My adopted parents told me that a policeman found me on a street corner in Tokyo, Japan, and that I told him I was waiting for my mama to come back to get me. I don’t know how long he waited with me on that corner, but I ended up in a Catholic-run orphanage and never saw Mama again.
Wonderment (as expected) has been present throughout my life: when I joined the navy and couldn’t provide a birth certificate and every time I see a new doctor and they ask about my family medical history. Every year when I legally turn one year older, I wonder when my real birthday is. And exactly where was I born? I think that as with most adopted children, the question that haunts me most is why? Was I such a terrible little boy that neither my mother nor father wanted to put up with me? And knowing how much the Asian culture desires sons, why didn’t my parents want me anymore? Was it because I was so small they figured I wouldn’t be of much help on the farm, and I would only be another mouth to feed? My adopted mother told me that my dialect was that of someone who lived in the country, probably on a farm. I’ve probably seen too many movies, but to this day, I can picture Mama putting up a good front while taking me into the city, finding a busy street where no one would notice what she was doing, then telling me to be a good boy and that she would be back to get me. And as she turned away, walking slowly at first so as not to create a scene or possibly having a change of heart but then running and weeping harder and harder, the farther she got from me.
As I journey through the last half of my life, I would like to know if I have any siblings or relatives that I can someday arrange to meet. I hope that my mom is still alive, and I hope that she’s wondered about the son she left on that street corner. If not, in a way, this is probably just as much for me as it is for her.
I wonder if Mom ever went back to that corner and replayed those memories in her head or if she avoids it at all cost. I think I turned out a pretty good person, so I want to let my mom know the person I turned out to be and my journey getting here.
This is the story of my life to my mom.