. -................................................................--- .
Thank you for taking the time to read their letters.
Except where birth parents have requested otherwise, Identifying information has been omitted to protect the children. So, as clarification for legislators that have asked - YES - These letters have come from many different states. And NO - the tribes involved are not always from the same state as the child. ICWA allows tribes to petition for jurisdcition across state lines
Are these families receiving Due Process and Equal Protection?
- Indian Child Welfare Act -
30) July 5, 2006
We are a foster family and we have a 1\2 caucasian 1\2 african american child who has a little native american blood in him. We have had this child since birth and are wanting greatly to adopt him. In researching, my family has native american. As a matter of fact, it would be my great-grandparents who where native american. I have names and dates of birth and death but how do I find out if they were registered or not? No one seems to be able to help me with this matter. But this child is the love of our life and we need this info asap. please let us know if you can help us with any info.
UPDATE January 29, 2008
We have a little boy in which we have had since his birth on March 10, 2005. He came to us straight from the hospital and then his parents rights were severed in September of 2005. This child is African American and Caucasian and well then we found out he is Native American as well. The tribes from Oklahoma then became involved and just treated us horrible. They would say things to us like even though we were the only family that he had ever known that he needed to be with a family that was of the Native American descent. Who cares really. They never came and met this little boy, never attempted any assistance and only made contact when they thought they may have found a family. They held things up for so long. The lies they told were horrible and the things that they said where aweful. After finding out that he had a lot of severe behaviors and that it was going to cost them money they backed off though. They want no financial obligations to anything, just the power or you might say control over everything. You have to be strong and tell them like it is though.
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29) June 19, 2006
I am a non-Indian married to a member of the ...Indian Nation Iroquois tribe. I have been married to him for 6 years and we have 3 children together. I am in the middle of a divorce/seperation due to physical and emotional abuse of my children and myself. It was not my choice to do this as it was his.
Right now he is currently incarcerated at the ...County Jail due to DWI and disorderly conduct. My children are not enrolled in the tribe due to his non compliance. I am trying to get full custody of my children because they are not safe in his care at this time. He has never helped provide for his children and he is always drunk,high or in jail. My question to you is are they covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978(25 USC 1901-1963)? I need to know in order for my children and I to be safe. Please contact me and let me know. I am in desperate need to find out. ...Thanks so much for taking your time to help me and my children.
UPDATE November 26, 2006
Lisa, Since I have spoken to you I havent been able to come up with anything. I have yet to file for divorce because I am scared of what my husband (ex) will do as far as his rights in the nation. I need to get blood work done on my 3 children to see about how much native they are. Then depending on that I will file for divorce. I dont know where I can get that process done,so if you know please let me know. My ex and I have gone to court for obligated child support. He hasnt paid in two years usually in jail and barely holds down a job. He told me after court that he was gonna quit his job before he pays me child support. He has also threatened to take me for custody of the children. I left about 2 1/2 yrs ago and he has never had the kids more than two days at a time I am worried about my childrens welfare, is there anything I can do?
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28) June 18, 2006
I have an adopted six month old son that is part ... Indian. On June 28, ... we will go to court to decide the fate of my son. Either he will be taken from the only home he has ever known, or he will stay with our family. (He) was born on January 2006. He was brought to us straight from the hospital. The ... Nation was aware of the adoption from the very start. They showed up at the first hearing for temporary custody and had no complaints. They were given a copy of our home study and stated they just wanted to make sure things were done properly. The Nation missed the next two court dates, which included the mother’s termination of her rights and the unknown father’s rights as well.
After missing the second court date and having no correspondence with my attorney, the Nation mad a motion to remove my son from my home. As you know, the ICWA is powerful and I am scared. Is there anything we can do? I have tried unsuccessfully to establish my .. heritage. My son means the world to me and I cannot imagine our lives without him. My adopted six year old daughter adores her little brother and is also worried about him leaving. I have hired an expert witness who testified as to the attachment theory and the whole “best interest of the child” clause. Do I have any chance at all? I would appreciate any assistance you could provide me with. Thank you in advance for your assistance. I wish I would have found your site sooner!
UPDATE October 4, 2006
Thank you so very much for your thoughts and prayers. We are still waiting to hear from the Judge. I hope to hear something this week or next. We finally got the interstate compact approved ...(Our state) denied the placement until the Judge makes a ruling. I was looking for case law and any legal advice my attorney could have used. Keep praying.
UPDATE July 30, 2007
Thank you so very much for all your thoughts and prayers over the past 19 months. Please continue to keep us on your prayer list for a little longer. My attorney called today and said the Cherokee Nation has filed a request for decision. What this means is a decision in our case will be made very soon. We are still cautiously optimistic about what decision he will make. This journey has been a long one and we appreciate all the support you have given us. Please keep my entire family on your prayer list. There alot of people that will be effected by the Judges decision. Feel free to forward this prayer request to anyone of your friends that have been praying for us.
