Mother reunited with sons after 2 decades

OCEANSIDE — A mother’s love and technology reunited Oceanside resident Pam Smith Jimenez with her two sons after 23 years.
Jimenez was 21 when she left her home in Cypress, Calif., in February 1983 to spend Mardi Gras in Mazatlan. There she met Porfirio Aguayo through a friend. The couple corresponded for the next few months and married in Garden Grove in August. They settled in his mother’s home in Mazatlan. Porfirio Jr. was born Sept. 4, 1984.
“After his birth the marriage spiraled down,” Jimenez remembers. “My mother-in-law wanted to be in control of everything. In April 1985 I told my husband I couldn’t handle it anymore and wanted to go home. I got a visa for my son and arranged to have his godmother sneak us to the airport.”
When she received a call at her home in California that her husband was in a car accident and close to death she decided to take the risk and return to Mazatlan. Aguayo recuperated and the couple reconciled.
“I got pregnant with Adrian and it started all over again with the mother-in-law,” she said. “After he was born in February 1987 I explained that I wanted to move out and buy our own home. When my husband said we couldn’t afford it, I offered to return to California for six months to work and save money.”
The mother-in-law supported the idea, but Jimenez said she threatened to have her arrested if she attempted to take her grandchildren. While Aguayo remained on his job with Mexico’s federal electric commission, Jimenez returned home. She got a job as a cashier in the parking lot at LAX and began sending money to her husband as promised and toys to the children.
“When I called my husband his voice began to grow colder,” she said. “Then my mother-in-law began answering and saying that he was either at work, a meeting or the gym.”
Jimenez was afraid to travel to Mazatlan fearing her mother-in-law would follow through on her threat to have her arrested. In 1988 she filed for divorce and eventually married Sergio Jimenez. They had three daughters: Lauren, 22; Aurora, 20; and Tiffany, who is almost 18.
Her efforts to contact her sons over the years were fruitless.
“In 2002 I thought they might have a computer and tried to find them on MySpace,” she said. “I couldn’t find anything.”
Jimenez’s resolve intensified in May after being hospitalized with life-threatening blood clots.
“I still had no luck on MySpace,” she said. “I prayed for help.”
Then she searched her oldest son’s full name on Facebook. His page popped up immediately.
“I said, ‘Oh, my God. I can’t believe this,’” she remembers. “I wanted to make sure that it was him, so I looked closer and saw my maiden name ‘Smith’ at the end of his name. This is the custom in Mexico.”
Jimenez also found Adrian on Facebook. She contacted them both and received responses right away. In August she and her oldest daughter Lauren Jimenez flew to Mazatlan for a reunion.
“I was pretty nervous,” she said. “I wondered what they were going to think of me. As soon as we landed I started shaking hard.”
 Adrian Aguayo and his 4-year-old son, Angel, were the first to arrive at the hotel.
“When he opened the door he gave me the biggest hug and said, ‘Oh, I’m so glad to see you, Mom,’” she said. Son Porfirio arrived a short time later. Both men said they kept the toys their mother sent and her photo. They are planning a trip to visit Jiminez and their new family in Oceanside at Thanksgiving.
Lauren Jimenez is elated to discover her brothers.
“Having two sisters is good, but having two brothers who love me makes me feel protected,” she said.
Jimenez says it has been a life-altering experience.
“I feel like my life has changed in that I am more optimistic and empowered,” she said. “I told my sons, ‘I might not have been there for you for 23 years but if you need anything now I’m here for you till the day I die.’” 
Jimenez wants to help other families reconnect through the Internet. She can be contacted at psjim2007@gmail.com.

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