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Judi Kloper´s roll call on ICHILD


Message: 37254

From: JudiKO@...

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.


2003 Oct 6