Will The Crises Never End?

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. 

Kara and Tom, our attorney

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.

Fugalesi:

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.

Perry!

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.

Court and Gavel

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.

Johnny:

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.

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.

Kara in wedding dress

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

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What Happened to 1983?

Covid-19

This whole year has been a blur for me, I don’t know about you. I’ve learned about how well my “patience” education has helped me cope with isolation and worry.  The one thing it’s given me is time to begin writing this blog.

This post is one that really doesn’t have any major crises going on.  It just explains how PTSD affected me. I even experienced a PTSD episode when I published “The Worst Time of My Life-Part 2” on Monday. I shook for about 30 minutes after posting it.

My Missing Year

The next year (1983) is really a blur for me. I spent a lot of time driving Kara and some other kids to the Christian school on the east side of Salt Lake City. We met with the counselor at Primary Children’s mental health unit once a week.

Nothing was working. She was still angry at me and family gatherings were still unpleasant most of the time. I was barely functional. Thank God, my sister, Myra took Kara for weekends to give me some relief.

Tom, our attorney filed a lawsuit against the hospital for lack of protecting a minor child from the rape.  The hospital moved her from the maternity ward to a general surgical ward. The reason they gave was that since she was placing the child for adoption, they didn’t want to subject her to the noises of babies crying.

I applied for financial assistance from the state and received food stamps and some Aid to Families with Dependent Children funds.  It took a bit of help from my attorney to get approved, but I received it for about 4 months.

My parents helped where they could. So did Myra and her husband, Herman. I don’t know how I would have survived without all their support.

Our Wild Trip to Florida:

This story is the only major event that I can remember with any clarity from the whole year. The first of August, my mother received a call from the police in Miami, Florida. It seems my uncle Norman Hinrichsen had died and the only relative they could find was Mom.

The police wanted Mom to drop everything and come take care of the problem.  I knew we needed an attorney there, so I called Tom and he found one who would help us. The new attorney immediately took charge and had my uncle’s remains taken to a mortuary.

The lawyer asked Mom to come to Florida to take care of all the details. We discussed the problem with Myra and Herman. All of us decided this could be a fun vacation. We rented a motor home that slept 6 and off we went, 4 adults, Kara and my nephew Steve. My Dad stayed home to take care of our cats.

We drove across country, first to visit my uncle Walter in Overton, Nebraska and get his information that our lawyer needed. Then we visited my cousin in Kansas because she was a beneficiary also. 

Stockbridge, Georgia on map

We moved on to Stockbridge, Georgia to spend a day with Herman’s brother and his wife. We hadn’t seen them since Myra and Herman’s son Allen was married in 1978. We had a nice visit and then headed to Florida.

Disney World was our next stop.  We parked our motor home and went off to have a great day at Disney World.  We had a blast. (The picture below is not Disney World, of course, but gives an idea of the fun we had.)

Florida has been called the lightening capitol of America.  While we were enjoying our day in Disney World, a thunderstorm came up, lasted just a few minutes and then dissipated.  We went back to the park to our motorhome.  It was odd, other campers had lights on, but when we turned on the lights, nothing happened. 

We discovered a note on the door that said our unit had been struck by lightning and it disrupted the electricity of the whole park.  Therefore, they unplugged our unit and we could not plug it back in.  It was a good thing we were leaving for Miami in the morning.

Palm tree in front of the Miami skyline.

The motorhome was having issues, but we made it to Miami.  We rented a motel and went in search for a car to rent.  Next we found a place that thought they could repair the motorhome.  We could only hope so!

After that, we went to my uncle’s bank and had his safety deposit box opened.  To do so, was a bit nutty.  Mom had Visa traveler’s checks (the bank sold them, but wouldn’t accept them in payment), we had to get them cashed at a nearby drug store. 

We called the attorney and scheduled an appointment.  Mom had papers to sign and then we had to visit the mortuary and pick up my uncle’s ashes as he was cremated. 

The next morning we went to my uncle’s home to go through his possessions.  The place was a huge mess.  We later found out that thieves had gone through the house looking for anything of value after his body was removed. 

We decided to each take a room and see what we could find. I took the kitchen where the bills were laid out so we could see what needed to be paid. On the table, to one side was a very old, brown register type book. 

When I opened the book I just gasped.  The first page had the family history of William Wallace Olmsted (my great-grandfather).  I had found Helen Stanbro Olmsted’s “midwife book!”  I called my mother in and she verified that it was most definitely Helen’s record book. 

We wondered how Norman had come by the book.  He did take care of my grandmother, Carrie Lucy Hinrichsen until her death in 1956, but this was 27 years later and the book was in great shape for its age and just laying out in the open. 

