Dear Aunt Dora
My husband and I are in our thirties and happily married for the last 12 years. We are both green card holders and blessed with good jobs. We have one son, aged 11.
My mother-in-law, 65, came to visit us from rural Kenya 6 months ago but she has refused to go back home. She was only supposed to stay for two weeks and go back to her ailing husband but now she has camped at our house forever.
She has threatened to strip naked if we bring up the topic of her return again.
All she does is eat, go to the toilet, watch television and laugh very loudly. This permanent guest makes long distance calls at home all day and we have to pay her bills. She keeps ridiculing our son for not speaking our mother tongue.
This woman has gotten on my last nerve. My house is not a hotel. Should I report her to immigration so she can be deported?
Frustrated wife, Texas.
Dear frustrated wife,
Thanks for sharing your problem with Aunt Dora.
Keeping such serious problems to yourself can result in depression, other forms of mental health and high blood pressure.
First, let me correct you. Please show some respect to your mother in law and stop calling her that woman. Would you call your own mother, “this woman?” Remember that she gave birth to your husband and she deserves respect.
What is the situation back home that may make her not want to go back? Is your father-in -law beating her? Did he recently re-marry a young woman?
Please try and be more understanding and your mother-in-law may open up to you and explain why she loves staying with you that much.
Instead of reporting her to immigration, you can use the available resources and apply for her to be a citizen. About your son, there is nothing wrong with him learning a second language.
Remember, the laws that bound you to Kenyan intricacies of tradition and protocol are significantly loosened on U.S. soil. Your mother in law has found her freedom, find yours and join in the laughter!
Note: Aunt Dora has a Masters Degree in Psychology from Villanova University, USA