Lani is a happy and proud mother of two lovely children, yet up until very recently, she has not been able to visit her kids in the almost four decades that had passed since their birth.
During the Vietnam War, Lani, who is originally from Thailand, became acquainted with an officer of the United States Air Force who was stationed there. They quickly realized how perfect a match they were for one other and decided to be married and relocate to Ohio together.
After afterwards, Lani gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter whom they called Jeannie. After some time, the couple relocated to Oxford, England, where they had a second baby girl, who they called Starla.
Unfortuitously, the couple’s marriage went through a tough patch, and two years later, they decided to divorce each other.
Lani, who did not speak English well, did not grasp the conditions of the divorce, and lost the rights to see her kids Jeannie and Starla had only just turned three and two when their parents split. Without their mother around, the daughters had a difficult time adjusting to adulthood.
Starla could not forget the question she had asked her father regarding Lani. “We had a lot of conversations with our dad regarding our mother, and he never once said anything negative to us about her.
He just said that she couldn’t speak English because she’s full-blooded Thai, and he said that she thought since we were American and he was in the military, he could take better care of us and provide us with a better life than she could,” says Starla.
It had been forty years since the girls and Lani had last seen one other, but their quest had been fruitless.Jeannie shared her thoughts, saying, “When I go back and think about everything, I believe he simply wanted to make it appear like he assisted.
He was either attempting to shield us from harm or was frozen with fear that he would be separated from his daughters: people usually claim that a story may be told from three different perspectives. It’s his side, it’s her side, and then there’s the truth.”
One day, Starla was surprised to see a message waiting for her on Facebook from a guy whose name was Mark Szarmach. Mark is Lani’s second husband, and he was attempting to assist Lani in the search for her girls.
Mark had a difficult time finding the girls because of the confusion caused by Lani’s thick Thai accent, so, the name “Jeannie” became “Jenny,” and the name “Starla” became “Stella.” Additionally, Lani’s first husband’s name, John Thompson, was such a common name that it contributed to the confusion.
After some time, he tracked out John’s obituary and learned the truth about the girls’ identities. Soon after, he started looking for the females, and he found a Facebook account belonging to someone named Jeannie Toomey.
After some time had passed, he was astounded to see an old photograph posted on the Facebook account, and he immediately rushed to inform his wife of the find.
“As I opened the photo, a photo of them when they were babies sprang out at me. I was taken aback by that, so i sprinted out of the bedroom and yelled for my significant other, “Honey, you have to come see this.” Mark explains, “I showed her the image, and all of a sudden she began crying.”
Starla, Jeannie, and their long-lost mother, Lani, were finally reunited with one another after a period of forty years during which they had been kept apart from one another.
They were beyond grateful that they got another opportunity to meet their mother again despite the fact that the reunion was quite upsetting for them.