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Updated on July 11, 2012

LEARNING TO ADAPT TO CHANGE - true story names have been changed

After Soonyea arrived with her one year old daughter to the United States, she married the soldier Private Tanner. Soonyea and Delphina learned of their family in law, some accepted them some did not. It was difficult living in the South where prejudice still existed. There were those that didn't believe in mixed marriages which caused a lot of stress on the new family. when Soonyea got here she found out three months later that she was pregnant with her second child. The way she found out was Private Tanner felt a pain in his mouth due to a cavity, he always got a pain in his mouth when he knew that Soonyea was pregnant. Since Soonyea did not know how to speak English she could only communicate with her husband which made it difficult for her to go any where so she stayed in their downtown apartment.

Since Soonyea came from a country that did not celebrate US customs she was unaware of a holiday that required children to dress up in costume and knock on doors for candy, Being newly in the United States she didn't know any one, so on this day a knock came at the door, she opened the door and started screaming when she saw the children in costume. The next door neighbor came over to calm her down as she was on the phone talking to Private Tanner. He got in the car immediately rushing home, the neighbor tried to explain to her what she just experienced but it was so hard for Soonyea to understand. She kept telling her husband in Korean I want to go home, I want to go home I don't like it here. But he calmed her down and told her it will be fine. So after several months there in that two bedroom apartment Private Tanner decided to buy a house near his family so that they can help keep an eye on his wife and kids.

After moving out of the apartment it was about time for the second baby to be born. It was one in the morning when he heard Soonyea say Yobo, hurry hurry, he gets the car and speeds to the hospital, as the doctor was examining her he told Private Tanner that we still have about two hours or so if you want to take your daughter to the baby sitter or something you will be ok with doing so. So Private Tanner took Delphina to her grandmother's house that was about thirty minutes away from the hospital so he had plenty of time to get back. Dr. Reaves knew she didn't speak English and he didn't speak Korean so he devised a plan to communicate with Soonyea. He tied a string around her index finger on her right hand and told her slowly "If you feel pain, pull this string." Of course she didn't understand a word he said, so once the doctor and nurses left her room Soonyea did what every curious person does, yes she pulled the string. All of a sudden they rushed into the delivery room gave her a dose of calming medicine because she was screaming in her language what are you doing. Finally, as Private Tanner arrived he realized something was wrong, he went to the nurses station and they said congratulations Mr. Tanner you have a beautiful baby girl. He said "What? I thought it was going to be an hour from now." The doctor said "Well its the baby who was in a hurry." After Soonyea woke up she saw the baby and the nurse said "Congratulations Mrs. Tanner you have a beautiful baby girl." Soonyea said "Oh no not again." The nurse said " Again?" Soonyea wanted a son because she already had a daughter.

When it was time to go home Mr. Tanner brought his mother who sat in the front seat, Soonyea and the baby sat in the back. Mr. Tanner was driving fast, Soonyea kept yelling slow down, he said it's ok we will be alright. Grandma Tanner said the same thing slow down but instead he kept driving fast, then he had to make a sudden stop because someone turned in front of him he slammed on the brakes so hard that 2 day old baby Susan flew out of her mother's arms to the front of the car. Grandma Tanner reached out and caught the baby before she could hit the dash. They both looked at him with anger and Grandma Tanner called him every name in the book. After they arrived home Susan and Soonyea went to sleep due to that ordeal. As the years went on Soonyea was a stay at home mom but Private Tanner worked full time and went to school at night. Private Tanner didn't want Soonyea to become friends with any one because he was afraid she was going to get corrupt by their way of thinking. She finally made friends with the next door neighbor Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, they had five children three girls and two boys. Mr. Roberts was the preacher of the church in the community and everyone that went to the church were family members of Mr. Tanner's and Mr. Roberts.

It was an old Southern Baptist church and Soonyea and her two daughters were the only non-black people in the church. After several months attending the church, finally the people were able to accept her and her family. It was difficult for the kids when they started going to school, the children in the community would throw rocks at the oldest daughter and call her names. Susan stayed home with her mom and as Soonyea was learning English and getting her citizenship she would take Susan with her. Susan was learning along with Soonyea and it made it so much easier for her when she started school. Delphina was having it rough in school where her father had to go to the school several times to talk to the principal and counselors to help protect his daughter and since his younger daughter will be attending soon he wanted to protect her as well.

When things change you have to learn to adapt to all changes, when Susan started school Soonyea only could sew or garden until the kids came back home but Private Tanner was having other plans. Private Tanner started hanging out with a motorcycle club, he met a woman and became friends with her. He would go out of town and spend so much time with her that he would neglect his wife and kids. He told his wife he had some work to go out of town for but instead he was going on a motorcycle trip with the club and take his new girlfriend, one of the women at the club knew his wife and asked him where is Soonyea isn't she coming with you? He said no and mind your own business. Sara went and told her husband, he told Private Tanner "Man now you know better than to bring another woman to an outing like this especially since we all know your wife. No man you can't come with us." Private Tanner said "Fine, and went to a hotel room instead." As the days went on Private Tanner got home from his weekend out and left his clothes in the laundry room for Soonyea to wash, she cleaned out his pockets before she washed the clothes and found the phone number of the woman he was with. After a few hours she finally got up the nerve to ask him who is Karen. He said a friend. She said was you with her this weekend? He said no, what are you talking about who told you that. After she yelled at him she ran next door to Mrs. Roberts house to talk to her but she found out that Mrs. Roberts also cheated on her husband and that her baby son was actually another mans child and not Mr. Roberts but he knew the child was not his but he accepted him any way. Soonyea didn't know what to do, she spoke to her mother-in-law and Grandma Tanner said well whatever you choose to do it's your choice but a man is going to be a man. Soonyea was so sad but she knew she couldn't live with a man that didn't want to be with her so they talked and finally agreed for Private Tanner to move out. The children were unaware of what was happening, finally after six months the divorce was final.

Soonyea did not work so she had to find employment and because she didn't know how to look for a job or fill out an application, her ex-husband decided to help her. She finally obtained employment as a factory worker and was able to take care of her two daughters. The child support was little a best and the wife support was nil. She continued to do the best she could as a mother. She finally received her citizenship and was able to learn English well enough to communicate but she relied on her older daughter Delphina for assistance when it came to writing. As she finally realized that she was on her own she found friends along the way that were always there for the kids and Soonyea. She again became the victor of her life. She overcame her inability to speak English, she overcame coming to a new country and she overcame her divorce. She is a survivor. Her life is a roller coaster, but her downs don't keep her there she always pushes forward.


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