He searched for her for 50 long years.
It was tiresome, frustrating, even scary to not know what he would find but Charles Bruce Pate continued the hunt.
Finally, in 2014, his search was over and he was able to lay his eyes on that woman he had been searching for. That woman he wanted to hug and kiss all those years.
At 73-years old, Bruce finally met Pauline Lott, his birth mother.
Pauline gave birth to Bruce when she was only 15 years old. Scared, unsure and with no idea how to raise a child on her own, she was left with no choice but to give him away to someone who could take good care of him and give him the life she couldn’t.
Jessica Bliss from The Tennessean recounted Pauline’s story:
“She cared for him until his adoption date. She said she dressed him in a little blue suit and blue cap and prepared him for prospective parents…
There were three boys up for adoption that day, and Bruce Pate’s future parents, who rode to Jackson, on a Greyhound Bus, chose the dark-eyed boy in blue.”
When she handed her little boy to the new parents, she had only one request – for them to keep the name she had bestowed on their new bundle of joy, which they gladly honored.
Years would pass and she would always think of that boy she gave away all those years ago.
What she didn’t know is that her son longed to know her too.
When Bruce took up his adoption documents in 1964 when he got married, he kept the name of his birth mother and began his tireless search, which saw him read obituaries in fearful anticipation of a name he wished not to see in print and even to his mother’s hometown numerous times.
But he never gave up.
Until a friend directed him to the website Ancestry.com and he finally stumbled upon a family tree created by Pauline’s nephew.
At 88-years old, Pauline finally saw and hugged the boy he gave away.
According to Bruce, “It helps me to know who I am now, where I came from… I don’t know what I did when I didn’t know her.”
Bruce’s adoptive parents have been supportive through his journey and now that he has made a connection with his birth mother, he says he has the “best of both worlds.”