My name is Rupali Reintjes.
I was born in New Delhi in 1995. I was adopted from Palna at the age of about fifteen months. My mother is Italian and my father is German.
I'm now seventeen years old. I'm an Italian citizen. I live in Cremona, a city in northern Italy about 100 kilometers from Milan. I'm in my fourth year of high school.
My adoption was never hidden from me.
I have always known without any shame that I was adopted. My parents always told me that I was adopted from India even though up to a certain age I didn't really understand what it meant to be adopted or for that matter, where India was.
But I did understand early on that I was 'different' from my mom and dad, from all the other children and people around me. In spite of the difference in skin color, I felt like I was part of my family; as you can see in this picture I drew when I was about 6 years old.
In March 2012 I was invited by Mrs. Manorma Jafa, Secretary General of the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC) to participate at the International Conference on Book Therapy in New Delhi to share the story of my adoption.
It was the first time I was back to India since the adoption. Of course, I couldn't miss visiting Palna.
What I saw was really important for me to understand my past, my origin, my story. What I saw were children like the one I was, but instead of sadness I found love; instead of extreme poverty I found efficiency; instead of abandoned children, I found hope for a better future.
This year I am attending a school year in Canada as an Exchange Student. It is very exciting and I met students from many different countries. So, I would say, from Palna to … the world!