Inspired Family: Maria’s Quest for Family Unity

Paseos   y convivios 020By Taylor Putz

An Inspired Family can come from anywhere, consist of different races, religions and ideals.  An Inspired Family needn’t look like your own family to inspire the best in your family.  When we read Maria, and her family’s story, we were inspired by her sheer determination and dedication to making life better for her children.

“Maria’s story begins in Naco, Sonora, Mexico where she currently lives, but does not consider home.  South Carolina is her true home where the majority of her family lives and where she previously lived.  Maria’s husband left her and her children over twenty years ago. Knowing that it would be difficult to support her four children alone in Mexico, she sought the advice from an American doctor working in Naco.  The doctor suggested that Maria leave Mexico and live in the United States for a few years in order to make money to send back to Mexico for her children.  Maria, desperate to ensure her children would have a good life, made her journey by plane to South Carolina.

Maria was driven by her determination to provide a good life for her children in Mexico. After mastering one job while improving her English, she moved from working at a laundromat to cleaning houses and eventually working at Taco Bell.  While at Taco Bell, she was promoted and had duties similar to those of a manager like scheduling employees to work.  From her earnings, her children received money in Mexico.  However, something was missing.  Maria could not fulfill her role as a mother by only sending money to her children accompanied by frequent phone conversations.

The physical distance between mother and children began to impact her son’s behavior in Mexico.  He became uneasy without the care of Maria and began to get in trouble at school and in the community. Maria and her family in Mexico decided that her son should join her in South Carolina.  Eventually, all four of her children joined her in the United States, learned English, enrolled in school, and created their own families in South Carolina. Maria is now more than a mother; she is a grandmother to US citizens.

Maria realized after her children moved to live with her in the United States that she would be staying longer than she originally intended.  She saw no reason to return to Mexico.  As a result, Maria began completing necessary paper work to become a citizen of the United States, a process that was easier and considered more tangible before September 11, 2001. She was assured that her paperwork was moving along smoothly but after September 11 when border security was increased, Maria stopped receiving updates on her citizenship status.

With the tightening of security, Maria was forced to return to Mexico; although she obviously did not pose a threat and was certainly a contributing member of her community.    Maria did not know where to go in Mexico because she no longer had ties to the country and her life was turned upside down. To illustrate this, her two children who still live in the United States send her money because there are few jobs in Naco, Sonora; not unlike how she used to send them money.  Her family has once again been physically torn apart by finances and borders.

Maria’s role as a mother and a grandmother is the core tenant of her life.  She is inspiring because she fights even in the face of the largest obstacles. Today, Maria is working with an immigration lawyer in order to return to the United States and be reunited with her family, once again. “

We are inspired by Maria’s quest for a better life for her family and honor the struggles she continues to overcome in search of family unity.

Taylor Putz, a graduate of Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and community organizer, met Maria in March 2013 during his journey to debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding immigration reform by spending a week on the US-Mexican border collecting stories of migrants and volunteers for an independent study project. Taylor believes in the stories of the people to shape the minds and hearts of people that lead to positive social change.

 

 

 

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