Hachioji, JAPAN – Yoko Sakamoto remembers well the prejudice she faced as a foster mother.
She and her husband, Koichi, who were childless, decided to expand their family by welcoming foster children. But when their first son had major problems in elementary school, the criticism started.
Some parents whispered about the different family names. One waited for the boy after school and slapped him for the “nuisance” he caused. Even Mrs. Sakamoto’s own parents criticized the decision. “We were facing a fierce storm of discrimination,” she says.
When the Sakamotos let their son skip school because of stress, officials removed him, sending him to institutional care.
But the couple didn’t give up. Today, their home in this quiet Tokyo suburb reverberates with the energy of five children, ages 4 to 15. And the government is looking for more people like them.