Judi Kloper´s roll call on ICHILD
Received: Mo Okt 06, 2003 3:21
Subject: roll call: Judi and family
Well, some of you saw my i.d. on the bottom of my post on Ichild a week ago.
But I'll officially do it again.
I'm Judi Kloper and I'm married to a great guy, sometimes my sixth kid,
Peter. Peter is an avid hang glider and snowboarder and whitewater rafter and
kayaker. Yes, our life insurance is paid up. We're both in our very late
forties....next year is the BIG one.
We live in Oregon, but I grew up in a suburb of Boston. My extended family
is still there. Peter is from a military family so lived all over the USA,
particularly Florida, Georgia, N and S Carolina, and later, Hawaii.
Our kids are, in order of arrival:
Dana Tarun from IMH Calcutta, 8 weeks old at arrival, now 21. He's a real
sweetheart, always smiling, and he ends every conversation whether in email or
on the phone, with "I love you Mom." Dana also has a hard life in many ways.
He was born three months early, and almost died. He has severe quadriplegic
cerebral palsy and a bilateral hearing loss. That has not stopped him at all,
and he's in his third (or fourth) year of college at ORegon State University.
He lives in an apartment in a dorm with full time caregivers. We don't see
him a lot unless he wants money. He is not terribly connected to his Indian
heritage, though we did raise him with many opportunities for that. He says
he's American and happy with that. His greater challenges in life have not
been that he's been one of the only 'brown' kids in a white society, but that he's
physically limited in many many ways, in fact, all ways. He is a fantastic
speech (lip) reader and understands sign language. Can't sign though due to
his quadriplegic CP. After changing majors a few times he thinks he's found what
he's wanted to do...be a sports writer. Last year he was a feature writer on
the university newspaper staff and actually, I was quite impressed with his
writing skills. He wrote some great columns...and I have no interest in sports
and still found them interesting to read.
Chandan Gyde is soon to be 27...he came to us at age 7, or thereabouts, in
1983. He lived in a jail, yes, a prison, in Calcutta, and in fact many of the
older kids adopted in the late seventies and into the 1980s from Calcutta did
indeed come from these jails. Chandan was in the Presidency Jail. He was one
of 11 boys kept there, all with disabilities, that were released at the same
time and most adopted in the USA. The jail labeled him
defective. I will always be grateful to Cherie Clark for securing his release and that of the other
children kept in the prisons of Calcutta. Chandan is deaf, which we knew. He
walked off that plane and into our lives with an exhuberance for living
that we could not stifle. As time went on, we discovered that teaching him in a way
he could learn was a major challenge. He attended the school for the deaf and
eventually our local public school. After five years we accepted that
Chandan was not just deaf but so delayed that he was 'fuctionally retarded.' He has
not caught up, but does have some skills that just blow us away. He
functions mentally, academically, and emotionally as a four year old might. He signs
and tries to talk, and understands best when sign and speech are used. As
time went on, other problems developed and he has severe ulcerative colitis,
obsessive compulsive disorder, autistic characteristics, and possibly tourette's
syndrome. I am sure I"m leaving something out. He lives in a group home with
other mentally handicapped young adults and works five days a week. He is a a
contributing member of society! He is an avid and terrific fisherman and loves
to play soccer and basketball and backpack in the mountains. To write about
Chandan would require a long separate post (or posts) and I will do that
someday because over the years I have not written much about him, not since he
attacked my then 7 yr old son with the weed eater. Some of the long time
Ichilders might remember my posts about those days. Still, as hard as it's been with
Chandan, he's our son and we don't regret adopting him.
