Social Work: My Trade School Education and Life Issues

1991-1993 What a Time That Was:

My Social Work classes began the first regular week of January.  The Gulf War “Operation Desert Storm” also started that week. The next week my father died of a stroke in the care center.  I began to wonder what else was going to go wrong that year.

My Dad

When my father died, I was notified by my sister. Dr. Hess, my boss sent me to the nursing home because he said I needed to go. When I arrived at the home, my dad wasn’t there. The staff said the funeral home had already taken his body.

I called the mortuary and being my dumb self, told them I was looking for a body. Total silence on the other end of the line. When I got serious and asked about dad by his name, they said yes they had his body and I could come see him.

We had his body cremated, but wanted to wait until spring to decide where to place his ashes. A friend of my mother who was visiting our house asked mom where she had placed his ashes. Mom pointed to a shelf above the visitor’s head and said, “He’s up there.” The guest shrieked and quickly left.

The social work classes helped keep me going, so did my work.  Everyone was so supportive which was really helpful.  There were times when I almost lost it from the stress.

My friends, Janice and Hal were married in 1991 because Janice was in the Army National Guard and she was being deployed to Germany as an LPN nurse.  They had a small reception that my friend, Sam and I attended. 

Jan’s grandmother, Vi who I just thought the world of, gave us a good laugh when she called Hal a war bride. When Jan was settled, Hal joined her for the duration.

Myra, my sister spent time in the hospital that year with pancreatitis. She was one sick puppy.  From then on she had attacks for several years running.

It was many years before we could understand what was causing the pancreatitis.  It seems sometimes smoking attacks just one organ in the body and in her case it was the pancreas.  She had been a heavy smoker for years.

Pregnant lady

The news on Kara, my daughter, was that she was pregnant again.  This time she had a little girl she named Amanda. She and Johnny were living somewhere in West Valley City, I have no clue where.

I had washed my hands of Kara when I took her to a Women’s Shelter and she immediately called Johnny’s sister, Patsy to come bail her out. She went back to living with Johnny and I said “Enough was enough.” I could only hope so.

In the fall of 1991, I began my first practicum.  I was a drug and alcohol counselor for 2 afternoons and evenings at the VA Hospital.  The hospital had a 28 day program. Most patients were willing to work on their programs, but there was a significant group of veterans who were homeless and would get hospitalized so they would be in a warm environment; these guys really had no interest of changing their behaviors.

Work and school – school and work. The days and nights ran together. For the life of me, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary for the rest of the year. I do remember New Year’s Eve, Sam and I went to dinner and a movie (a romantic comedy).

January 1992 began quietly.  Because of the way the afternoon-evening Social Work Program was designed to be part time, it took 2 years to complete the first year course work.  With that in mind, all my first year requirements would finally be completed in May 1992.

In the middle of May, my mother broke her shoulder due to a fall.  I found her on the floor and called 911 because I didn’t know how severe the break was. She was treated and returned home a few days later. 

My Mother

Mom needed someone with her all the time, so I recruited Sam and Janice who was back from military duty and also members of our church. They all helped immensely, but I was glad that school was almost done for the year as I was having trouble concentrating on class work.

The rest of that summer was fairly calm.  Where I worked, The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine (DFPM) had their continuing education meeting and things went smoothly.  There was not much else going on that summer.  Mom did get well enough by the end of June, so she didn’t need daily help any longer.

In September 1992, the last year of the Social Work program began.  All the courses were designed as electives.  A person could decide which track they wanted to take, either the Clinical or Administrative track. 

One of the things I decided was to take a dual-track curriculum.  Even though I was told it would take another year, I figured out how to get the required hours for each program and additional practicum in that final year. (Remember, I did academic advising for my undergraduate degree and used those same skills for the Master’s degree.)

My whole year Practicum was a paid opportunity at LDS Hospital’s Geriatric Ward. The job consisted of being a medical social worker and helping meet the needs for the patients and their families.

My Administrative Practicum was with an organization called Social Work Consultation Services and it was a paid position and I worked for them for the next 3 years.  I worked as a supervisor for Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) persons working in the nursing homes in Utah.

