AndreaSmCircleIn Colombia, I never had anyone I could call “mom” or “dad”.  My brother Sebastian and I lived with relatives who were abusive to us.  We were poor, and life was hard.  I remember not knowing where we’d sleep at night.  Instead of going to school like other kids, I sold lemons on the street and begged from strangers to survive.

I dreamed of having my own room, going to school, but most of all, having someone to love me. 

I knew there had to be more to life.  So when I was 13, Sebastian and I ran away.  After telling the police our story, we lived in a shelter for three months. The shelter was a scary place.  Many of the kids were drug addicts or criminals.  I was never allowed to see my brother or talk to him.  It was a really hard time.  When we were transferred to an orphanage, things were better.  I didn’t have to share a bed or my clothes.  I was allowed to see Sebastian, and for the first time, I went to school every day.  

But there was still emptiness in my heart.

In 2008 my social worker told me about Kidsave and Summer Miracles.  I jumped at the chance to participate.  That summer we were hosted by a family who introduced us to lots of people to help us find a family.  We met Darcy just two days before we had to return to Colombia.

Darcy invited us to visit her in December, and we celebrated our first real Christmas in a real family.

The month flew by.  I looked at Darcy and wondered, “Could this be my mom?”  One thing I knew for sure.   There was a special place — just for Darcy –in my heart.  When we learned that Darcy wanted to adopt us, we were in heaven.

I couldn’t believe it – after all this loneliness, I would finally have a real mom.

Now I’m a senior year in high school.  I’m a cheerleader.  I am excited about going to college and thinking of studying forensic science.   I love school, I have wonderful friends and an amazing life.Darcy started the adoption process, and after what seemed like an eternity we became a family.  In the beginning, we had a lot of trouble communicating.  My mom’s Spanish wasn’t very good (sorry, mom) and our English was really, really bad.  One day, my mom said we were going to “Costco.”  My brother and I looked at her like she was crazy.  Costco sounds like the word “helmet” in Spanish.  Why were we getting helmets when we were hungry?

And most of all, I have a mom.