That book could have been thrown away as garbage at any time, but Norman must have known of its importance.  Why it was on the table and out where I could find it so quickly is still being asked by myself and the other family members.

The following info is for anyone interested in Genealogy, I just put it in, but if not interested, just jump down to the rest of the post.

MIDWIFE RECORD & DIARY

OF

HELEN STANBRO OLMSTED

Time Frame of the Book: 1866 to 1925

This record contains the family history of Helen Arvilla Stanbro and William Wallace Olmsted and Helen’s midwife records of the births of the children she delivered.  The record covers the years she delivered babies in Missouri 1870-1871; Iowa 1866-1876; Oregon 1878-1883; and Nebraska 1886-1925.

This record book was found in 1983 in the home of Helen’s grandson (my uncle) Norman Hinrichsen.  Carrie Olmsted Hinrichsen (my grandmother who died in 1954) had it and when she died Norman had it in his possession. (This picture is the grave of my maternal grandparents.)

Ann’s grandparents headstone

The original book is in my possession.  I have made copies available to family members that request them.

If anyone wants copies or information on the Stanbro/Olmsted family, I can be reached at annla1441@yahoo.com.

All I can think of is that Helen wanted it found by someone who would value it.  I am always happy to share copies of the book – I usually send the annotated copy as I know people want more info that I keep researching. 

While at the house, Herman and Steve chased away an intruder.  We called the police and the same patrol officer who had found my uncle’s body responded. She explained why she was asked to check on him and at that time the house was immaculate. No one was ever caught.

The next day Herman took Steve and Kara to the beach while my sister and I cleaned up the motor home.  We had it repaired when we first arrived in Miami. We planned to leave the next morning. 

My mom came in while we were removing the garbage from the motor home and made the statement, “Well, I got rid of an arm and a leg.”  Both us said “WHAT!” She explained that she had made the decision not to take Norman’s ashes with us back to Utah.

She had decided to help his ashes get out to sea. We were a little nervous about that statement, but she explained that she flushed part of him down the toilet. We lost it!!!  Talk about nuts!

We told her it would be better to drop his ashes off in Overton, Nebraska where his parents were buried and we had originally planned for his burial. Somewhere between Miami and Overton, the ashes disappeared – thanks Mom!!

The trip home had its ups and downs.  The motor home broke down on Highway 70 in Kansas in the middle of the night.  All the lights inside and out went out and would not go back on. It took us until the next morning to get that fixed. 

I managed to do some damage to the motorhome.  I was driving when we hit some construction and I took out some of those cement barriers.  It cost us about $1000.

I will tell you we were all exhausted when we got home. The upside of the trip was to see parts of America that we had not seen before.

The rest of the year is still a blur.  The next year was better for me, but Kara was never going to get better while she lived with me. I wish I knew then, what I know now about living with a child diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder.

I’m sorry this is a long post.  My story continues in the next post.  Look for it on Friday 12-11-2020.

If you want to know when a new post to “My Adoption Life” is added, please enter your email to the follow email list at the bottom of the Home Page.

Thank you for reading.

See Ya next time.

Annie Lamphere

The Worst Time of My Life-Part 2

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. 

CSS-Utah

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.

Strange Times:

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. 

Starry Night

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. 

Kara Lamphere

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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The Locomotive Adoption Trip

Kara and Me

I continued to struggle with raising Kara.  Nothing I did was right.  I felt like a complete failure as a mother.  I don’t know who suggested that another child would lessen the strain between Kara and myself, but I did decide to adopt again. 

Laura was my social worker again.  This time she was more than willing to call on just about any child I found on the “Waiting Child” lists.  I found a 14 year old girl in South Carolina and wonders of wonders, her social worker liked my home study and approved me for adoption of my second child, “Kim.”

The one thing I didn’t take into account was something no one in adoptions ever mentioned. “Do not twin adopted children!” Because Kara was only legally 12, I didn’t think too much about the girls being the same age developmentally, when in reality Kara was at least 14 or 15 biologically.

Train on Track

I do not like to travel by airplanes, so I decided to go by train.  I usually love trains and always feel that it is a great adventure.  I had a sleeping car and was expecting to enjoy my trip.  Kara stayed with my mother and dad, so I had no worries about what she was doing.

The day after my train left Salt Lake City, there was a railway engineers strike.  In the middle of the night, the engineers quit driving the trains and supervisory personnel took over.  Because they weren’t engineers, the trains could only go 50 miles an hour.  I thought we’d never get to Chicago.

Once in Chicago, we had a layover and the train we were scheduled to take was no longer running, so the Railroad switched us to another train where the only available space was to sit up all night. 

