No one brings children into the world without preparing for the time when they will be orphans. No one wants to think about when their children will be adopted by other people when they can no longer fulfil their duties. No parent believes in the possibility of their children being left alone in the world to look after themselves. With two parents it is difficult to raise children while working 9-5. Here is a 20-year-old human who working tables at night and stands on her feet all day long to raise her five siblings.
Samantha Rodriguez, from Orange County, Florida, refused to see her siblings being separated to different homes after the death of her father in 2016. Three years earlier, her mother Lisa Smith died at the age of 35 of cervical cancer in 2013. Her father died of lymphoma at the age of 44, when Samantha was 17. Since then, Samantha has raised her five siblings alone.
Some relatives could have taken the children in, but no one could take in all 6 of them. They’d have to be separated one way or the other.
Samantha has spoken to People.com about how she won’t sit around grieving and watch her close-knit family tear apart. “There was no way I was going to let them break us. So I decided I have to do what I could and everything is possible to help these kids,” she said.
Against all odds
7-year-old Destiny, 9-year-old Bella, 12-year-old Michael, 14-year-old Brenda, and 16-year-old Milagros are all old enough to know what their sister has done for them.
“Sam wanted us to stay together as a family”, Michael said. That’s means a lot to us. ‘I don’t know where we would be without her and I know it’s not good for all of us” Michael continues.
Milagros said, as all children know, at the age of 20, Samantha should live her best life, concentrating on herself and her dreams, and experimenting with a career that is wild and free. She decided to keep her away from her dreams and be in the same time, mother and father in the cold, hard world. After their mother’s death in 2013, the children moved with their father in Georgia to make a fresh start. He’d been an alcoholic who wasn’t always there while their mother had worked hard as a cleaner. However, when she died, he stepped up to be there for his children. Sadly, he died three years later and they had to move yet again to Orlando, where Samantha got a job as a waitress.
During the day, she prepares meals, gets medical appointments, does the laundry, goes shopping and caters for her siblings, and after, works at night in a restaurant to support her family. Samantha is one rare, true, hero. “They deserve everything. I look at these kids, and I know it will all be alright,” says Samantha.
Help never stops coming
Samantha says she’s been overwhelmed by how much help the family has received from the community, from strangers who didn’t even know her. December 2018 was a perfect Christmas for the family, while the local sheriff’s station stepping in to provide food and preparations. This year, an anonymous donor donated money and gifted Samantha a car, as a well-meaning members of the city. The gift helped her a lot to coordinate activities for the children. She is also grateful for her boyfriend of two years, Jesus Santana, who has been an enormous help and part of her support system.
“I’m overwhelmed with all the help we’ve received”, Samantha said. “It’s a reminder that everything will be fine”. Samantha has big plans to move the family into a bigger house so the children can live together. It saves as much money as possible to make this possible. Since its inception in April 2019, the sibling GoFundMe page has raised a shocking $116,115 from kind-hearted donors from around the world.
She plans to enroll in a local college and take some courses. When her siblings grow up, she wants them to go to college so she doesn’t derail them. It will make her life exciting and she hopes they can visit Disney World as it is close to her home in Florida. Samantha’s life is not what she imagined, but at the age of 20 she is a happy, optimistic young woman with a big future ahead of her. Good luck to everyone in this wonderful family.