A mother’s love for her child knows no boundaries.
When Nobue Ouchi of Shizuoka, Japan, was just 19, she fell in love with an American soldier. The two planned to marry, but before they could, the soldier was shipped out without notice. Nobue was beyond upset. When the soldier tried to call her a few months later, she was so mad that she didn’t want to talk to him.
The soldier didn’t know that Nobue was pregnant at the time.
Her father told Nobue that she could keep the baby and that he would support them both. She wanted her baby to have a better life, so she made the heart-wrenching choice to give him up for adoption.
Edward and Eleanor Hollywood were stationed in Japan with the United States Air Force. They were happy to take the baby boy. They named him Bruce and raised him as their own. Still, Bruce knew that something about him was different. He explained:
“I always knew I was adopted because I had Asian features and [my father] was an Irishman and [my mother] was a Norwegian lady. And they always told me, ‘We picked you out special. So, you’re even more special than everyone else.’”
Bruce had a great life with his adoptive family, but he always dreamed of returning to Japan to find his birth mother.
He wanted to tell her about his life and let her know that he was doing well and that she had given him to an amazing family. Bruce became a colonel in the Air Force. His parents told him the name of his birth mother, and he planned to travel to Japan to find her.
Bruce sent the name of his mother to the Japanese Embassy and hired a private detective.
He never heard anything back. Then one day, he was on a plane next to Admiral Harris, who also had a Japanese mother. Harris told Hollywood that he could help him.
“He said, ‘Bruce, I can help you.’ And I said, ‘You know what, you’re an admiral and all, but you can’t. I’ve been to the embassy. I’ve tried this, and you just can’t help any.’”
It was just 10 days later that Hollywood received a phone call from the Japanese Embassy.
The voice on the phone said:
“Colonel Hollywood we’re really pleased to tell you that we found your mother, Nobue Ouchi.”
“Oh my gosh, this is wonderful. You’ve got to help me start writing this letter. And I want it to be accurate, and I want it to be culturally sensitive. And you’ve got to help me.”
The embassy staff member responded:
“There’s not going to be a letter. She’s going to call you at this phone number in 10 minutes, and she doesn’t speak English. Good luck!”
Hollywood quickly found a translator and the call came right on time.
The two had a great conversation with the help of a translator, and his mother was finally able to tell him why she had given him up for adoption.
She also told him that the next day was her 65th birthday and she had gotten the present she had always hoped for. Nobue never married, and the translator explained:
“Because she said in her heart there was only room for one man. And it was you, and she knew you would be back.”
The translator also told him that Nobue owned and operated a restaurant in Japan and called it Bruce.
She had named it after the son she never knew. Bruce’s adoptive mother had sent his birth mother a letter a short time after the adoption, along with a photo and the name of the baby. Nobue chose to name her restaurant after him.
Bruce traveled to Japan and met his mother. Sadly, she passed away just three years after they were reunited. Bruce is happy to have met her and said that doing so helped him learn more about his Japanese heritage. He said:
The last 12 years, I finally became a Japanese-American. Before that, I had no Japanese-American identity. I just had Japanese-American features. … But as I got integrated into this community, I ended up becoming incredibly proud of this heritage that I had.”
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Source: Inspire More