...here is a brief summary:
In January 2006, we adopted a little boy from a young mother who made the brave decision to have her baby instead of having an abortion. The mother had the baby in an Indian hospital in Oklahoma. She was unsure what tribe she was enrolled in, but knew her mother had a card. After further investigation, it was discovered she is 1/128th Cherokee. That makes my son 1/256 or .0039% Native American and 99.9961% not. In the Cherokee tribe, there is no blood quantum which means you can be one-one millionth and still be enrolled as a member. To our horror, we found out there is a Federal Law (ICWA) that prohibits non-Indians from adopting Native American children; discrimination at it's finest.
The law was passed in the 70's to perserve the Native American cultures and customs of children that were being taken off of reservations due to neglect or abuse. On the surface this law sounds like a good idea. In our case as well as many others, the law should not apply. My son is 99.9961% something other than Native American. His mother, being raised in Oklahoma, was very adamant about the Cherokee Nation NOT raising her child and the court records show this. In April of 2006, we were notified of the Cherokee Nation's intent to take us to court and remove our son from our home. We went to court in June of 2006 when my son was 6 months old. Since then, we have been in a constant state of panic and unsurity, cringing every time we go to the mail box, or the phone rings. I think it is also important to note there are over 2000 Cherokee children already in foster care. It is beyond my reasoning to figure out why they would want to take my 19 month old son out of a good home and put him into the system. If there are adoptive homes available, why are there so many Cherokee children in foster care? Why not place them in adoptive homes and give them a chance for stability?
... Thank you in advance for your prayers.
- Families across America need Your help today. Please click here now to make a tax-deductible contribution to the CAICW Legal Fund, Missionary Fund, or General Fund.
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27b.) June 9, 2006
We have lived this problem! We live in Virginia and were foster parents. A 15 month old little boy came to us. He was under nourished and had been taken from his alcoholic parents by force. It was clear that there had been much turmoil in this little boy’s life because he was very frightened of people and loud noises. He bonded well to me, foster mom, and would cry for me even when I took a shower. I quite my part time job because it seemed his need for me was greater than our families need of the extra income.
Mom was unable to stay sober and finish a treatment program. Dad was able to stay sober but struggled with schizophrenia and committed suicide. We asked to adopt our foster son. That is when we found out that he is 1/32 Muscogee Creek on mom’s side. She wanted him to go to one of her siblings. Home studies reviled alcoholism in each of those families. Birth mom never registered with her tribe, never lived on a reservation and did not introduce her Indian heritage to her other children at any time. This was a loop hole for her to exploit. There was a third cousin of our foster son’s grandfather who was in her 60’s. She lived in Colorado with her husband and adopted teenage son. They wanted our foster son who was at this time two and a half.
Thankfully the county has a psychologist interview us with our foster son and had the cousin fly in and be observed with our foster son alone on two occasions. We went to court with a VERY expensive lawyer to fight against the county and the cousin for custody of our foster son. It was very tense and difficult for all involved. The judge had never known of the ICWA. The outcome was that, by the grace of God, we were our foster son’s legal guardians. The judge was not comfortable in letting us adopt thus severing the mother’s parental rights completely. We have struggle financially after the extreme legal costs but we have a wonderful 8 year old little boy.
We have kept him in contact with his half siblings as well as the cousin in Colorado. We have also made sure we educate him regarding his Indian heritage. My guess would be that he is more in touch with his Indian heritage than any of his half siblings. We are very thankful that we had a judge who kept the child’s best interest as the focus. We are probably lucky that no one had ever dealt with the ICWA before so were not afraid of it before we began.
We had no idea that many other people were suffering because of this Act. We will keep you all in our prayers. Please keep up the good work. No one wants to take away these children’s Indian heritage but shouldn’t best interest of the child always be most important?
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27) June 8, 2006
To whom it may concern, PLEASE HELP!!!!!! Today My son and I went to the .... court to have a review hearing .... My son is the father, but because we didn't send money to help support her He is now being told that he has no rights. We have tried repeatedly to talk to these people but to no avail. We were never told of our rights and have never had any contact with this child. 15 months old and still have no idea what this child looks like. We were told that she is placed with a (tribal) family and that because we're white IT DOESN"T MATTER !!
I am pleading with anyone and everyone to help us. We are desperate and have to reappear in court on July 13, 2006 .... We are not rich by any means and hav tried to find an attorney to assist us in this matter, But all we ever get is $2500.00 just to hear our case. I am having a hard time trying to keep my son upbeat and sane. At 24 he doesn't know what to do. I am the stong one and trying to carry the load for him, but the ... Nation doesn't give much credence to Grandparents or their rights. Please write back with some advice or maybe some way to go. Do I have any legal rights as a Grandmother? Who do I contact for some help? How can I help this child get to her Father?
... We are grateful for any help we can receive. My son is so distraught right now I am really reaching to help him. My heart breaks to see my son in such pain. He is a young 24 year old and really at a loss. What avenue do I take to help him? How can I comfort his heart while the Lord heals his pain? We all have the grace of God on our side but the trials of life can really take you for a spin. The (tribe) have told us that we have to give up our rights. We have court again ... I am trying to contact a Lawyer Monday and hopefully it won't cost too much. I am debating on whether or not to send money for her support. But what guarentees do I have that the money will be used for her and her only? I have clothes and articles for her but I can't be sure that she will receive them or even wear them.
