Sometime in early 1984, the lawsuit was supposedly settled. The judge was someone who liked to throw his weight around and held up distributing the funds for several months because he insisted that it was Kara’s money and needed to be in a trust fund with a bank trustee making sure I didn’t see any of the funds.
We were poor and eating off my parents, but that didn’t matter. I sold my home and we moved into an apartment so we could survive.
I’m not a patient person. I think I mentioned that before. When the judge wouldn’t release Kara’s money and I felt my attorney wasn’t doing his job, I wrote a letter to the judge.
No one told me Judges didn’t like that. Our attorney had apoplexy and told me I wasn’t supposed to do that, but I really didn’t care. The judge got off his butt and did his job and we were given some funds.
Most of the money went into a trust fund for Kara. She could only access it for personal needs. The worst part of her knowing about that trust fund was that she was very indiscriminate about who she told.
Around about February 1984, Kara’s counselor pulled me aside and explained that Kara wasn’t benefiting from the one-on-one counseling. She suggested that Kara might do better in a group of teenage girls.
I agreed that kids her age might be good and we set her up for the next group meeting. Kara did better in the group and finally opened up what happened in India.
Kara has had so much trauma in her life beginning in India and continuing there in Utah. Because she didn’t want to tell me anything of her past for so many years, I had no way to help her until it was too late.
The teenage girls’ group helped Kara come to grips with her past. We finally found out about most of her life before she was adopted and it was really tragic.
Her Indian name was Fugalesi, not Nomi. She picked Nomi which means “to pray” when she was arrested in Calcutta. She was born near Chittagong, which is now in Bangladesh. That town was hit by a major Typhoon in 1970 (the year she was supposedly born).
Kara remembered this big storm because so many people died in it. Her mother was so devastated by what happened to several family members that she committed suicide by hanging herself. Kara had the misfortune of discovering the body.
While her whole family and their friends were grieving, Kara was sent away and felt sad because she didn’t know what was happening. When her father came and brought her back, he said he was so sorry and took her to bed with him. (She wouldn’t tell me what went on in that bed, but I had my suspicions and so did our counselor.)
Sometime in 1979, Kara’s father remarried. Her new step-mother kicked Kara out of her father’s bed. Kara really hated this person.
One day Kara and her step-mom had a major argument with each one threatening to kill the other. Her step-mother threatened Kara with a knife and Kara struck her with a rock. The situation was so dire, Kara felt the only thing she could do was run away.
Kara caught a train and landed in Calcutta. She had no money and no food. She was fairly good at stealing from the markets in Chittagong, so she stole from a couple of vendors in Calcutta and was arrested.
Because all the orphanages were full, she was thrown into jail. When she was arrested, the authorities tried to get her to tell them her name. She refused, so they gave her a choice of a name; she chose “Nomi.”
She was placed in an open cell with about 20 to 25 girls of all ages. Most of the girls were sexually abused by the guards, Kara was one of them.
We tried to do our best to help her deal with all the trauma in her life. I don’t think either myself or our counselor did a great job of helping her understand she didn’t need to continue to be a victim.
One day our counselor asked me what I wanted to do for myself. I replied that I had always wanted to go to college, but definitely couldn’t afford to do that. The counselor said have you not heard about Student Loans?
What in the heck were Student Loans? I soon found out. My choice of schools were the University of Utah, Westminster College or Salt Lake Community College. I chose Westminster College because of the size (small) and they took older students and offered a course where previous skills could be converted into credit hours.
I started college in the summer term. May-July 1984. I was in my element. This was the start of something big for me. I had 3 classes: a Death and Dying course; a Beginning Algebra course; and an Art course. I had a great time.
When we moved into the apartment complex, we met our next door neighbor, Perry and his son Tim who was 8 years old. It started out smoothly. We spent April in chairs outdoors in the evenings. Kara and Perry became good friends. They would play catch and Frisbee with Tim.
Perry took us all to Lagoon Fair Park and we had a great time. The kids were wired and screaming at the top of their lungs. Perry and I were starting to like each other and anyone could tell that our relationship was beginning to develop into something serious. I really enjoyed his company.
Through the next couple of months, Perry, the kids and myself went out frequently and spent many a pleasant night together. Things were going along well and I felt something might come of this relationship.