This train would go from Chicago to Philadelphia where we would connect to a “Day” train line that would take us to Washington, D.C.  From D.C., I would catch a bus to Charleston, South Carolina.

My Daughter Kim:

This was Kim and me connecting

(I don’t have a picture of Kim I’m sorry to say.)

I arrived in South Carolina and had to call Kim’s social worker to come pick me up.  She was gracious and took me back to her office. 

Kim was brought in and we had a chance to decide what we would do next.  The social worker took me to a car rental place where I rented a car and then I found my hotel where we stayed for the next three days while the paperwork was completed. 

In the meantime, the social worker gave us some funds to buy Kim some new clothes; she was so excited to get something new.  We happily shopped for hours.

I had a chance to see some of the places in South Carolina that I wanted to see in person.  We visited Kim’s home neighborhood so she could tell some of her friends goodbye.

Once all the paperwork was out of the way, Kim and I climbed on a bus headed back to D.C.  We arrived in D.C. about 10:00pm; of course her luggage was missing.  It was on another bus scheduled to arrive around 11:30pm. 

We couldn’t get to the train depot as it closed at 11:00pm, so we were stuck in the bus depot.  The security guards wouldn’t let us sleep. I had to stay awake and keep Kim awake until the train station opened again in the morning at 6:00am

We made it to the train station only to find out that the next train to Chicago wouldn’t be leaving until 3:00pm.  We sat on some benches and I kept an eye out while Kim slept a few minutes. 

About 8:30am, I decided to take a quick tour of Washington, D.C.  What a kick!  We saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and everything around the Mall area.  We passed all the buildings of the Smithsonian. 

At 3:00pm it was time to board the train.  We had a sleeping car and we just crashed we were so tired. I slept on the bench and Kim curled up in a couple of blankets on the floor.

From Chicago we boarded another train to Salt Lake City.  I called my sister and suggested that if they met the train in Ogden, Utah, we’d get home quicker since there was an hour layover in Ogden before the train left for Salt Lake. 

Myra agreed that would be great and everyone was happy to see us.  Kara hugged me and said she missed me; that was a first.  Kim tried to engage Kara, but she was having no part of it.  I was just happy to be home.

Kim and I had a great bonding experience and I liked her very much. She was so different from Kara.  I hoped the three of us would settle down and make a wonderful family.

I should have known better; almost immediately Kara and Kim began quarreling.  There were times when I would go to my bedroom and lock my door against the girls.  I kept trying to make it work, but was not having much success.

Kim and I had a lot of similar things we liked. She was a good kid. I felt really bad for her as Kara began to attack her like she attacked me. The situation became almost a war zone.

I wasn’t prepared for disrupting my second adoption, but it happened. The next blog post will explain the whole mess.

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KARA: My RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) Daughter

Our First Years:

During that first summer together, we learned that Kara knew how to swim, was a quick learner and by the time the school year began, she was speaking English like it was a native language.  Of course, she often didn’t know what a word meant, but she’d say she did, so communication was a bit difficult. 

It was also difficult to keep her in clothes; she was 4 feet 2 inches when she arrived and was 5 feet tall by the beginning of school.  That was as tall as she would get.

School!  If I had known then what I know now, I would have tried to home school her.  At the time, it didn’t even occur to me to do that.  I think she would have benefited with the one-to-one attention. 

As it was, she was given into the care of an elderly teacher whom she dearly loved, to learn what she needed to go into fifth grade.  She did well with this teacher where she wasn’t doing well with me.

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

 At the time no one had ever heard of RAD.  It has only become a diagnosis in the last 20 years.  Kara was a classic RAD child. She was a victim of parental and/or care giver abuse. Her behaviors at home with me were really disturbing.  She was the same way with my mother, but totally different with my sister.

Kara was an accomplished thief.  I was always discovering things that didn’t belong to her.  Money went missing from my wallet.  When a neighbor came over and demanded that she cough up the $10 he was missing, I defended her and gave him the money back.

She was also an accomplished liar. Oh my God, could she lie! She would take a lie to her grave, but never admit what she did was wrong.  She had no experience with right or wrong behaviors. It made for a frustrating adjustment period.

Life with Kara in my home was a battlefield.  She was an expert at doing little nitpicky things to annoy me.  Family parties became unpleasant and stressful.  She would start fights at the parties with me or my mother.  I reached the point of wanting to avoid my family altogether at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

My birthday that first year gave me an indication of what all the holidays and birthdays were going to be like with Kara. She hated the fact that I was the center of attention and did her best to make it unpleasant.

Kara Lamphere

Christmas was even worse. She didn’t understand giving and getting presents. She wanted everything under the tree. She was mad when another person opened a gift. She started a fight with my mother and then with me.  She started sulking and screaming at me.

