Alia has never been able to make her own choices. She didn't choose to live in foster care, she didn't choose to live in New York City with 3 other girls she barely knew, and she definitly did have the choice to be stuck in the same routine her whole life.
Most of her life had been deicded by social workers and parents opinions. Alia was never the girl to go out and have friends because she knew it was all a waste of time in her life. Her persepctive was simple, these weren't the people she would want to be around in the future, why should I spend my life with them now.
School was never something Alia admired. She attended because she was made to go, not that she listened most of the time. For Alia, it was a place where privleged kids take great oppurtunities for granted which always annoyed her. Instead of paying attention in class, Alia used class time as a focus oppurtunity to plan her escape from everyone.
When Alia saw the whirligig, for the first time in her life, she knew that she needed to leave her town. The Whirligig taught her that one unfortunate event in her life doesn't mean the rest of the world is negative. She has the oppurtunity to get out and make what she wants out of her life.
Alia came home and started to pack. She had no idea where she was going to go or what she was going to do, but she did know that she was not capable of staying in foster care anymore.
Slowly, Alia adapted to her new enviorment and recienved a job. She has not only been independant but has had the freedom to make choices for herself.