The best thing that happened that year was our trip to Las Vegas to attend my nephew Steve’s wedding. I drove mom and my great-niece, Linnette, my other nephew’s daughter while Myra and Herman took the other two grandchildren, Tiffany and Michael in their car. 

Steve and Kathy

The wedding was scheduled for December 19th.  We drove from Salt Lake to Las Vergas on the 18th in a driving snow storm. I thought we’d never get there.

Steve married Kathy Fox. They had been together for at least 3 years.  She is a lovely person. We had a great time.  It was a wonderful way to end the year.

1993:

Myra and Herman had a reception in Utah for Steve and Kathy.  This was a year when we had something like 32 inches of snow between Christmas and New Year’s and there was still heaps of snow so the turnout wasn’t all that great.  I couldn’t be there because I was working.

My mother was not doing well at home by herself.  I would call long about 11:00am and she’d still be in bed.  She wouldn’t get her morning pills taken until in the afternoon and this wasn’t healthy for her. 

I was getting really worried and had difficulty concentrating on everything I had to do for school and work. My boss, Dr. Hess told me I couldn’t handle too much more and suggested she go to a care center where she could be sure to get the care she required.

nursing home

Mom and I discussed the issue and she agreed it was necessary.  De. Hess had her admitted to the care center where he was the Medical Director. It was close to the university, so I could see her when I had a few free minutes.  Of course, when I graduated in May, I was no longer working close to the care center.

Thanks for reading this post. The next post will be about my next 4 years in social work.

Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:

Wasatch International Adoptions

Children’s Service Society

Thanks for reading. If you want to be notified of the next post, please follow this page.

My Time Between Psych Degree and Social Work

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.

My problem when I came home from Seattle (I was there doing a graduate program meeting) was to find a satisfying job.  Because I had been laid off the last job I had, I could file for unemployment. 

One of the requirements to receive unemployment was to apply to a new job at least twice a week.  I started keeping records and after a couple of months had racked up over 200 different places I had sent my resume to and over 25 in-person interviews.

So much for the end of 1988.  My daughter Kara gifted me with another grandchild, another boy she named Joseph.  By this time I had no clue where she was living.  She kept my sister Myra informed and Myra passed the information on to me.

Kara Lamphere

One thing Myra told was that Johnny, Kara’s husband had been arrested for spouse abuse and they almost arrested Kara who was pregnant at the time because when he hit her she clobbered him with a frying pan. Would this drama ever go away?

Jobs were scarce during the first 8 months of 1989.  I worked odd jobs and tried to figure out where my life was going.  Nothing seemed to be working out for me.  I was so depressed.

I finally focused on getting a job at the University of Utah.  I started at the School of Medicine’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine (DFPM) in late January of 1990.  I looked into the Social Work program and discovered they were taking applications for the next year’s program.

university-of-utah

The Social Work application and all required materials had to be in by February 15th. I crunched all the paperwork and threw the packet together and had it in the Social Work office on time. So much for hurry up and wait!

Since there wouldn’t be any decisions made in the SW program until early summer I wondered what to do for myself in education.  My friend, Sam was applying for a Nursing Management program at the University of Phoenix.  She said I should think about a graduate degree there.

Sam mentioned that the first class she was required to take was on Human Resource Management. I decided to take it with her.  The class was interesting and useful, but I really wanted to do Social Work.

DFPM was an interesting place.  Our office trained Family Practice (FP) physicians. My job when I first was hired was as a secretary to a Geriatric physician, Doctor “G” who I’ll say was an excellent diagnostician, but a not-so great supervisor.  He tried to throw his weight around and that’s not something I can tolerate very long.

My co-workers were some of the best people out there. They were really hard workers and good friends. The FP Chair was Joseph Hess, M.D. who I consider the most effective leader I ever worked for. If you did your job, he would go to the ends of the earth to protect you. 

When I finally had enough of Doctor “G,” I went to Dr. Hess and gave him my notice and he said, “Heck no, you’re not quitting. The office needs you and your skills.”

