Adopted as an infant, Andra Huong found herself stateless at 12 years old due to technical discrepancies in her adoption process. But her mother refused to give up, fasting and praying constantly over three years for a miracle. Read Andra’s story of faith, hope and the promise of victory we have in Christ Jesus.
On the edge of adulthood, Andra Huong has a smile that lights up the room. The 18-year-old is currently in the accounting stream at Johor Matriculation College, serves actively in church and loves her family. For those who’ve just met her, she seems like an ordinary teenager with a passion for music and art.
But Andra’s story is nothing short of a miracle; a divine demonstration of the power of God’s faithfulness and the grit of praying parents.
Growing up as an adopted child, Andra faced curious glances and hurtful remarks for her different skin tone
Andra’s parents were childless for several years but had always yearned for a child to call their own. So her maternal grandma suggested they try adoption. Sometime later, her father’s acquaintance introduced them to a couple looking to give their child away.
The child was Andra, and from that day onward she became part of the Huong family. But her skin tone was darker than her parents and in primary school, she bore the brunt of bullies’ remarks and questions about her family situation.
“I was discriminated against and sometimes bullied by my peers because I have a darker skin tone. I was discouraged from time to time. Some people asked what race I am, who my parents were and if I was a native. Some people were blunt and were not satisfied with my simple answer.”
But God was with Andra and gave her the strength to face the difficult days. “I believe God helped me walk through all of those struggles,” she says.
When Andra turned 12 years old, she suddenly found herself stateless
Andra is a Malaysian, having obtained both a birth certificate and MyKid when she was born. However, when she turned 12 years old, she found herself in a precarious situation.
“I had a MyKid but when I was 12 years old, my MyKad application was declined. JPN claimed that my adoption process was incorrectly carried out as my birth certificate was a normal one and without the anak angkat serial number. They took away my MyKid and I became stateless.”
Suddenly stateless, Andra faced a host of challenges. She was not eligible for state-provided free education, could not travel outside of Malaysia and had to open a bank account under her mother’s name.
But her parents refused to give up. Her parents sought legal advice and went through the required steps, even appearing in court. They requested supporting letters from several Members of Parliament and wrote to the Home Minister to appeal for Andra’s citizenship.
“My parents anxiously and eagerly waited for a reply. From time to time, my mom would call the Home Ministry to follow up, but the answer was always negative. My parents were concerned that I would remain stateless but my mom took a step of faith to surrender my predicament to God.”
For three years, Andra’s mother held tightly to God’s Word and pressed forward in prayer
Her mother, Andra says, is a faithful Christian with a strong personal conviction. She credits her mother for helping her develop a personal relationship with God and walking in alignment with His will. It was also her mother who had rock-solid faith that God would come through.
“My mom specifically requested in her prayers to the Lord that I would get my MyKad before I sit for my SPM,” Andra says, adding that her mother held onto Isaiah 42:3 as she prayed for a miracle.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness, He will bring forth justice. – Isaiah 42:3
For over three years, she constantly fasted and prayed, bringing her request before a God she trusted to be faithful. And just as Andra was about to start Form 4, the breakthrough happened.
“Although my mom requested that I get my MyKad before I sit for my SPM, God was more than gracious and opened the way for me to obtain my MyKad at the beginning of Form 4,” she shares.
Today, Andra holds a diploma in music, hopes to be an accountant and serves faithfully where God has placed her
Andra’s encouragement for other adoptees struggling with acceptance and belonging is to not be discouraged and be simply who you are. She also has advice for Malaysian adults, that they will teach their children to look beyond skin colour and embrace everyone in spite of their differences.
“God is faithful and we must trust in Him no matter what our circumstances are,” Andra says with conviction. Her favourite Scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, a verse many of us know but for Andra, is especially significant.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Indeed, this young woman’s cup is full today. She serves actively in her church’s youth group, Acts Teens, walking with her peers and pointing them to the God who came through for her.
Just as her name means strong and courageous, Andra is forging ahead in the light of God’s promises over her life
Andra’s life and journey so far have been fraught with ups and downs, but the constant has been God’s faithfulness. By His grace, Andra received her rightful citizenship after years of struggle. Her life holds a simple but powerful message: that God cares for each of us, and that He honours a humble and praying heart.
For Andra, life is just beginning. She doesn’t know what lies ahead but she knows that Jesus Christ will be with her every step of the way and that she has been called to something great.
“My name is Andra Huong. I’m 18 years old and currently pursuing my studies at Johor Matriculation College. My dad is a banker and my mom is a senior lecturer. I have a younger brother, Astin, who is in Form 4. My hobbies are music and drawing. I have taken piano lessons since I was seven years old and just obtained my Diploma ATCL from Trinity College London this year. God has amazing plans ahead for me.”
Interested to learn more on statelessness? Check out ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre’s work with migrant, refugee and stateless children here.
All photos provided by Andra Huong.