It was a relief for me when school began again in 1981. She needed a routine to function well. I hate to admit it, but I’m not all that routine oriented.

It was on March 23, 1981 (3 years to the day when I broke my foot) that we finalized her adoption.  She was officially my child.  I felt that hopefully we were on our way to being a family. However, that was wishful thinking on my part.

I had an engagement ring in my jewelry box that she stole and gave to a girl at school.  The first I knew about it was when the school called and asked if I was missing a ring like that one.  I checked my jewelry box and sure enough it was missing. 

The reason she told me why she took the ring was that she wanted to be friends with the girl. I tried to explain stealing was wrong for the umpteenth time. She never got that point.

She stole from our Christian bookstore; I made her take the item back.  That didn’t faze her any.  She was very adept at shoplifting and I would find items I had no clue where they came from.  We think she stole money from my sister and my nephews, we were never sure.

I had a rule, no children in the house until I was home.  She continually broke that rule. Almost every day when I came home from work, there would be children leaving by the front door as I was going in the back.  I had my concerns as to what was going on while I wasn’t home

I was pretty sure she was sexualized somehow.  It wasn’t until many years later that I learned what her life in India was like.

We had no clue what had happened in the jail in Calcutta.  The jailers, mostly men, continually raped all the young girls being held there.  These girls ranged in ages 5 to 15.  Accordingly, the creeps raped the young boys, as well.

Kara’s second year was almost identical as her first year. Myra, my sister would take her for a few hours or a couple of days to give me some relief from the constant attacks.

In 1982, I decided to look at adopting again. I checked with my previous social worker, Laura and she agreed she would approve me.

I don’t remember why I thought life would be okay if I adopted again, but I did.  I really think that I was a gluten for punishment.  I could not have been considered rational.  That’s when I planned to adopt from the foster care system. Here comes Kim!

For more of our story, check out our next post.

Thanks for reading, Ann

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My Frustrating International Adoption

My Child Kara:

While Susan, my foster kid, was with me, I received “the” call from International Mission of Hope’s U.S. agency.  They had a child that I might be interested in adopting.  It was a little five year old boy. 

I immediately said “Yes!!”  I was so excited to finally get my child.  I decided to change his name to “Andrew” and call him “Andy.”  My nephews were also excited and started to gather clothes they had outgrown for our new family member.

In late February 1980, I received a phone call from the U.S. agency working with IMH.  The worker was so excited, she exclaimed, “She’s beautiful!” I went “Huh! She’s supposed to be a he!!” “No, this is definitely a girl and she’s ten year’s old,” the worker said. 

It seems when they went to send the telegram with my acceptance on it, they had another family accepting a child with major disabilities and the whole telegram focused on that child; at the tail end they wrote “Lamphere accepts.” 

The people in India didn’t know which child I was accepting, so they figured it had to be a girl and the only girl in my requested age range was ten.  Her name was “Nomi.”  The workers in India thought it was a sign; her name “Nomi” was close to my first name. “Naomi.”  I haven’t used that name since I was 14, except on Facebook.

There was nothing I could do to undo this placement, the child’s case had gone to court on the 16th of February and I was approved as her new parent.  At that time the Judge looked at her and said she looks about ten and today is her new birthday. 

So, legally she was born February 16, 1970.  When I finally spoke to the director of IMH, she told me she was closer to 13 or 14 – I know I asked for a child ages 5-10; how is it I’m getting a teenager?  No good answer.

Well, at least I was getting my child.  IMH’s time frame from the court date to approval by the U.S. Consulate was about two-three weeks and then my child would be getting a passport and shots so she could fly home. 

This should have happened except, Calcutta had a new governor and he halted all foreign adoptions the first of March.  Can my luck get any better?  The governor’s issue was that these children, who in reality were living on the streets of Calcutta, were being adopted for slave labor by those wealthy Americans.

Wait and wait some more.  I wondered if she’d ever get out of India.  In the meantime, my family and I discussed a new name for her, it wasn’t going to be “Nomi.”  We finally agreed on “Kara” and would use her Indian name as her middle name. 

Susan was with me while we waited for the governor of Calcutta to release the children.  I don’t think she was very excited to have someone new in our home who would need my attention more than she did.

Kara Comes Home

The day finally came, Kara was coming home.  That’s when I received the call from IMH’s director explaining how she was probably older than ten. 

The director also explained that the escort from India would not continue on to Salt Lake City from New York.  Kara would be flying alone under the watchful eye of a stewardess.

My mother, my sister, and Susan went to the airport with me.  I was glad of the support because I didn’t know what to expect.

Kara Nomi Lamphere arrived on June 13, 1980 (a Friday – was this an omen of things to come?)  She spoke three words of English: airplane, helicopter and car. My life had just been turned upside down. 

