Throughout her childhood, Cate always struggled to find food – she remembers being constantly hungry. Many years later when she started a family of her own, she realized that the same hardships she faced as a child would unfortunately be the same for her two daughters. Hoping to end this cycle she left the country with her oldest daughter by her side.
When Cate arrived in China in 2009 she was solely focused on making quick cash so that she could return to North Korea and bring her youngest daughter out. However, this never happened. Instead Cate was sold to a Chinese man, whom she resented, and was immediately separated from her older daughter as well. During this time, she managed to find a way to keep in touch with her younger daughter but then eventually lost contact. Over two years later, Cate found an opportunity to escape China through LiNK but was not able to reconnect with her daughters before leaving.
Cate is a spirited, 41 year-old woman with beautiful hair, but it is apparent that she cannot hide her sorrow when she thinks about her daughters. Like others who have separated from family, she feels tormented by thoughts of not knowing where they are or how they are doing. She believes that her older daughter is still in China and has been trafficked, while she fears her younger daughter in North Korea may think she has been abandoned.
Cate hopes to go the U.S. to join her relative who has already resettled there. She is currently in LiNK’s transitional shelter and spends her time studying, reading, and exercising. She enjoys learning and is trying to use this time to prepare for her future. Cate remains positive and hopeful because she believes that she will indeed be reunited with her daughters one day.
UPDATE: May 2013
Cate resettled in the US! When she stepped out of the terminal at the airport and saw her relative for the first time in years, they both wept tears of happiness. These days Cate spends her time working at her relative’s store or taking care of her nephew. At the store, Cate has learned new skills, such as using a cash register and making American food. She wishes she could learn more English to interact with customers so when she has the time, she watches American dramas or movies. Life in the United States hasn’t been easy, but Cate hopes to adjust quickly and prepare for the day she can see her daughters again.
UPDATE: February 28, 2014
After months of practicing, Cate finally passed her driver’s exam. She is ecstatic that her hard efforts have paid off and that she will be able to drive to and from work now.