My first love wasn’t a 6’2’’ gorgeous college student. My first love was my mom.
I remember when I wanted to drop out of college to pursue my passion—hair! (So gay, I know.) She supported me because she, too, took the unbeaten path, marrying outside of her ethnicity over 25 years ago. I’m now working at a top salon in Beverly Hills, and she’s still happily married.
She’s a role model to parents with children, biological or otherwise. You see, we’re not related by blood. I was adopted when I was 5 1/2 months old, but she has loved me since then as if I were her own. When I was a child, she also volunteered at our local hospital in geriatrics, every day, helping people she never knew.
My mom, just one person as she may be, is an inspiration. Hopefully our story can inspire others to be proud of who they are and celebrate our differences. In today’s world of conflict and discrimination, we could always use a story of acceptance and love. Christopher Tanaka in West Hollywood, CA “We bonded from the second he was handed to me as a baby,” Amy says of the day she picked up Chris from his Korea-to-America flight. “He held my finger so tightly while looking up to me. I knew that we were both home.”
While Chris doesn’t remember that day (being an infant and all), he couldn’t agree more. “I’ve never known my biological mother, but I’ve always known a mother’s love,” Chris affirms. “Being different, being adopted—we’ve learned together that both are something to be celebrated in their own way.”
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Their bond together as mother and son has always been as unconventional as it is strong. “I remember the day I came out to her,” Chris says. “It was the day after prom. I skipped the hoopla and spent it with my then-boyfriend. My mom didn’t know.” Or so he thought. “I had an intuition!” Amy explains. “So I called around, and when I found out he wasn’t where he said he was, I knew something was up.”
That night, Chris came clean about his sexuality. After hugs, tears and her full acceptance, Amy’s next words became immortal. “Chris, I’ll love you no matter what, but you are so grounded. Not because you’re gay, because you lied to me.” They still laugh about that quote.
“My mom never lets others dictate how to live life,” Chris says proudly. “She adopted an Asian baby; she accepted my sexuality all in stride. I would never have the strength to be comfortable in my own skin if she hadn’t shown me how.”
If you would like to nominate your mom (or dad), send an e-mail to
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