Kara immediately gravitated to Susan which made things a bit easier for me.  We all piled into my car and headed towards our future together.

Once at home, Susan helped get Kara a bath while I fixed some food for us all.  We ate and then decided it had been an exhausting day and I was beat up emotionally.

We showed Kara her new bedroom, tried to explain to her about going to sleep without much success, but we left her with some picture books and a few toys. 

Susan went to her room and I settled down with a book and my cat to relax before going to sleep.  I turned out my light about 10:30pm and fell asleep. 

I woke up in the middle of the night and checked on Kara; she was sound asleep on the floor. A few nights later, I found her playing with only the night light on.  The poor kid could not get her days and nights straightened around for several weeks.

The next day, my mother and I took Kara shopping with us.  We had to get her some clothes to wear.  We found it really interesting that Kara had such a strong sense of what she wanted in tops and shorts.  Anything she wore always looked good on her.

She did grow 10 inches from June to September. I was buying new clothes every couple of weeks that summer. Thank God for thrift stores!

While out shopping, we also discovered one of her behaviors neither my mother nor I had ever encountered.  She tried to steal some fruit and my mother, who saw her do it, told her “NO!”  She rolled her eyes back in her head and went into a catatonic state.  Over the next few months, she used this self-preservation behavior frequently in order to avoid discipline.

The Tuesday after Kara arrived my social worker, Laura, came out to do her first post-placement visit. I found it really interesting that she would do a visit so close to Kara’s arrival. Three days in does not give the parent and child any adjustment period especially when the child doesn’t speak English.

On that Tuesday, my dad was fixing my air conditioner and he yelled at me to bring him something. I got what he wanted and stepped out the front door into nothing. Dad had moved my front porch away from the house.

I felt like Wile E Coyote from the cartoons. I landed hard on my right ankle, the one I broke in 1978. My foot immediately started swelling. I called my doctor and the office gave me an emergency appointment.

Now, I’m in pain, not really able to focus on what Laura the social worker was saying. And the worst part was she wouldn’t leave. She hung around for another 2 hours. She only left when it was time for my appointment.

Susan drove us to the doctor. I was fortunate, I had only sprained the foot. But, it was back in the boot for a few weeks.

The next few months were really a blur. I could hardly wait for school to begin. My nephew Allen’s wife was willing to care for Kara while I worked. She was caring for her own baby at the time and Kara loved helping her with the baby.

Susan decided it was time for her to become independent. She was working a full-time job now.  With the assistance of her caseworker and myself, we helped her locate an apartment and helped her move in. 

She and I remained friends for many years until she moved to California and married. We lost contact because we both moved several times. I really liked that kid and I miss her still.

The next post will continue Kara’s story.

Please contact me at annla1441@yahoo.com with any questions.

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My Foster Care Kids

This picture of a crying child reminds me of all the children languishing in the foster care systems of the United States. All they want is love and security.

I finished taking all the classes the State of Utah required. I learned all about the issues these kids supposedly have. I don’t recall if there were any concrete ideas to help the kids adjust to a new environment.

One of the major issues when a child was placed was the lack of information about the child other than age, sex and the barest minimum of issues. This is still happening in systems all over the USA today. New placements have to guess what’s happened previously in the child’s life and try to help them.

My FC story began when a child welfare worker brought Sharon to my house one afternoon.  She was a pretty blonde about 15 years old.  The worker didn’t give me much information on her, only that she had been removed from her parents’ home. 

It didn’t take long for me to find out what Sharon’s issues were.  She wanted to be free of all adults.  She was with me for about three weeks and in that time ran away twice. The last time when she took off she helped herself to some clothes of mine. 

When I reported Sharon missing, the caseworker said she did that all the time.  There was no need to worry, she’d turn up at her parents’ home in a few days and they’d get her back.  I told the case worker that I did not want her back.  She said that’s okay and she’d let other workers know my home was available again.

Next, in came Susan.  She was 16 years old and quite a beautiful young woman.  We hit it off immediately.  Susan was in the foster care system because she was a run away from her biological home and from the home of a single foster parent whose restrictive requirements angered her.

Susan’s story is a sad one.  Her parents took in foster care children all the while her biological father was sexually abusing Susan and her younger sister. 

When Susan was 14, she was hired at a nursing home as a housekeeper.  She saved all the money she earned and with her mother’s consent bought herself a truck with a camper shell on it. 

Susan saved up some more funds and when no one was paying attention, she loaded up the truck and headed for California.  Of course, the police brought her back.

She told the case worker what was happening in her home and that she thought her father was abusing the foster girls in the home as well. Which, by the way, was later proven to be true.  Susan was then placed with the strict single parent and she ran away again.

