Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
I entered this world as Mitsuru Shimabukuro. My mom, originally from Okinawa, gave birth to me in Tökyö when she was 16 years old. As a child herself, she was in no position to care for me. Reluctantly, she left me in the care of an orphanage, hoping to reclaim me later. That never happened, and I was sent to Hawai‘i, where I was adopted by Calvin and Ruth Wakai, who allowed me to rewrite my destiny and live the American Dream.
My life’s journey has been filled with anguish, mystery, hope and happiness. I was 5 years old when my parents told me that I was adopted, so I grew up knowing I was adopted. Still, it was my deepest secret. During my hanabata days, I viewed it as a “disability” and thought I would be bullied. But it was easy to hide because I looked like my adoptive parents. They treated me like their own child and I viewed them as my God-given parents.