Kara asked me one day if I was falling in love with Perry. I smiled and said yes. Then she asked me if he asked me, would I marry him. I said that I would consider it and probably say “Yes.” She then said she was going next door and play with Tim if he was available.
She came back about 20 minutes later and went to her room. A few minutes later there was a knock on my door and when I answered it, there stood Perry. He was visibly upset. It seems Kara had attacked him by punching him and screaming at him for no reason that he could think of. Even though I knew why, I couldn’t tell him. We never went out again or had any more pleasant evenings.
Perry moved out shortly after this and I cried. There was nothing I could do except continue to parent a child whose behaviors were never easy for me to deal with.
A few days after Perry moved out Kara was picked up for trying to steal a $2 necklace and a pen from a Fred Meyer store a couple of blocks from our apartment. We had to go to court and the judge condemned me because I didn’t love her enough.
Now Judges don’t terrorize me and I told him he really didn’t know our situation and had no right to say that to me. And, I exited the courtroom stage left!
Before school began in the fall, Myra, Steve, Kara and I made a short trip to Jensen, Utah where Myra’s friend Mae lived. We visited the petroglyphs in the area. Kara began to show significant hyperactivity. She threw a cricket in my hair while we were in the canyon – not pleasant, that cricket was 2 inches long.
I tried my best to calm her down, but nothing seemed to be working. Later in the day, I was still trying to reach her and she turned on me and knocked me to the ground. I felt I was losing control of my life, but had to go on with our lives.
Because of my schedule, I couldn’t get Kara to the school in eastern Salt Lake City every day. I decided to enroll her in a similar school in Magna, Utah that she could take a bus to and back home. She seemed to enjoy it a bit better. Through the fall she didn’t give me too many problems for which I was grateful.
About two weeks before Christmas 1984, she and I went to a Keyhole store at the mall because I was looking for gifts for our adoptive parent Christmas party. While I was looking at what the store had, Kara was flirting with a cute, blond-haired boy, whose name was Johnny.
This was one of those “Some Enchanted Evening” moments. Johnny got Kara’s phone number and life went downhill from there.
In January 1985, I received a call from the school letting me know Kara had missed the last 2 days and they wanted to know if she were ill.
I was flabbergasted as I had put her on the bus both days. Come to find out, I put her on one stop and she got off 2 stops later. She was spending the days at Johnny’s sister, Patsy’s apartment. I was livid.
I kept sending her to school, but every few days, she’d sluff and be with Johnny. This was making me crazy. Who was this kid? What were they doing?
I don’t think I was naïve to believe that nothing was going on, even though Kara kept insisting that. The first part of March, I was beginning to think she might be pregnant again. This time I knew who the father was.
We started discussing a wedding. Patsy, Johnny’s sister threw him out and my sister invited him to live with them and share Steve’s room until we could decide when the wedding would take place and where they would live.
My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on March 17th and invited their friends and family members to attend an open house at their apartment. Kara brought Johnny to meet her grandparents. Johnny was charming as always and my parents seemed to like him.
A few days after the open house, my mother discovered her license plate was missing; she notified police, but nothing came of it. She replaced the plates and about a week later, she noticed that the plate was there, but someone had removed the state decal by cutting it off the plate with tin snips. Her car was the only one targeted in the apartment complex parking lot. There was no clue who was doing this, at least not yet.
The wedding took place in April. My father walked her down the aisle. This was an expense her trustee would pay for, thank God. Kara was beautiful and radiant. I always say now, this marriage was off to a bad start from the time we applied for their marriage license.
We went to get the license in the afternoon (I had to sign for Kara as she was still legally 15, Johnny was 18); in the morning a convict name Ronny Lee Gardner shot up the building and killed a man. Gardner received the death penalty and was eventually executed. The building was on lock down, but we managed to convince the security people we had to have the license for the upcoming wedding.
Some of my friends from Westminster attended the wedding. My good friends Janice and Hal were there. Janice and I have been best buddies since we met in the Fall semester 1984. We’re still best friends now. She figures in many of my experiences from now on.
My parents invited me to move in with them and we let Kara and Johnny have the apartment. This was cleared with the apartment manager. I sold the kids my old car and bought myself another one.
I thought this marriage was going to make my life easier. So much for wishful thinking.
The next blog will be about adoption and a criminal element.
Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:
Wasatch International Adoptions
Children’s Service Society
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