*Photo: Florentina and her brother Ernesto arrived at Kids Kingdom orphanage in Ensenada, Mexico after they were abandoned by their parents.
Florentina is only seven years old, but she has already lived a very rough life.
“We lived in Ensenada in a one room house,” she recalled.“We hardly ever had food and we had to look in our neighbor’s trash cans for food.”
At only seven years old, Florentina speaks and thinks like a much older child. She had to grow up fast. She spent every day looking for food for herself and her brother. Her parents were drug addicts.
Children in Danger
Florentina and Ernesto lived by a dry riverbed that flooded when it rained. One day, Florentina was playing by the river when she slipped down the embankment and was swept away by a flash flood. Luckily, when she called out, her brother heard her and came to her rescue. He jumped into the water, which reached up to his nose, and pulled Florentina to safety. “My brother is my hero,” she said.
Florentina and Ernesto were welcomed with brand new toys (a first for them!) on their first day at Kids Kingdom.
A Hopeful Future
When neighbors began to see Florentina and Ernesto on their own during the day and not at school, they called the police. The children were taken to a temporary shelter for four months, and then in October 2017, they were taken to Kids Kingdom– their new, permanent home.
“I like it here because in my house my parents would whip me with a belt and in Kids Kingdom they treat me well! I like it here because I have good friends,” said Florentina.
Florentina with her new family at Kids Kingdom.
Although Florentina and her brother were out of danger living at the orphanage, it was still not always easy for them. Neither child had attended school before. Florentina had a difficult time catching up to her peers. But, now she is in the second grade,where she should be, and enjoys math, reading, and Spanish language.
At Kids Kingdom, Florentina has been able to flourish and let her personality shine. She loves to laugh and make others laugh by telling jokes. The loving home at the orphanage has shown her the world can actually be a happy, wonderful place.
She has found a passion for EVERYTHING and wants to explore all new opportunities. When she grows up she wants to be a firefighter…and a policewoman…and a nurse…and a doctor…and a teacher…and the list goes on!
Florentina, in her new school uniform, is a child full of life and wonder!
We can’t wait to see what Florentina does next! (And we will be sure to keep you updated!)