Doctor

Doctor Hess called a meeting between our office manager, Dr. G and myself.  He asked me what my issues were. He then asked Dr. G what his were.  Dr. G started to complain about me, but Dr. Hess wasn’t having any of his ramblings. 

Doctor Hess told Dr. G that I was no longer his secretary and that I was now the assistant program coordinator for the Family Practice annual continuing education (CE) meetings. I was blown away.

Family Practice also had interns in their program.  The office manager, Kathy had me help her with the scheduling and meetings with potential interns for our program.  

The training meetings were a blast. Getting to know the doctors was a joy.  We scheduled 4 days of continuing education for the FP doctors usually in the early summer at that time.  There were booths of medical paraphernalia, pharmacies and other items doctor’s offices could use

Group of Doctors

The 3 years I spent working at DFPM were interesting and fulfilling. I learned what I was capable of doing and gained experiences that would become useful in my later careers. Yes, I said careers, because I’ve had several since 1993.

The Social Work Program finally made their decision around May of ’90. The admissions director called my office to see if she could meet with me.  We set up an appointment time and I was on pins and needles before she arrived. 

Of course she was kind and explained the unusual circumstances of meeting directly, since they usually sent out letters notifying the students of acceptance. Miracles of miracles, I was accepted! 

I had applied to the regular Social Work day program as well as the afternoon-evening program.  The glitch was that I had been accepted into both programs. Now I had to decide which one. 

I ultimately chose the afternoon-evening Social Work program so I could keep working. Dr. Hess was willing to work with me and make adjustments to my working schedule so that I was still working 40 hours a week. I was so grateful to him for his understanding.

Funny Doctor

The summer months passed quietly.  The FP continuing education went very well.  We did have a few glitches, like every conference has.  At one presentation, the videos wouldn’t work. At another one, the presenter became ill and we had to cancel his course. It was still a very good 4 days. 

Social Work: I was so excited to begin my Social Work program. The program had hours that were equivalent of some medical professionals, 60 credit hours.  Most Masters’ Programs are 45 credit hours. The Social Work hours included 2 practicum/intern placements. 

My first year was devoted to pure academics.  For the afternoon program, the first practicum didn’t begin until the second year.

At home things were getting a bit crazy.  My father began exhibiting symptoms of dementia.  He was normal most every day, but at night he seemed to become disoriented, a thing that medical professionals called “sun downing.” He would wake up in the middle of the night and wander around the house. 

My Dad

One night, I heard a loud thump that brought me awake quickly.  I found dad on the floor next to the couch.  He thought he was on the far end instead of the other side of the couch. Dad kept falling and it became obvious that he was going to need more help than either mom or I could give him. His health also seemed to be getting worse by the day.

One Saturday after dad tried to drown the bathroom, we called his doctor and had him admitted to a care center. Dad always thought he was in a hospital and we never said it was anything else.

We visited dad regularly and even celebrated Christmas with him.  The facility had a private dining room and we had dinner and opened gifts like we usually did.

The year had been a good year for me for the most part.  We worried about my dad, but he was where he would get good care and not stress mom or me anymore than necessary.

My Social Work classes began the first regular week of January.  The Gulf War “Operation Desert Storm” also started that week. The next week my father died of a stroke in the care center.  I began to wonder what else was going to go wrong that year.

The classes helped keep me going, so did my work.  Everyone was so supportive which was really helpful.  There were times when I almost lost it from the stress. I don’t give up very often, so I just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny.

Thanks for reading. This story will continue in the next post.

Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:

Wasatch International Adoptions

Children’s Service Society

Thanks for reading. If you want to be notified of the next post, please follow this page.

My Interrupted Education Life

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.

Ann’s Graduation Picture – My Favorite Picture

Westminster College:

 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.

The boy is angry or sick

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.

Pregnant lady

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.

Graduation Party 2020

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.

Ann and Dr. Dick at graduation

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.

U of W at Seattle

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.

Passenger Train

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.

If you like what I’ve written, you can see previous editions of my posts in the “blog” section of my site. If you would like to be reminded when I publish a new post, please add your email and follow my page.

Evolution of Christmas Traditions in My Life

For first time visitors to this blogmy 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.

