Please be advised that the following story deals with issues of abuse and molestation.
Back in 1998, Guadalupe fled Mexico and her abusive husband. She wanted a better life for her children, Adriana and Javier, and knew the only way to achieve one was to escape the domestic violence she was forced to endure for years. She moved in with her sister, who lived in Indianapolis, and took two jobs so that she could eventually save enough money to get her own place. While she was at work, her sister cared for her children. Education was important to Guadalupe, and she raised her children to believe that God cared for them in spite of the hardships they faced in their lives.
After some time, Guadalupe was able to afford her own apartment with her children. Their lives were filled with extended family, barbecues, and birthdays. Especially taken with Guadalupe was her sister’s brother-in-law, Pedro*. Pedro pursued Guadalupe, though she was hesitant to start a relationship with him for fear of what happened to her back in Mexico. She took things slowly. After dating for several years, Guadalupe saw how much her children adored Pedro. She was happy that Adriana, now 6, and Javier, now 4, would have a father again. And so, Pedro and Guadalupe were married and he moved in with them.
But Pedro was not the man he pretended to be. When Adriana was just 10 years old, Pedro molested and impregnated her. Adriana, so young, did not understand what had happened to her. She says, “I think that I was so shocked, confused, and scared that my memory went dead.” Not until several months later, when Adriana began to show, did Guadalupe discover what happened. She contacted the police. Pedro was eventually caught and confessed to his crime. Currently, he is serving a life sentence.
The transition during this time was hard for the children. Guadalupe says, “My daughter felt guilty when she saw her little brother crying for Pedro. The young boy wanted Pedro to return home because to him he was like a father and he loved him. He did not understand what had happened and for me it was double pain to see my two children suffer because of this tragedy.” In the ensuing months, Guadalupe and her children clung to one another and to their faith—their love and compassion for one another was characterized by newfound strength.
Child Protective Services, who carefully investigated everything that happened, recommended the family put Adriana’s baby up for adoption. Instead, Adriana and Guadalupe chose to keep the baby. They wanted this little innocent child to grow up safe and protected with them.
Throughout these hardships, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic has worked closely with the family to obtain immigration relief. But the process, arduous and slow, has finally come to a close. Just this past month, our staff was able to call them with the good news: all three family members—Guadalupe, Adriana, and Javier—were approved for Legal Permanent Residence.
Their lives, at times marked by trauma, were not broken by it. Now a young woman, Adriana is studying Child Development in college and hopes to work with child molestation victims once she graduates. Her brother is also in school, and her mother, Guadalupe, faithfully cares for her grandchild. She tells us she and her children survived everything that happened to them by the grace of God, and that she knew He would not let her travel so far from her home only to find despair.
*Names have been changed