Monica Bauer finds her family – Cristina DC Pastor

New York ? She strode into Elvie?s on First Avenue, this hefty American woman with long blonde hair, and headed straight for the owner behind the cash register, bussed her on both cheeks and then scanned the eskaparate to order monggo and sinigang with mainit na sabaw.

Monica Bauer, a cardiothoracic step-down nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital, member of the Gabriela Coalition, and multi-media artist has just affirmed her ?Filipino-ness.?

More than that, she has adopted two girls in the Philippines and is sending them to school. One of them, Aillene, 23, has just finished nursing and her travel papers are pending with Immigration. Monica wants to make sure she gets to New York so she can find Aillene a job at Mt. Sinai or any hospital that would give her a good job. The younger, named after Monica, is all of 11 years, a shy but Math-crazy schoolgirl.

?Yes, I?m their ninang,? Monica proudly declared.