For first time visitors to this blog, my name is Ann Lamphere, this is my story. I’m the adoptive parent of Kara Kay Lamphere Sansing. I’m also an adoption social worker and have been the director of an adoption agency.
This is “My Adoption Life” story. It is not the fairy tale life I wish I could be spinning. This is my real life experiences with the darker side of living with a traumatized adopted child. These posts are my honest memories of what has turned out to be my life’s work.
If there was something that saved my sanity during the years my daughter Kara lived with me, it was my college life. I was not a 19 year old kid starting out. I was in my 40s.
Loved that college. It became my home away from home. I can only speak for myself, but that school saved my life. Studying has never been a problem for me so I made good grades. Working there as a work study was a joy.
When a position came available, I jumped at the chance and applied. I had been told that most of the time, departments didn’t hire Work Study persons, so I was a bit scared. One of the professors attached to the department wanted me very badly and he convinced the Head of the department to hire me.
There became an opportunity to be an advisor for the older students and I took it. My job was to help them with the Prior Learning program that gave them college credit for their previous experience. This program gave me 27 credit hours toward my 124 required hours to graduate.
I also had a chance to coordinate the Paralegal Certificate Program. This program prepared students to work in legal offices. The classes were taught by lawyers from around town. I learned a bit about legal issues. I made some good contacts.
I was still enrolled and taking classes, mostly at night. My friend Janice and I were together in what we called the little Statistics class (there being a harder class which I also took.) One night a classmate brought her sick child to class; the child promptly vomited outside the classroom and right in front of my office which was across the hall from the class.
There was no way I could let that go as I knew I had to clean up the mess because the kid’s mom took him home without doing so. As I was mopping up, another woman from our class came out to help. Her name was Samantha (Sam to her friends). We started laughing.
Sam and I became instant friends. Sam, Janice and I studied together through the whole class and Sam took the big Stats class with me.
The friends I made at school became a vital support system for me, thank God. Kara’s life was still going downhill. She moved again and again.
Each time Kara moved, her Trustee had to keep doling out funds for rent and a new washer and dryer. She never kept them because Johnny, her husband, would sell them almost by the time they were delivered.
When spring of 1986 rolled around, Kara was pregnant again. Johnny spent a couple of months in jail and then was out doing his thing again.
Kara had another baby boy in October. She named him John (after Johnny) and the middle name of Robert (after my dad). Everyone called him J.R.
Johnny was in and out of jail. He had started to sell drugs for a living and was a wife abuser, according to things Kara told my sister.
My friends did their best to keep me entertained. Besides our cafeteria coffee klatch, we hit movies in mass, concerts and plays.
Janice and her husband, Hal graduated that spring of “87 and had an all-night party at a ski resort lodge. There were about 20 of us with 4 to a room. I shared my room with Sam and 2 other ladies, Judy and Callie. What a blast that was!
Through the summer, I continued to take classes and CLEP exams. I took exams on English Composition, American History, and Developmental Psychology, which took about 3 Saturdays to complete and with that added 10 credit hours towards graduation.
With every credit I had earned, including the CLEP exams and the Prior Learning credits, I knew I would graduate in December. Now the question became “What would I do next?”
My department chair told me that the school felt it would be better for me to find another position. I really loved what I was doing, so that was a hard blow.
Sam and I graduated at the same time. It was a beautiful ceremony. Both my parents were still alive at the time and were able to see me receive my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.
Janice and I discussed finding a graduate program to attend. We did some research and found a long-distance program that would let us make up our own programs and do the learning from home. We had to attend a 2-3 week colloquium meeting where we would present our programs and get them approved.
We both chose to attend a meeting on the campus of Washington State University in Seattle. I have an aversion to flying, so we took the train. Janice was an old hand at flying, so this trip became a running joke between us.
Seattle was lovely. It only rained one time while we were there. I remember this so visibly because everyone reminded us that all it ever does in Seattle is rain. We had a room in the school dorm rooms. Our classes were held clear across campus, which made it hard for me because of my bad ankle.
On my second day there I received a message from Myra, my sister. It seems our mother had experienced a TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) and was in the hospital. I called and found out mom was going to be okay, but Myra was going to have to keep an eye on her while I was gone. This was so funny to me because Myra had stated that she was happy because I took care of mom and dad and she didn’t have to.
The rest of our time in Seattle flew by. It was really interesting to hear about the others’ programs. Janice’s was on assisting Vietnam veterans and mine was on Academic Advising. We took turns presenting our objectives.
Janice was so mad at me for taking the train because it seemed to take forever to get home. We made it, but she promised me she’d never take another train ride with me, and she hasn’t in all these years we’ve been friends.
My next post will continue to my social work graduate program.
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