Christmas Break

Today, I’m taking a break from My Adoption Story.  It is 6 days until Christmas. How are you doing? Is Covid-19 doing a number on your holiday celebrations?

This year is going to be totally different for many people, my family included. The virus quarantine has made it so sad. We can’t visit family in Utah and they can’t visit us in Colorado.

Christmas has always been a time of joy and family activities. Every family has traditions that happen every year and cement our relationships. I used to say, “God help those people who join our family for the first time at Christmas.”

Our family’s first, very strong, tradition began with my mother. If she were still with us, she’d be 110 this year. (LOL) Her family celebrated on Christmas Eve with a huge dinner.

Gift giving occurred after the dinner. When mom was a child, gifts included new socks, an orange and a small pack of nuts. All these gifts were never wrapped.

By the time my sister was born, gift giving was still after dinner on Christmas Eve. The gifts were still few, but more personal and usually wrapped.  Have you ever seen what 70 year old gift wrap looked like?

I don’t know about you, but my first really strong memory of Christmas happened when I was 4 years old.  That’s when I found out that my mother was Santa Claus.

It was 1945. My dad was in the Army and stationed in Occupied Japan.  He came home in 1946, so Christmas was a little sad for me in 1945.

On Christmas Eve after dinner, my mom and Myra, my sister wanted to give me something good from Santa.  Myra took me to our bedroom to distract me while mom told Santa what we wanted.  Then I heard big boots trampling through the house.

When Myra was not paying attention, I ran out of the room.  Standing there by our tree with packages in her hands and my dad’s old boots on was my mother.  I was so disappointed, I just cried and cried, “There is no Santa Claus!” My poor mother couldn’t console me.

Until I was around 11 or 12 I had to pretend to my friends every Christmas that I believed in Santa. I’ve always felt that I missed something in those younger years; that wistful fairy land called the North Pole. But, I still love Christmas.

How do your traditions evolve with each new addition to your family? Ours for many years stayed pretty stable.  Even when my sister married my brother-in-law, Herman, we kept to the same routine: eat a huge meal, do dishes, open presents and attend a church service at midnight Christmas Eve.

Herman had never really celebrated Christmas when he married Myra. Our family gave him a set of traditions he never had.  He was pretty overwhelmed by everything because we spoiled him with lots of presents, big and small.

We pretty much held on to our fun times, even when Myra and Herman had their sons.  We somehow convinced them that Santa had too much to deliver on Christmas Eve, so he visited their home early and had the family hide their gifts. The picture below is like a train one of the boys received for Christmas.

Because we celebrated on Christmas Eve, everyone got to sleep in on Christmas Day. As kids my sister and I played with our toys and let our parents sleep in. Myra and Herman’s boys did the same for them.

A tradition that began with the boys is how to make the kids crazy.  We would hide the present and put the location note in a box under the tree.  Watching them do the treasure hunt was so much fun.

We also loved wrapping presents in various ways. One time there was a snowman covering a box of dishes. Sometimes the box would be big with several smaller boxes inside each other; the smallest one would either have a tiny gift or a note about the real present.

When the boys were older and started their own families, they had to deal with both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions of the other families. Most of the time the boys spent Christmas Eve with us and Christmas Day either at home with their growing families or with their wives’ families. Those grandkids made off like bandits with double the gifts.

Gifts Snowflakes Packages Blue Christmas Fir Pine Bokeh Snow

When my daughter, Kara was at home, celebrating the holidays was a bit of a struggle.  She never understood Christmas.  I think that she was not used to the family gatherings and may have been overwhelmed with all the gift giving and noise.

The 4 Christmases she spent with me before she married, were some of the most stressful times of my life.  She always started a fight, either with me or my mother or she would start screaming until no one enjoyed themselves.

Christmas dinner

Christmases returned to our traditional celebrations after Kara was no longer in the picture. Our special dinners included a ham, a pot roast and/or a turkey.  The sides included stuffing, apple and banana salad, deviled eggs, and (for the last 20 years) green bean casserole. The pies were pumpkin and apple.