When she came to live with me, Susan was angry and hurt by the people in power.  Her father should have been arrested and charged, but instead the State workers demanded that Susan attend family counseling with her parents in order for her to be reunited with them.

When I questioned the justification of this torture, I was told to butt out; my job was to provide their client, Susan, with a place to live, period; nothing else. I accompanied her to her first family counseling session and had to wait in my car and pass the time reading a book.

While I waited outside, her father jumped her and had her down on the floor banging her head continuously while two female case workers watched; finally a male worker came in and pulled the father off of her. 

I was called in to take her home, instead I took her to the hospital which confirmed my suspicions that she had a mild concussion.  I called her case worker and said they’d better do something to this man; the worker agreed, but the only thing that happened was that Susan did not have to have anything more to do with her parents.

Susan settled in with me and my roommate at the time.  Georgianna was a friend of my sister’s whose home had burned down and needed a place to stay while it was being rebuilt. I had an extra bedroom at the time and she lived with me for about 5 months. The three of us had some good times together.

After Georgianna left, Kara, my daughter from India was finally cleared to travel to Utah. She arrived on June 13, 1980 “a Friday the 13th.” She wanted nothing to do with me. She connected with Susan and that bothered Susan.

When Susan was ready for independent living, her social worker and I helped her move into an apartment. I supplied her with some dishes and cooking pots.  She hugged me and thanked me for everything I helped her with. 

As the worker and I were getting ready to leave, Susan said something that brought tears to my eyes.  She said “When I first came I was planning to run away until you told me that I should let you be the adult and I should be the child. You said you’d take care of me and you did.”

It still makes me feel good, even now 40 years later. She was a wonderful young woman.

Thanks for reading.

Ann Lamphere

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FOUR THINGS I LEARNED WHILE WAITING FOR MY FIRST ADOPTED CHILD

If you’re new to adoptions these tips might help you with your decisions. If you’re experienced adoptive parents, I’d love to hear your stories. Everyone involved in the adoption process has a story to tell.

Number 1:

When I started my first adoption, I had no clue how long it would take to receive my child. So PATIENCE is a basic requirement. However, I’m not a patient person, never have been.

There was nothing I could do to move the process along.  The paperwork alone can take upwards of 3 months and I have heard that some potential adoptive parents’ home studies took almost 6 months to complete. Yuck! That’s way too long.

Domestic infant adoptions can take a few months to several years before a child is placed with waiting parents. International adoptions can take a year or more depending on the country chosen.

I suggest finding something to keep you occupied, while you are waiting. In any adoption situations, delays happen.  These delays can be very annoying, especially in times like the Coronus virus pandemic.

(I helped my nephew start a business – this is a picture from his business)

My adoption from India was quoted to be about 3 to 4 months. My daughter was assigned to me by a judge in February. She was supposed to be on a plane by the end of the month.

Are you familiar with Murphy’s Law? You know, “If anything could go wrong, it will.”  Well, that happened in my adoption. Kara, my daughter didn’t get out of India until June. I always caution my clients that delays happen more frequently than people expect.

What happened with us was a shakeup in the political makeup in Calcutta.  The new governor stopped all out-of-country adoptions because he thought Americans were adopting children to make them servants or slaves. He finally saw the light and released the kids.

Number 2:

Choosing the type of adoption that works best for you and your family is extremely important. Are you actively looking for an infant, a toddler, a sibling group, an older child, a child with a correctible or non-correctible special needs or a child from the foster care system?

Do you want a child from the United States or from another country? Checking out agencies is vital to your hopes and dreams. 

Some agencies, domestic or international, place only special needs or older children. Other agencies place foster children that are available; these are usually older kids or sibling groups.

There are some agencies that only place infants; a word to the wise, these agencies” fees can be very high.

Also when choosing an agency, I recommend that you consider the ages of any kids in your home. The best advice I can give you is to always consider a child younger than your youngest child. Also do not twin an adoptive child with a kid the same age, those situations don’t work too well.

Number 3:

Preparing for the time when your child comes home can be stressful, but is necessary. Is the child getting a bedroom of his/her own? Will the new child share a room with another child in your home? Either situation must be addressed.

If there are other kids in your family, please do your best to prepare them for the fact that the new child is going to take a lot of your time while adjusting to your family and a new environment

Is the adoptive child coming from another country? If so, have you studied the culture both good and bad? It’s important to acknowledge that you approve of their culture.  It gives the kids an identity and helps with their adjustment to you and this very strange world we live in.

