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From Victim to Victor: Maria Raquel Dos Santos’ Inspiring Journey

ELMIRA, N.Y. – Maria Raquel Dos Santos transformed her life from being a “Victim” to a “Victor” following a series of traumatic events, including a failed international adoption during her formative years.

Having endured a challenging childhood in Maceió, Brazil, Raquel faced adversity early on, losing her father at the tender age of 4. By the time she was 7, her mother, grappling with the demands of single parenthood, made the difficult decision to place Raquel in an orphanage.

Reflecting on her time in the orphanage, Raquel recalls it as a period of solace and makeshift familial bonds. She emphasizes the significance of that environment in shaping her values, particularly in terms of hygiene and the importance of education.

Tragedy struck again when Raquel’s mother fell victim to her uncle’s violent actions, leading to Raquel’s adoption at the age of fourteen by a family in Elmira. Initially hopeful for a life akin to the idealized “American Dream,” Raquel found herself grappling with a profound sense of cultural dissonance in her adoptive household.

Upon her arrival, Raquel was confronted with the disheartening notion that her Brazilian identity was to be subsumed by an American persona. This forced assimilation took a toll on Raquel, causing her to grapple with a loss of self and heritage in her quest to conform to her adoptive family’s expectations.

Despite the challenges she faced within her adoptive family, Raquel acknowledges the unwavering commitment her parents had towards her education. Overcoming language barriers through homeschooling, Raquel swiftly mastered English within six months and later transitioned to Ithaca High School for her sophomore year, drawn by the school’s diverse community.

Navigating the complexities of adolescence while wrestling with a disrupted sense of identity, Raquel found herself in a perpetual struggle to belong, compounded by the traumas and abuses she had endured.

At seventeen, Raquel took a leap of faith, venturing out on her own to carve her path in the world. Throughout the trials she encountered, her steadfast faith served as a beacon of strength, guiding her through life’s tumultuous waters and imbuing her with resilience in the face of adversity.

Now, at thirty-five, Raquel stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, juggling the roles of a mother to three daughters and a licensed cosmetologist. Her unwavering determination to overcome obstacles is encapsulated in her book, “[ppp1],” available on Amazon, where she shares her journey of triumph over adversity.

Raquel’s message resonates with those facing their own battles, urging them to persevere in the face of mental health challenges and self-doubt. Her story serves as a testament to the human spirit’s capacity for resilience and the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to pursue their dreams despite the odds.