We always made enough food for an army. Everyone took home leftovers for the next week. Since we’ve been in Colorado, we’ve not made all that much food.  There are 4 of us here and since the quarantine is in full blast, that number is still just going to be 4. Maybe more next year.

Red Jeep

Do you have any favorite Christmas presents? I can remember a few from my childhood. Everybody laughs when I tell them 2 of my favorites were a red Jeep with a working steering wheel and a functional dump truck. My nephews played with that Jeep until it gave up the ghost.

Of course I received dolls and some of them were really special. One year my sister and I received a set of twin dolls. Mom made several outfits for them and my dad made us a set of bunkbeds.  Another year I got a baby doll; Kara played with that doll the first year she arrived.

I have always loved my toys.  My grand-nephew, Jeff asked what I wanted for Christmas this year.  I said an Amazon gift card.  He growled and said he hated giving gift cards. So I gave him my wish – I wanted a Baby Yoda doll!! He laughed so hard.  I’m not sure what he has for me but it should be interesting. 

What I’m wishing is that you all have a Christmas full of positive traditions and memories.

Merry Christmas

Adoption and a Criminal Element

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.

You can see previous editions of my posts in the “blog” section of my site. If you would like to be reminded when I publish a new post, please add your email and follow my page.

The Thief:

Less than a month after Kara and Johnny’s wedding, things started to go downhill.  IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT.  The rain was coming down in torrents.  Myra and Herman, my sister and brother-in-law went to bed early and all their lights were off.  Myra had left her purse on the kitchen table.  The next morning it was gone and the front door was unlocked.

Kara and Johnny

They called the police and reported it missing.  It was discovered that whoever took the purse tried to get money out of 2 bank ATMs.  They managed to get $200.  The question became “How did they get it without a code?”  The police were mystified to say the least and so were Myra and Herman.

A couple of weeks later, the next door neighbors of Kara and Johnny reported some thefts from their storage shed.  The police asked them who they thought it could be and they pointed out the kids’ apartment. The police confronted them, questioned them and carted Johnny off to jail.

The police questioned Kara and she led them to an open field where they found my sister’s purse.  It seems that when Johnny was living with them, he would bring in the mail.  He opened the one with the card code and put it away for further use.  He also had a key to their house from living there.

Prisoner in handcuffs

On further questioning Kara also confirmed that Johnny was responsible for my parents’ missing license plates. He sold the tags for drug money.

Of course, Kara had to move.  The first of many times.  Her trustee helped pay the rent and ordered her a washer and dryer, a set that would be replaced many times in the next few years.  Patsy, Johnny’s sister moved her into an apartment in the four-plex she lived in.

Johnny was released into the community.  He was to be supervised by a person from the Office of Probation and Parole.  That person turned out to be my friend Janice who was doing an internship with that office. 

When Janice explained that she was a good friend of his mother-in-law and this might be a conflict, they told her that was okay, because they couldn’t get a handle on what he was. Janice followed him for about 3 months and in that time he behaved himself.

Kara had a baby boy in November.  She named him Joshua.  I worried about him, but I would not go over to their apartment unless Johnny wasn’t home. 

At that time, Johnny wasn’t working.  They were living on some of her Trust money that she was awarded after being raped in the hospital when she had her first baby (not Johnny’s), Janice kept me up to date on what was happening.

At Christmas we tried to drop off gifts at her door. I could hear the baby crying, but no one was answering the door.  I turned the knob and the door opened. 

Myra and I went in and found the baby propped up on the couch, but no sign of Kara.  While we waited for someone to come home, we took turns loving him and changing his diaper. 

After about 15 more minutes, Kara finally returned.  I could hardly control my anger.  Myra sent me to the car while she tried to explain to her how to care for a baby. Kara said she was visiting a neighbor and had done this many times and the baby was always okay when she returned.

I wanted to turn her in to Child Protective Services, but my sister and mother talked me out of that. Myra told me Kara had promised her not to leave Joshua alone again. I had to take Kara at her word, but I had my doubts.

The next few years will be chronicled in the following blog posts.  They will focus on my quest to become a social worker and find my niche as an adoption social worker.

Thanks for reading.

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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