Our third child is Rehema Matiya, who came at age 9 and is now 25. I met
Rehema in Calcutta
when I was escorting for IMH. She was one of 51 girls at the orphanage and it was as if she chose me. It's a story I should repost on
ICHILD sometime. Rehema had been in Lillooah (spelling?) Home "for delinquent and
juvenile girls" and again Cherie Clark secured the released over a few years'
time a number of girls from there. In fact, before we adopted Rehema, a
scandal had occured in which it was discovered that girls from this large
government orphanage were being sold into prostititution to Delhi and Bombay. (The
ONLY IMH news booklet I am missing is the one with that reprinted story in
it...if any of you old IMHers might have that, please let me know) (Cheryl M. in
Colorado, do you have that one?) Rehema had resided at IMH from the end of
January till mid Sept. 1987. She had had no education. Cherie was not sure of
her age but thought of her as possibly six. Well, we didn't think so, so as
we did Chandan, we changed her age too, and not just once but a few times over
a few years. We were well prepared back then by other adoptive families in
our area who had adopted from Colombia and India and had kids who were older
than thought, and our agency (PLAN) had prepared us as well, since some of their
staff had experienced the same thing in their adoptions. For that reason I
have been vocal over the years on ICHILD and other lists and in my job as a
coordinator of an adoption program about this very thing, that the children
are often older than an age listed or given. I will say it again and again. Our
daughter started puberty soon after she arrived, and we ended up jumping her a
few grades, i.e. started in first grade, went to third the next year, and
fifth the next. We wanted to keep her near her age group; as it was, it was
difficult to see a first grader with a developing chest, and suddenly in grade three
(better there than grade 2) have to teach her how to use pads for
While Dana has been challenging due to his physical limitations, and Chandan
has been challenging due to his mental limitations, Rehema has been extremely
challenging due to her emotional limitations and more. ESL (English as Second
Language) was an issue, as were learning disabilities. But more than that
were the layers of issues that she unloaded from her baggage she came from India
with. It wasn't 'adoption' per se, but the circumstances that led to her
being available for adoption, the circumstances that found her in a government
orphanage and a privately run orphanage. She had longed for a birth family and
tried to find hers to no avail. She longed for us to be Indian and we aren't.
She longed for the Indian community here to recognize her and they didn't.
We persevered. She loves us and we love her. She knows she is ours and she
loves her siblings as if they were all born into the same family. Still, this
young woman has presented me many times over with the challenge of
unconditional love. I have continually asked myself how to keep loving someone who can
be so manipulative, mean and hurtful....and yet I know I must and I do. I have
also learned to set up boundaries and know what they are and honor them, and
I have also, most importantly, learned to let go. And since setting boundaries
about what behaviors I (and my husband) will accept and since letting go,
Rehema, while not making the best of choices, has started to show more of a
willingness to rejoin our family again. She moves from place to place, staying
with so called friends till she gets kicked out. She knows that she has
depression and she knows she has borderline personality disorder. What she chooses to
do with this knowledge, how she chooses to take care of herself, will
determine the course of her life. We cannot and will not do any more for her because
she must do for herself. She is an adult now, and since the law says that and
she adamantly tells us that, we do what my 80 yr old friend in India told me
many years ago after getting to know Rehema when she lived there and
volunteered at orphanages. Leela told me to 'let go and let God.' Best advice I ever
received and it's some of the best advice I can give to some of you who have
struggled as we have.
Our fourth child is Jake, or Jacob Jameel, named Jameel after an IMH adoptive
parent's daughter Jameela died when she was very young, due to a condition
she was born with. (Jameel is a Muslim name meaning Radiant One). Jake was
born to me 6 weeks early, and caused me to gain 60 pounds. (have to blame
it on someone). As I've mentioned before, he told people he was born in a hospital
in Portland, India. IN fact, when we met Hilary Clinton a number of years
ago, he told her, "I'm the only one in my family not adopted." Poor kid! Jake
is now 15 and a freshman in high school.
Last but not least is our daughter Dassi Chang Yan from China; Dassi, once a
quiet shy child (for the first few hours of our meeting in China) is now a
loud determined 9 yr old. She came home at age 13 months weighing 13 pounds.
She had been with her birthfamily and nursed till she was nine months old and
was in the orphanage for four months. She attends grade four at our Waldorf
School. She seems to maybe have some learning disabilities. Just what I was
hoping to avoid but looks like we are going to be dealing with IEPs again! Dassi
definitely has some adoption issues, if that is what we should call them.
She hates it when I leave even to go to the gym to work out. Last year we all
went back to CHina and found her village which was an amazing experience. That
and climbing the Great Wall and seeing the panda bears were the highlight of
her two week vacation there. This past summer Dassi joined me to escort a
child to the USA from Samoa and it was a fabulous trip; she was a very big
help and it was beneficial for the foster family and social worker there to see how
we got along as mom and daughter.
That's it for the kids. Peter is a building contractor in Oregon building
mostly agricultural buildings. I used to teach in a special education class at
a high school. As you read in my post last week or so, I have taught adoption
classes for years at the community college and founded an adoption support
group in 82. I did homestudies for an agency and presented workshops basically
on dealing with anger in kids who are adopted. And in 1999, I started an
India adoption program for Journeys of the Heart Adoption Services, the
culmination of my dream, and our first kids came home in 2000.
So there you have it, brief as I always am.
Happy Jewish New Year to all of you...no matter your faith. May you all be
inscribed in the Book of Life for a joyful and prosperous new year.
Judi in Oregon
Thou hast made me known
to friends whom I knew not.
Thou has given me seats in homes not my own.
Thou has brought the distance near
and made a brother of the stranger.