Liliana* grew up in a seemingly “healthy” family, but she held a dark and painful secret.
One day Liliana began to be sexually abused by a family member. Her abuser threatened her not to tell anyone. Scared for her life, she kept the painful secret to herself. Liliana was 11 when the abuse began.
Following months of abuse, Liliana couldn’t endure it anymore and mustered up the courage to share her pain with her mother. That conversation left her more vulnerable and even more fearful.
Though she believed Liliana, her mother’s hands were tied and she took no action. Soon, another adult member of the community abused Liliana. Once again she reported the incident to her mother, and again, received no help. Terrified of further abuse, Liliana took the painful step of leaving her family, moving out of her home to live with her extended family further from her remote town north of Guatemala City.
Soon after her move, Liliana found out that she was pregnant. Terrified of what lay ahead and with the fear of further abuse, she sought shelter in a government-run girl's home.
During her short stay at the government home, Liliana pursued her studies, received counseling, and gave birth to her baby when she 16 years old. However, the under-resourced government shelter wasn’t the best place for Liliana to grow up or raise her baby.
Soon after her baby’s birth, Kids Alive International heard of Liliana’s plight and invited her and her baby to stay at La Arquilla, Oasis’ home for child-moms. At Oasis, Liliana began to attend trauma-focused therapy, receive individualized education, and learned to care for her baby as a new mom. Liliana also began to take sewing classes.
Soon her teachers and house parents were impressed with Liliana’s overall progress and quick adjustment to her new situation. They found Liliana to be quiet but fiercely determined. Her bravery and sweet demeanor is both endearing and inspiring to all those around her.
At Oasis, Liliana also learned about God’s love for her and her baby. She recently decided to be baptized. At her baptism, she emerged out of the water with a broad smile on her face, proclaiming that she is a child of God, chosen, powerful, clean, and a work of art. All those who know Liliana agree.
The Lord is doing tremendous work in Liliana’s heart, raising her up as a leader, and rewriting her story. From a scared child, a victim of sexual abuse, a child-mom, Liliana is now emerging as a strong, loving mom who brings smiles to the faces of all those around her.
During her time at La Arquilla, Liliana was assigned to a Mentor Family. Mentor Families are a part of Kids Alive's innovative program where caring Guatemalan Christian families visit, encourage, and provide mentorship to survivors of sexual abuse and young moms without families. Occasionally, Mentor Families seek Kids Alive’s assistance to be trained as foster parents or guardians. As it turned out, Liliana’s Mentor Family stepped forward to seek this training and then surprised Liliana by inviting her and her baby to be a part of their family.
The young teenage-mom, once abused and afraid, has found new hope in her identity in Christ and a new Christian family that loves both her and her child.
*Name changed to protect identity