Despite that, something was missing. “All of my life, I’ve had a feeling I didn’t quite fit in, no matter how much I achieved,” she said. “There’s always been this little space in me that never felt like home was home.” She wondered about the mother she never knew. There were so many questions and so few answers. She searched, but every inquiry left her hopelessly empty-handed. Eventually, Wendy’s dream of meeting her birth mother dimmed.
That changed last October when a letter arrived from ISS – the organization that had arranged the adoption. Wendy’s heart raced as she envisioned a reunion with her mother and “an opportunity to complete something missing in me.”
Those hopes were crushed when Wendy’s cousin, Yoshimi, wrote “Your mother passed away in 2001.” Shock and sadness slowly gave way to the letter’s purpose. There was a bank account that only Wendy could access, and ISS-Japan was asked to find Kazuko’s long lost daughter.
International family tracings are an important part of the ISS mission. “There can be many dead ends, but there are also some wonderfully rewarding outcomes,” says Susan Oslund, ISS-USA’s international Social Work Supervisor. Such was the case with Wendy.