Meet: Tom Bratvold, LCS Northwest Donor
This post is our latest entry in the Centennial Series. It features donor Tom Bratvold of Spokane. An adoptee, Tom found his forever family through Lutheran Community Services Northwest.
Tom Bratvold’s story with LCS Northwest began before he was born.
After a difficult pregnancy with their second child, doctors told Tom’s parents that they wouldn’t be able to have any more children. As hardworking and devoted parents, they raised their two children and sent them to elementary school before Tom’s mother returned to her job as a schoolteacher.
In the late 1960s, Tom’s parents felt a strong call to grow their family, so they looked into adoption.
“It was the tie through their church and their faith that brought them to Lutheran Community Services to try to find a child,” Tom said. “And in 1968, they adopted me out of Seattle.”
Tom reflects fondly on his childhood, recalling how his parents’ appreciated LCS Northwest for helping them grow their family. It inspired them to raise their children with a spirit of generosity.
“Lutheran Community Services was always a big part of my mother’s appreciation,” he said. “The Lutheran faith was a big part of my childhood, and it was important for my parents for their whole lives.”
After their children grew into adults, Tom’s parents retired and moved to Coeur d’alene, Idaho, where they became deeply involved with LCS Northwest’s Spokane office. They attended the Chocolate & Champagne Gala and eagerly followed the work LCS Northwest was doing to serve Spokane-area families.
To show their appreciation for the agency’s role in their family, they decided to pay it forward by investing in a child therapy room in memory of Tom’s late paternal grandmother. But when Tom’s mother passed away, they wanted to double their impact on the next generation.
“Lutheran Community Services meant so much to my mom and to our family,” Tom said. “I think in her mind, giving was paying it back, but in the process of paying it back and showing her appreciation and thankfulness, it really became paying it forward for the next generations — in parent counseling, in child therapy, in counseling or in trying to hold a family network together that may be in crisis or trouble. Family was everything to my mom.”
Tom is deeply thankful for the role LCS Northwest has played in his family’s story.
“It’s humbling that the agency brought me to my family,” he said. “ I certainly was blessed in the home that I ended up in, and LCS Northwest was the facilitator that connected an infant in need of a family with parents who wanted to grow theirs.”
Read more from the Centennial Series.