A 21-year-old woman is courageously raising her five siblings after the tragic loss of their parents. Samantha Rodriguez, who was only 17 at the time of their parents’ death, understood the dire consequences her siblings faced without an adult to care for them, potentially being placed in the state’s foster-care system.
Determined to honor her father’s promise to her mother, Samantha made the selfless decision to put her own life on hold and assume the role of an adult in the family.
Meet Samantha Rodriguez, the Florida 21-year-old who stepped up to raise her five siblings after both their parents died. https://t.co/4ndMjVMS8j— Inside Edition (@InsideEdition) March 2, 2020
Over the past few years, Rodriguez has taken on the responsibility of providing for her four younger sisters and brother. Single-handedly, she ensured they were fed, clothed, and attended school regularly, as there was no one else in the family who could support them. Reflecting on her situation, the remarkable young woman shared, “My reality was that I’m 17 but these are my brothers and sisters, and when I looked at them, I knew that they’re children.
They’re vulnerable and they need an adult, so I became their adult.” In the face of adversity, Rodriguez became a parent, sister, and role model, keeping the family united despite the threat of tragedy tearing them apart.
21-year-old Samantha Rodriguez opened up to the co-hosts about taking on the roles of mom and dad to her five siblings after both parents died from cancer. https://t.co/Xyvw8TSDUx— The View (@TheView) December 9, 2019
According to ABC News, the Rodriguez siblings lost their mother, Lisa Smith, to cervical cancer in 2013. Though their father, Alexander Rodriguez, vowed to keep the children together and ensure their happiness and well-being, he too fell ill a few years later, succumbing to lymphoma three years after their mother’s passing.
Determined to preserve her family, Samantha made the difficult decision to step up and raise her brothers and sisters, drawing upon the invaluable lessons she had learned from her mother. “I knew what I had to do,” she told CNN. “I learned so much from my mom. I was like her sidekick. I learned what it meant to raise a family.”
The Rodriguez kids lost both parents to cancer in recent years. Samantha, 20, has taken on the role of caregiver to her five younger siblings. The kids thought they were visiting the OCSO Aviation Unit for a tour. Instead, they received a Christmas none of us will ever forget! pic.twitter.com/1Bs4w6PQob— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) December 24, 2018
Relocating to Orange County, Florida, where their grandmother resided, Samantha took on the role of caretaker while temporarily putting her education on hold. After settling her family into their new home and routine, she eventually returned to school, balancing her studies with a part-time job as a waitress.
Her dedication and perseverance served as an inspiration to her siblings, demonstrating the importance of education and hard work. “I can’t tell them to be successful in school if I wasn’t. So that’s when I decided to go back,” she explained. “When I graduated, the kids were very proud of me, and they came to my graduation, and it was amazing.”
ICYMI: Here's the story on the anonymous donors who stepped up to buy a new car for Samantha Rodriguez, who at 20 is raising her five younger siblings after her parents' death. Nice story here, too:https://t.co/iNCmq7vSh7 pic.twitter.com/m6B0rCEJcy— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) April 8, 2019
Even now, as she pursues her college education part-time and continues to work as a waitress, Rodriguez remains responsible for all the daily tasks involved in caring for her siblings. From providing meals to organizing school and medical appointments, sports practices, and homework assistance, she takes on each responsibility with unwavering determination.
“I get a lot of that strength from my mother,” she shared. “I spent a lot of time with her, and I admired her so much. When we lost her, I knew that I wanted to be just like her in every way. That’s what I wanted to do for the kids.”
Samantha Rodriguez has been raising her five younger siblings between the ages 5 and 16 ever since their parents died.— 7News DC (@7NewsDC) April 9, 2019
Anonymous donors just surprised her with a brand new car. https://t.co/awtCZkDpoY pic.twitter.com/BVLQ0ByQRW
Rodriguez strives to set the best possible example for her siblings, instilling in them the lessons she learned from her parents. “They showed us not to take anything for granted. That’s something I try to teach the kids. At the end of the day, the material things don’t matter.
What’s given can be taken away so fast. The only thing that really matters is family and love and support,” she expressed. Caring for her siblings at such a young age has shaped Samantha’s identity and brings her immeasurable joy. “It makes me so happy to be with them and to be there for them