Shiomara is 16 years old and is in 11th grade. She arrived at the Kids Kingdom in May 2009 at age 8 with her older sister, Cassandra. Cassandra, age 18, is also currently in 11th grade. This is the story that Shiomara shared at the annual Kids Kingdom Christmas Party on December 27, 2017.

Hi, my name is Shiomara and I am 16 years old. I have a sister named Cassandra, age 18, and had another older sister, Isis, who passed away a few years ago. We don’t look like each other since we have different dads. I was born in Nayarit, Mexico. When I was 2 years old, my Mom and sisters moved to Tijuana. Things didn’t work out in Tijuana so we moved to Ensenada. We lived in a wood house that my sisters and I built with my Mom. My Mom cleaned houses but she didn’t have a consistent job. Because of our low income and inconsistent lifestyle, I wasn’t able to go to school very much.

One morning when I was about 7 years old we heard someone yelling at my Mom from outside our home. The young man (who was a drug addict) started throwing rocks at my Mom. We got really scared because the rocks were coming into the house and my Mom started throwing rocks back. I tried to stop what was going on but I got hurt in the process. Our neighbors called the police and when they arrived they took all of the people involved. At the police station, I was asked many questions. I was very scared – scared as to what would happen to my sisters if I didn’t tell the truth, and scared as to what my mom would say to me if I told them the truth that no one was taking care of us and that we were by ourselves. (Shiomara was the youngest but was always the responsible one, taking the lead role, knowing what was going on and helping her sisters.) I was taken to a temporary shelter and was waiting anxiously for my sisters to arrive. My older sister, Isis, had a handicap and was taken to a special home. From that day forward, I started to realize that the lifestyle that I had been living wasn’t normal because my Mom had mental problems and wasn’t right psychologically. Cassandra and I were at the temporary shelter for about 6 months before we came to the Kids Kingdom in May 2009.

When we came to the Kids Kingdom, they received us with arms wide open, accepting us fully for who we are. I was finally able to receive real love that my Mom was not able to give us due to her mental problems. I didn’t have to worry about anything - if we had food to eat or not or if I was going to school or not. With mom, I never knew what would happen the next day. I couldn’t understand how these people who weren’t my relatives could give me this love and love me as much as they were. At that moment I realized that my life was going to change completely. For the first time in my life I felt secure and I felt loved.

Over all these years at the Kids Kingdom they have made me feel at home and above all I felt the love of a family. God has given me peace and I’ve learned to forgive those that harmed me. My past doesn’t determine who I am. My past has helped me to learn how to be tough in the midst of all circumstances. God took the negative from my past and turned it into a lesson for me and it gave me a positive motivation for my life. We don’t decide some of these circumstances in our life but we decide what we’re going to do with those circumstances in our life. I thank God that I don’t have resentment in my heart.

I thank all the people who have helped us over the years, many who don’t know us but have loved us as if they knew us with unconditional love. Thank you for your support so that we can achieve our goals including schooling and education. Thank you for all that you invest into the Kids Kingdom Orphanage. Because of that we can go to school, we have food and shelter over our head. Thank you for being a part of our family!