Alejandra didn’t get to choose the life she was born in to. If she had the choice, she probably would have picked loving parents who kept her safe while letting her explore just enough to learn. She probably would have chosen to laugh everyday and only experience enough fear to make her cautious… but Alejandra didn’t get to choose the life she was born in to.
She was born in El Salvador to a mom who was addicted to Meth and dad who was violent. She was 3 the first time they sold her for drug money. Over the next 3 years, Alejandra knew more fear than any child should ever know. There were boogiemen everywhere she turned. Alejandra “worked” to pay the rent, she “worked” to buy her parent’s drugs, and when she wasn’t “working” she was looking after her two younger siblings. Alejandra lived in a nightmare… but Alejandra had heroes.
Her relatives moved to Albuquerque when she was a baby. They had only met her twice but after hearing from friends back home about what was going on, they knew they could not leave her there to be sold like the commodity that filled her parent’s needs. They planned a trip to El Salvador to rescue her and the moment they returned to Albuquerque she came to All Faiths’ Children’s Safehouse where she disclosed the horrors of her life back home.
Alejandra started therapy right away… but she struggled. She had violent outbursts, she was physically aggressive, she fought everyone who tried to help. How could she not? Life had trained her to be a fighter. When she started school she was aggressive towards her peers and inappropriate with adults. She had nightmares every night and would wake up screaming, soaked in sweat. Her heroes struggled to deal with her behaviors. They tried so hard to love her, to show her that she was safe, but she wouldn’t let them in. The harder they tried … the harder she fought against them. It was tearing their lives apart. They considered sending her back to El Salvador.
They told their therapist that they couldn’t help her, they couldn’t handle her and that they were considering sending her home. Their therapist intervened, notified CYFD and got them even more help. This family needed more support which also included doing more to help the family understand why Alejandra acted out so much.
Over the next year, Alejandra’s therapist worked vigorously with both her and her heroes. She helped them understand that this behavior was not who Alejandra was, but was a direct result of the trauma she had experienced in her short little life. She showed them ways that they can support her, helped them to understand what she was going through and helped them learn how to be patient as she adjusts to her new life. Alejandra had to learn how to be a regular 7 year old little girl. She learned to trust that she was finally safe.
By the time you are reading this, Alejandra will have completed therapy at All Faiths. Today, she is a regular 7 year old little girl who is lucky enough to have her own heroes.
Every Summer children at All Faiths attend art camps where they create original works of art centered around what hope means to them. During these camps, the children are taught about philanthropy and given the opportunity to be a hero for other children like them by donating their art work back to the agency to be auctioned off at our Showing Hope Gala on February 21, 2015. Be a hero for children like Alejandra and join us for the 2nd Annual Showing Hope Gala at the Albuquerque Museum, 2000 Mountain Rd. at 6:00pm. To purchase tickets please visit www.allfaiths.org or call 505-271-0329 ext. 228