Because our children come from poverty, we crazy people want to give them everything at once. This can give these kids a sense of entitlement.  As an adoption worker, I have seen this happen and it has caused much stress in a family. I recommend that getting one or 2 sets of clothes and pajamas and maybe something personal when you bring them home.

When my daughter came home from India, she had one outfit that had seen better days. My mother and I took her shopping.  We went a bit overboard and I paid the price with her wanting everything under the sun after that.

Number 4:

Deciding on the child’s ethnicity is extremely important. Are you adopting a Caucasian child, a child from India, an Asian child, a child from an African country or Haiti or a Hispanic country?

Understand if you adopt a child with a different ethnicity, your family just became a mixed race family. The United States is, sad to say, a racist country and your child could become a target for discrimination. Mine did!

My father was a bit of a racist, so I came across a statement that said all people from India were considered Caucasian and he never saw her as different.  Dad even walked her down the aisle when she was married.

However in another situation, I was attending a parent-teacher conference and caught this oversized bully who was making her life miserable calling her names. His father was in line behind us.

I’m about 5 foot tall and this guy was over 6 foot tall. I gathered myself and demanded of this fool of a man that he’d be better off if he taught his child some manners and the guy just folded.  I can be a terror when I see blatant discrimination.

There will be other issues that you will find come up because each adoption has its own dynamics. I’m always willing to help any family with their decision making.  See my service page and know that any help I offer is totally free.

Don’t forget to send me your adoption stories. I love to hear about good and difficult placements

My personal email: annla1441@yahoo.com

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My Improbable Life Change Moment

Most stories have beginnings and endings. Some are good and some are bad.  This story, my story, took a long time to begin.  My life was simple, stable and with nothing exciting happening until the winter of 1976. 

I was 34 years old, single, and never married, even though I had had some offers, nothing ever came of them.  I loved my two nephews, Allen and Steve and spent a lot of time with them.  Because I enjoyed being with children, I wanted one of my own, but my upbringing and my own sense of right and wrong, kept me from finding a “sperm donor” and having a baby out  of wedlock.

 One cold winter’s day in January 1976, I was flipping channels on the TV and found myself watching the PBS station.  The program was on new books and the authors.  I’m an avid reader so I thought this would be an interesting program to watch.  Little did I know what this one TV program would do to my life? 

The author was Marjorie Margolies and the book was “They Came to Stay.”  Ms. Margolies wrote this book about how she, as a single parent, adopted two little girls from Korea and Vietnam.  She described how she was approved for adoption and her trips to Korea and Vietnam to get her daughters. 

Talk about exciting!  I rushed out and bought a copy of the book.  I’ve read and re-read this book many times over the years and I feel I have a real connection with Ms. Margolies. (The book is still available on Amazon for $809.67 – yep that’s right in paperback! It’s also available for $36 – $40 used.)

 After reading “They Came to Stay,” I went looking for more books on adoptions.  There were many, but very few had anything to say about single adoptive parents.  This was such a strange, new phenomenon, no one seemed quite sure how to discuss it.  At that time, adoptions were mostly infant adoptions with a few foster care and international adoptions, all done by married couples.

It took me until March to get up enough courage to call an adoption agency.  The receptionist that answered my phone call said they had never done a single parent adoption, but she’d have their social worker call me back.  Talk about being nervous and worried I wouldn’t get the chance, I was a complete basket case by the time the social worker called me back.

Children’s Service Society of Utah http://cssutah.org

Wilma, the social worker, returned my call a couple of days later.  She was warm and friendly and put me at ease.  She said the agency had never had a single adoptive parent client, but they were open to a first one.  I wanted desperately to be that first one.

My first meeting with Wilma was the next week.  We visited for about two hours while she explained the process of getting approved for adoption.  It sounded complicated, but doable and I wanted it done yesterday.  Did I say I’m the impatient type?  Of course I am, isn’t everyone?  Little did I realize how much patience is required to adopt.  The home study alone took three months.

At that time, the home study consisted of writing an autobiography, two or three home visits, background criminal investigations, copies of all legal documents and three letters of reference. Because I didn’t have a spouse, Wilma thought it would be a good idea to meet my parents and my sister, Myra and her husband, Herman since they would be my support system.

Everything came together and I was approved to adopt a child between the ages of five and ten.  Of course we were looking at uncharted territory, so it took us awhile to figure out where to locate a child. 

I found myself checking with agencies all over America. I finally came across a couple of agencies that had picture books of available children.  Wilma requested them and we began checking out children that I felt I could raise.

Then, what I consider a tragedy happened.  After working with Wilma for over a year, she accepted a new position and left the agency.  Oh Lord, now what would I do? 

A new social worker came in, re-did my home study and told me flat out, the only child she would place with me would be a special needs child, one with a severe handicap.  I knew that wouldn’t be good for me; I was a secretary and had to work days.

