I was abandoned when I was six years old. My parents left me at a highway rest area. I spent the next six years in an orphanage. My name is Alicia Abdullah. I am an adopted child and the happiest 12-year-old girl! Life changed when Ayah and Ibu took me home with them. It is so much better now.

At home, I can walk into the kitchen and eat and drink all I want and watch a big TV anytime. Ibu’s cooking smells mouth-wateringly good. I was always hungry at the orphanage and had to wait to eat with all the children.

When Kak Siti comes back for school holidays she’s always happy to see me. We go to the malls or the cinema where we eat popcorn. Kak Siti is just a year older than me and I really feel my sister loves me. Ayah and Ibu say we actually look like each other.

Ayah and Ibu encourage me to do well at school. I passed the PMR but my grades were low. At the orphanage, we learnt in a big group. I was always shy and not confident and a bit scared of my teachers. Ayah now teaches me English himself and I attend a Kumon math programme. My parents personally send me to school every day.

I cry sometimes because I’m so happy and blessed and I cry at other times when I recall how bad things used to be. I still remember the time I was sad and scared waiting for my (biological) parents to come to get me from the warong they had left me. I wandered about until the Department of Social Welfare arrived.

I would like to believe my parents abandoned me in the hope that someone more able would take care of me. But did they really think that? Was I a bad girl…or didn’t they love me?

Now my dreams are mostly good…but I sometimes wonder about Aisha back at the orphanage. Will she, like me, get loving parents?

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