If you are reading my blog for the first time, I’d suggest that you read The Worst Time of My Life post before reading this one. You will get a better picture of this whole situation.
Big Big Troubles:
One day I looked at my 12 year old daughter Kara and said to myself, “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you are pregnant.” I decided it was time to see our doc. They took her blood test and the doctor measured her stomach and turned to me and said she was six months pregnant. I almost fell off my chair.
Then they escorted me out the door so they could talk to Kara privately. I was not happy because Kara was only legally 12 years old. I did understand they thought that Kara was afraid to tell me, when in reality, she didn’t even know she was pregnant. She never understood what she was feeling when the baby moved until we told her what to expect.
My newly adopted daughter, Kim was not happy, that was obvious. She began acting out and causing disruptions in the house. Everything finally came to a screeching halt, when she almost burned our house down. The fire scorched the kitchen drapes, but I caught it before anything else went up in flames.
I sat Kim down and discussed what we had to do. Kim told me that Kara was a brat and hated me. I explained that even though that may be true, Kara had been with me for over two years and that I was committed to raising her.
I called Laura, my social worker and explained the situation. I didn’t want to disrupt Kim’s adoption, but Kara’s situation was too critical for me to ignore. Laura agreed the placement couldn’t continue.
Laura and I took Kim to the airport. I could not believe I was disrupting an adoption I had worked so hard to complete. I was broken hearted and devastated, but I knew it was in Kim’s best interest to be away from Kara’s issues.
Laura assured me I had made the best of a bad situation and that Kim didn’t need to go through what was likely to be a very emotional time. At the time, I didn’t know how tough Kara’s situation would become. Hindsight shows how important it was that Kim not have to deal with the episode in the hospital.
Kara and I became close while we waited for her baby to be born. We discussed where the baby should go.
I knew Kara didn’t have the capacity to care for an infant and I had to work to support us. I felt adoption would be best, so I contacted the Children’s Service Society the private agency that first approved me for adoption. They worked with us to find a good home for the baby.
Because I knew how difficult it was to raise a child, we requested a mom and dad with one stay-at-home parent and that they be located out of state because I had been very active in the adoptive parent group here in Utah. cssutah.org
We placed Kara in a school program for unwed mothers. There, she was with other teenage mothers and could interact with them. It also helped her educationally.
The school wanted me to press Kara to tell me who the father was. I felt that prying the father’s name out of her was a waste of time. Six months had passed and all I was concerned about was getting through the delivery and placing the child for adoption.
We made it through Christmas that year with just a small bump in the road. Our furnace went out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fell on Sunday, so nothing was open.
We had to go to my sister’s home to spend the holiday, so I packed up Kara and our two cats and we spent a very nice time with my sister’s family. Kara and I slept on the couch, the cats were going crazy – my sister’s cat tried to kill my senior cat so we were awake most of the night.
The first week in January, 1983, Kara began having contractions. Finally on the morning of the 7th, I took her to the hospital at 2:00am. By 9:00am the contractions were coming hard, so they gave her something for the pain, I have no idea what, but it was enough to allow her to get some rest.
The baby was born about 3:00pm. I stayed with Kara until about 5:00pm and went home, took a short nap, ate, and went back to the hospital until visiting hours were over at 10:00pm.
I went home, dropped into bed, absolutely exhausted. Then the PHONE RANG. (If you didn’t read read THE WORST TIME OF MY LIFE post 1, now is a good time to look it up.)
My life and Kara’s would never be the same. Without the support of my family and Tom, our attorney, we would never have made it through the next year and a half.
When the news broke about the rape, I learned who my friends were. Most didn’t know what to say or do, only a couple of families in the adoptive parent group called and asked if they could be of help. I really appreciated their gestures, even if there wasn’t anything they could do but listen.
Once the immediate shock of the rape was over, Kara still had the emotional trauma of signing relinquishment papers and placing the baby for adoption. I knew enough about the adoption laws of Utah to know that the only person who could sign the papers was the birth mother.
I was angered that the social worker would not let me accompany Kara to the agency office. She had just been through a trauma with the rape and now she was going to go through more trauma placing her child. I felt she needed my support, but I wasn’t allowed to give it.
I think Kara resented the fact that I wasn’t with her for the paperwork signing and I didn’t blame her for this. I believe the social worker was not very sympathetic to the whole situation. When I became an adoption social worker, I allowed anyone the birth mother wanted to observe the signing of the relinquishment paperwork.
Life Goes On:
After a couple of weeks, Kara returned to junior high school. What a joke that was! The Utah Studies teacher had me doing her homework. I’m a longtime history buff and Kara had a higher grade on her homework than any other child in the class. Other than that class, she was struggling with everything else.
While Kara was getting used to 7th grade, she reported that she kept running into the police officer that had taken us to the other hospital for the rape kit. She really didn’t know why.
I asked her if he talked to her at all. “Oh sure,” she said. “He wanted to know if I had a boy friend.” She said “What did you tell him?” I asked. She told him, “I used to but not now.” I became a bit worried about what this cop wanted.
I called our attorney, Tom and discussed the situation with him. Tom said it sounded like the police were investigating her. I was so angry.
I wanted her out of public school. My parents suggested we try a private Christian school. I located one across town. They agreed to take her and she began to get the right education she needed.
The most amusing episode for the whole year happened when the boys at the Christian school found a garter snake and threw it into the girls’ restroom. Of course, all the girls and some of the teachers began screaming, all that is except Kara. She marched into the restroom, picked up the snake and took it to the wooded area behind the school.
She was the only person in the whole school that knew the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Growing up in India with all those poisonous snakes did have some benefits.
Our lawyer filed the lawsuit against the hospital. Because he felt it would be important that we get Kara counseling, he spoke to the Primary Children’s Hospital and they accepted us for their counseling service and would accept payment after the lawsuit was settled.
We would go to counseling once a week for the rest of 1983 and all of 1984. The sessions helped me deal with all the emotions and day in and day out struggles to keep us going; I don’t think Kara was getting much out of her time with our counselor.
The thing I did learn about counseling kids with traumatic histories is that the kids do not trust adults. They do not believe that adults can help them recover. Basically, they do not want anything to do with talking about their past.
Because of all the paperwork, trips to doctors and counselors, I couldn’t work full time. My employer was very understanding, but he needed a full time secretary. He kept me on until I could find a flexible part time position.
I utilized community services and my parents filled in the gaps and helped with my house payments. There were many times I cried myself to sleep.
The years 1983 and parts of 1984 were mostly a blur. It’s amazing what you can go through and survive.
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