That social worker lasted about six months.  I hoped the next one would be better and she was somewhat better as she was a single person herself.  She didn’t like my second home study all that much and decided it needed to be updated. 

This new social worker made a home visit and met my mother and father at the same time.  My nephew, Steve popped in and put his arm around me and told the social worker I would make a great mom for a child needing a home. 

When she was leaving, the social worker told me how impressed she was by the love my nephew had shown for me and that she wished she had that kind of relationship with her nephews. I wondered whose fault it was hers or the kids.

Two years went by without even one child being referred to me.  I felt things could not get any worse until March 23, 1978, when I caught my right ankle in some boxes at my office and received a spiral break.  I spent a week in the hospital and the next four months in a cast.  Because of the severity of the break, I couldn’t put my weight on my foot for over nine months. I managed to get around on crutches and my mother drove me to and from work every day.

All the while that I was dealing with my ankle, I decided to transfer agencies and look at doing foster care while I waited for my own child to arrive.  My new social worker, Laura, did not impress me; I think if she could have denied my application, she would have.  Since I had three approved home studies by the private agency, she would have had to prove there was something really bad about me and she knew that would be almost impossible to prove.

With the completion of this home study I became the first single parent approved for adoption and foster care by the State of Utah. There were a couple of other single adoptive parents in Utah that had adopted internationally, so I can’t claim being first for that type of adoption.

I spent the next few months looking at children in the waiting children books.  Each child I asked Laura to check on wasn’t available or as I suspected, never was called about.  Once I was able to walk again, I began checking out international agencies that were placing children with single adoptive parents.

I was looking for a child that could be escorted to the United States, mainly because I’m afraid of flying. I found out that International Mission of Hope (IMH) in India was placing children all over the United States with single parents.  The children ranged from newborn to 12 years of age.  The costs were reasonable and my parents agreed to help me pay them.

International adoptions have their own set of crazy paperwork to complete. At the time it wasn’t too complicated, it just took forever to get all the original and/or certified documents, the home study updated (one more time), fingerprints and once that was all done, I waited in the Immigration Office for almost five hours to meet with an official of the government to show him what I had and get the approval for the adoption.

All the while I’m doing the international paperwork, I’m taking the required classes to become a foster parent.  There were something like four or six weeks of classes.  Once these were completed I could become a foster parent.  I was excited looking to help a child in need of a home.

 I have had many firsts in my adoption adventures and that includes writing this blog. It’s been quite a ride. To see what happens next, read the next installment of “My Adoption Story.”

To see more of my story, please like my page and join my email list.

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See ya soon, Ann

The Worst Time of My Life

The phone call at 4:00am jarred me awake.  It was a nurse calling to tell me my 12 year old adopted daughter, who had given birth to a baby girl the day before, had been raped in the hospital.  How could this happen?  Aren’t hospitals supposed to be safe places?

I raced to the hospital.  The place was swarming with police.  One of them explained what was known at this time,  Kara was exhausted and sound asleep when an unknown person woke her up and threatened her with a knife; he then raped her and told her not to tell anyone or he’d come back and use the knife on her.  She waited for about an hour, she thinks, and then called a nurse.

It was January 8, 1983.  Kara had been in the United States since June 13, 1980.  She was born in a small East Indian town close to Calcutta, India.  I adopted her as a single woman.  The only thing we knew at the time was that she had run away from home and landed in a Calcutta Jail because all the available orphanages were full.

 A very empathetic police officer took Kara and me to the Primary Children’s Hospital clear across town because she was under age 13, even though she was probably closer to 15, we had no idea when she was born.  A volunteer from the Rape Crisis Center came to assist us with obtaining a rape kit.  Once the kit was done, the police officer drove us back to the original hospital.

 About three days later, the same police officer called me and confirmed that she had indeed been raped.  He came out and interviewed her and me.  He had his suspicions that Kara had known her attacker and had consensual sex with him.  After giving birth less than 12 hours before, give me a break!!! 

After many days, it began to appear to us that this, once nice, police officer was investigating Kara and not the perpetrator.  I called an attorney acquaintance and ask for help.  He gave me the number of an attorney friend of his who would help us.  The first thing Tom did was to call off the police investigation of Kara. The next thing he did was to begin our lawsuit against the hospital. 

This incident in 1983 changed my life forever.  Some of the changes were really bad and some of them extraordinarily wonderful. At the time, I was 41 years old, single and working as a secretary for a cabinet manufacturer.  I had no idea what the future held and no clue how I would deal with the daily crises that were enveloping me.  This is my story.  I hope you will see that what was so tragic could lead to something so worthwhile and fulfilling.

To be continued:

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