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Arlington Woman’s Mother Survives Japanese Quake

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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A car tire sits straight up in water over a land devastated by the tsunami in Sendai on March 13, 2011. (credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

A car tire sits straight up in water over a land devastated by the tsunami in Sendai on March 13, 2011. (credit: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – When Susan Morrison of Arlington pages through old photographs, some are fond and some are not.

Morrison thinks of her mother when she looks at a photo taken in 1955 in a Japanese courtroom. It was snapped during a hearing in which Morrison’s mother was forced to give up her child for adoption.

Morrison was born in Sendai. Her mother was single with no job and no means to support a family. So, when Morrison was 3-years-old, the court gave her to an American couple.

Now, fast-forward 56 years: “I got sick to my stomach. I slept 10, 12 hours on my day off,” Morrison said after watching endless news coverage of the earthquake and aftermath in Japan. I told Bob [husband] to turn it off. I can’t watch any more of it.”

Seeing her birthplace in ruins is painful enough.

“Oh my gosh! That’s Dallas’ sister city. That’s where I was born. It’s so beautiful there,” Morrison said.

But knowing that her mother hasn’t been heard from since the earthquake is simply devastating. “I didn’t want to think, is she okay or is she… you know. I just thought, we’ve got to find her,” Morrison said.

Morrison was reunited with her mother in 1997. “We held hands the whole time,” she said. “She just squeezed my hand and wouldn’t let go.” Mother and daughter have seen each other three times since 1997. They write letters every month to keep in touch.

Morrison’s mother, now 85, lives in a town called Haramachi, about 90 miles outside of Sendai. Morrison had been unable to contact her by phone. She said that not knowing was the hardest part. “She doesn’t have that much time left and you really don’t have to speak the same language,” Morrison said. “You know what’s going on with each other.”

It’s proof that not even a courtroom or the passage of time can break the bond between mother and daughter.

But Morrison found relief on Wednesday night, when a newspaper editor in Sendai said that he was able to contact Morrison’s mother on the phone. She and her cat are both okay, but the mother lives near a nuclear power plant. Morrison and her family are planning to raise money to help bring her mother to the United States.

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