At a time when we are physically distanced from one another, Cindy Skauge, LBSW, helped bring together a daughter and her birthmother.
Cindy works in Adoption Search and Disclosure for The Village Family Service Center and Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota. She helps adopted adults, birth siblings, and birth parents connect with each other and also provides non-identifying information to adopted adults who request it.
Recently, Cindy located a birthmother who had released her daughter for adoption more than 30 years ago. The daughter wanted to thank her birthmother for making her difficult decision, and to let her know she was happy and had a good upbringing in rural North Dakota. Her adoptive parents always supported her reaching out to her birthmother if she were ever curious about her past or family identity.
When her daughter was just days old, the birthmother wrote her a letter that was then given to the adoptive parents. They gave the letter to the daughter when she was young and since, she’s read that letter many times over.
Now it was the daughter’s turn to write her birthmother a letter.
“When I read her the letter, she immediately laughed and said, ‘We have so much in common!’” Cindy says. “Her daughter was pleased to hear it had been a positive call for her birthmother, and that she is open to getting to know her.”
The birthmother had thought about and prayed for her daughter over the years, and always hoped she’d be contacted. She didn’t feel like she could reach out, having relinquished her legal rights.
The pandemic created additional challenges to the search process. For example, a form to permit direct contact with each other had to be notarized. As the birthmother was under a statewide stay-at-home order, she needed to be creative in finding a notary.
“Both the adopted adult and her birthmother are looking forward to getting to know one another, and have determined that going slow will be a positive step forward, even with all the chaos going on around all of us,” Cindy says.
In the midst of the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic, her work gave both clients something more personal and positive to focus on.