and applied for the visa.

  • I got the visa.

  • I remember this day like it was yesterday.

  • I walked out of the embassy with this piece of paper in my hand,

  • a hop in my step,

  • smile on my face,

  • knowing that my life is about to change.

  • I went home that night,

  • and I slept with my passport,

  • because I was afraid that someone might steal it.

  • (Laughter)

  • I couldn't fall asleep.

  • I kept feeling it.

  • I had a good idea for security.

  • I was like, "OK, I'm going to put it in a plastic bag,

  • and take it outside and dig a hole, and put it in there."

  • I did that, went back in the house.

  • I could not fall asleep. I was like, "Maybe someone saw me."

  • I went back --

  • (Laughter)

  • I pulled it out, and I put it with me the entire night --

  • all to say that it was an anxiety-filled night.

  • (Laughter)

  • Going to the US was, just like another speaker said,

  • was my first time to see a plane,

  • be on one, let alone sit on it to fly to another country.

  • December 15, 2006.

  • 7:08pm.

  • I sat in seat 7A.

  • Fly Emirates.

  • One of the most gorgeous, beautiful women I've ever seen walked up,

  • red little hat with a white veil.

  • I'm looking terrified, I have no idea what I'm doing.

  • She hands me this warm towel --

  • warm, steamy, snow white.

  • I'm looking at this warm towel;

  • I don't know what to do with my life, let alone with this damn towel --

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • I did one of the --

  • you know, anything anyone could do in that situation:

  • look around, see what everyone else is doing.

  • I did the same.

  • Mind you, I drove about seven hours from my village to the airport that day.

  • So I grab this warm towel,

  • wipe my face just like everyone else is doing,

  • I look at it --

  • damn.

  • (Laughter)

  • It was all dirt brown.

  • (Laughter)

  • I remember being so embarrassed that when she came by to pick it up,

  • I didn't give mine.

  • (Laughter)

  • I still have it.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Going to America opened doors for me

  • to live up to my full God-given potential.

  • I remember when I arrived,

  • the sponsor family embraced me,

  • and they literally had to teach me everything from scratch:

  • this is a microwave, that's a refrigerator --

  • things I'd never seen before.

  • And it was also the first time

  • I got immersed into a new and different culture.

  • These strangers showed me

  • true love.

  • These strangers showed me that I mattered,

  • that my dreams mattered.

  • (Applause)

  • Thank you.

  • These individuals had two of their own biological children.

  • And when I came in, I had needs.

  • They had to teach me English,

  • teach me literally everything,

  • which resulted in them spending a lot of time with me.

  • And that created a little bit of jealousy with their children.

  • So, if you're a parent in this room,

  • and you have those teenager children

  • who don't want anything to do with your love and affection --

  • in fact, they find it repulsive --

  • I got a solution:

  • adopt a child.

  • (Laughter)

  • It will solve the problem.

  • (Applause)

  • I went on to acquire two engineering degrees

  • from one of the best institutions in the world.

  • I've got to tell you:

  • talent is universal,

  • but opportunities are not.

  • And I credit this

  • to the individuals who embrace multiculturalism,

  • love, empathy

  • and compassion for others.

  • We live in a world filled with hate:

  • building walls,

  • Brexit,

  • xenophobia here on the African continent.

  • Multiculturalism can be an answer

  • to many of these worst human qualities.

  • Today, I challenge you

  • to help a young child experience multiculturalism.

  • I guarantee you that will enrich their life,

  • and in turn,

  • it will enrich yours.

  • And as a bonus,

  • one of them may even give a TED Talk.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • We may not be able to solve the bigotry and the racism of this world today,

  • but certainly we can raise children

  • to create a positive, inclusive, connected world

  • full of empathy,

  • love

  • and compassion.

  • Love wins.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

How many of you are tired

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【TED】Christopher Ategeka: How adoption worked for me (How adoption worked for me | Christopher Ategeka)

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    Zenn posted on 2018/01/22
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