Here is the full transcript of serial entrepreneur Christopher Ategeka’s Talk: How Adoption Worked for Me at TED conference.
Christopher Ategeka – Serial entrepreneur
How many of you are tired of seeing celebrities adopting kids from the African continent? 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 finish 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. 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. 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.”