My son (John) told me about a beautiful girl he met at work. He was quite taken with her, but shaken when she told him she was married! He explained to us that he had taken her to a movie, where she told him of her situation. She was around 20 years old and from Thailand. Her mother and stepfather had convinced her to marry an American who was in his mid-late forties. They had been married in the spring of 2001 and he brought her to Rochester about 6 months later. The marriage was not working out, she and her husband were not happy, and she needed to find a place of her own.
In her attempt to become independent she began to go to BOCES to learn better English, applied, and was hired to work at the clothing factory, where my son was a security guard. Her income was limited and she was concerned that she would lose her car, and didn't know where to look for housing.
My son brought her home a couple of times, initially. She was quiet, shy, and appeared insecure. John asked if I could help. I didn't want to be judgmental and tried to talk with her, to learn more about her situation. I was appalled that her mother would arrange a marriage like this and my heart went out to her. She was a young woman in a strange country, with few resources available to her, and she was understandably frightened.
I checked with the Outreach Committee at my church, but wasn't able to obtain information that could help. I took Jane to a couple of places in the area with subsidized housing, where she was placed on a waiting list. In the meantime, her husband was quite annoyed and anxious that she hadn't moved out yet, and was giving her a hard time. I spoke with him, convinced him to give her the car she was driving, and explained that I was interested in helping her. Because she worked days and he worked evenings/nights, her temporary situation was tolerable, until one day when he insisted she leave.
She and John came to me, quite worried, scared and concerned. That is when Kate moved into my daughter's old room, and became another daughter of mine. I grew to love and care about her very much. My husband was supportive and understood.
Shortly after she moved in with us, I learned that she had been raped the previous month by a young man who had given her a ride home from a friend's party. We sought medical care and subsequently established her with a doctor and dentist.
Jane's mother would call regularly and become quite angry because she expected Kate to send support money. Understandably, she became upset because her mother didn't seem concerned about her daughter's situation. I consoled and my heart broke when hers did. It was difficult for me to understand how Kate accepted her mother's antics; but she explained to me the strong Thai tradition of the importance instilled in her to honor her parent.
Over the course of the year or so, we obtained legal assistance and she was finally divorced. Later we obtained legal assistance for her as she went through the lengthy processes to obtain her green card.
Jane lived with Jack and me for almost 3 years. She became a family member. She enjoyed cooking and working on a vegetable garden. She and I enjoyed each other's company and would go shopping, etc. I taught her how to knit and we made several items (mostly scarves, ponchos and shawls) for family and friends. When I had surgery she helped care for me, sleeping on the couch while I slept in the recliner.
When she was, "more on her feet" and more confident, Jane eventually moved into subsidized housing. Unfortunately, her relationship with John became rocky. Although they cared for each other very much, they were not good for one another, and they broke up.
Around the time Jane and John broke up, she had changed jobs and had obtained a position at a plastics factory. She immediately began dating someone else, which hurt John immensely; especially when she learned she was pregnant with this new man in her life.
I was torn, and didn't want to betray my own biologic children, but knew that I still cared about Jane like a daughter; and again, experienced the unconditional love that a mother has for her child. So as any other mother, I keep an open place for my Jane; and have a beautiful new grandchild.
Jane's husband is a loving husband and father, from a warm and caring family.
Jane's biologic mother came from Thailand when K.C. was 3 days old and has helped care for her beautiful baby boy, while Jane and Casey go to work each day.
I am truly blessed, as we stay in contact. I have accepted Jane's mother's role and when anyone asks how I am related to Jane, I say, "I'm her American Mom."