FAMILY & PARENTING

After Both Parents Die, College Student Steps Up To Raise Her 5 Younger Siblings

by Amy Paige
Amy is the Director of Trending Content at LittleThings. After graduating from Florida State University with a creative writing degree, she moved straight to New York City to pursue a career in the arts. She loves discovering and sharing viral videos, watching movies with her Muppet-like poodle mix named Cali, and doing the robot whenever possible.

In 2013, Lisa Smith — a wife and mother of six — died from cervical cancer. Her grieving husband, Alexander, was left to take care of their kids as a single father.

But just three years later, Alexander passed away after his own battle with lymphoma.

Destiny was just 1 year old when they lost their mother, and 4 when their dad died. Bella, Michael, Brenda, and Milagros are the middle children. And Samantha, the eldest of the Rodriguez brood, was 17 at the time.

Samantha’s little brothers and sisters were on the brink of having to enter Florida’s foster care system. This meant they were also at risk of being separated from one another, despite their unbreakable bond, and shuffled around from one temporary home to another.

When it came to her siblings, Samantha always had that indescribable motherly instinct. After all, she grew up watching her mom take care of everyone around her. “I learned so much from my mom,” Samantha told CNN. “I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family.”

And so Samantha made the incredible decision to step up and raise her five siblings by herself.

“They’re vulnerable and they need an adult, so I became their adult.”

But money was tight. Samantha needed to pay the bills, so she started working as a waitress while going to college part-time. She needed to make sure the kids were clothed, fed, and taken to school and back.

Oh, and she didn’t even have a car …

Watch the video below to meet this amazing family and see how Samantha has so gracefully transitioned from a big sister to a parent.

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