UPDATE June 21, 2006
....Hopefully the attorney I talked with yesterday will take our case. He seems real nice and he's a member of the same tribe that is trying to take my son's rights away. He even apologized to me on behalf of the tribe for all that is being done to us. He says that the tribe can't take my son's rights away because he is not a member of the tribe. Pray for us and our baby. I have hope and faith that he will assist us in every way, of course I begged him to help and told him how many lawyers we called. He once did this kind of work but not anymore. But after begging he set up an appoinment to see us. Maybe a good sign.
I will keep in touch and I would love to get your newsletter. Please keep us in your prayers and I'll send a picture when we get one. The attorney was saying that the judges aren't even real judges they were placed there by the tribe and he and his brother have been trying to change this for a long time. I would love to meet you sometime and get to know the angels that have come our way. Talk about divine intervention! The lord does work in many ways and I have faith that he will help us overcome this obstacle. Bless you all. Please keep in touch and i look forward to hearing from you soon.
UPDATE July 13, 2006
Dear Lisa, Well we had court today and it didn't go well. But our
attorney is prepared to take it to state court. I am confident that
we will succeed in that court. There were 2 case workers there that
walked out of the court after the verdict because they both knew that
it was wrong. Apparently the case worker for the baby was coerced
into testifying against us.
But the attorney had us stop by after court and reassured
us that he knows the case worker and the judge that will hear the
case in state court and he will talk to both of them. The 2 case
workers that walked out will testify in court for us. So, although it
looked grim it really is going better than I had hoped. Now the
hard work begins. I gave the attorney the case you sent me. He had
not read it and was interested in the case. So you may have helped
more than you know. I thank you.
I will try to get back to you as the case goes on. Please
pray for us as we travel this difficult road. keep in touch and take
care. May God keep you in his arms and guide your every step.
UPDATE March 8, 2007
I know it has been awhile since I have written to you but we have been fighting to get my grandaughter. I wrote to you some time back about the .... indians trying to take my son's rights away. You sent me a case to give to my attorney. Well we went to court, they tried to take his rights away and we fought and WON!!!!! We now have (baby) and she is beautiful. Now they are trying to take her back. I am now faced with having to come up with $15,000 to $30,000. I don't know if I can come up with this kind of money and I don't know what to do! I am trying to hang tough for my son and so afraid that they will come on our private land and snatch her away. I have an attorney but he wants the money before he even tries to tackle the case. He is an excellent attorney and he is part of the ....tribe. He has been great to us and very good at his job. Please help in any way you can . I look forward to any advice you can give us on this matter. Please write back! Thank you and please say a prayer for us.
UPDATE April 14, 2007
I know it has been awhile I have written. The case is still on hold until the court of appeals gets their case files. The tribe has tried to supeana(sp) us but luckily I contacted my attorney and he started the ball rolling to prevent any removal of the baby. The tribe even contacted the county sheriff's office to issue bogus orders to remove the baby, but luck was on our side. Now we have to wait and see what happens. No word yet. ... She is a well adjusted baby and very happy with her father.
I received your packet today. Count me in for the trip to DC. I look forward to telling the world how we have been treated. No one should have to endure the pain and suffering that we have all had to contend with. May God have mercy on their souls. I really owe you a huge debt for reaching out to me and my son in our time of need. You are an angel in disguise. Please pray for us all! We really need it now.
I'll try to keep you informed and will check back more often. If you do arrange the trip to DC let me know, either by mail or email. I look forward to hearing from you and will pray for you also.
Take care and much love!! God Bless You !!!!
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26) June 7, 2006
Hello ... my husband and I are currently the custodians over 2 native American children. Recently the ... tribe ... took jurisdiction from the state of Nevada leaving us in doubt of what will happen to the children that we have had in our home for the past 18 months. We are trying to get any legal assistance to support our case for wanting to keep the children. The children, twins age 3, have been our home since Dec of 2004 and our intention for the entire time has been adoption. Their biological mother is the only parent in the picture and she is my first cousin making the twins my second cousins. I have no Native blood and neither does my husband, the twins are 1/8 ...and whatever the biological father would be if any. The twins have been removed from their birth mother since the age of 10 months first living with their maternal uncle until the burden of his sisters 5 children became a strain on his own family. After looking at numerous sites they all point to the fact that emotional harm could come to the children if removed from our home. I am requesting any assistance in obtaining legal aid weather it be a private attorney or a free legal clinci that could represent us in this matter. Any help you can offer to us would be greatly appreciated.
UPDATE June 8, 2006
...I am not having any luck in locating a lawyer not am I getting any assistance from the tribe as they have no social services director, workers or case managers. And also since the tribe that my children are enrolled in is in Calfornia I would appreciate any assistance you can offer.
UPDATE June 17, 2006
I spoke with John and like you said he was a terrific man with a list of contacts. I contacted a lawyer in California and he was going to make some calls for us and get back to us on what he found out. I have not heard anything back yet. I would very much appreciate a newsletter from you when you do your mailings. I'll keep you posted as to our progress.
UPDATE January 29, 2008
The kids are doing great and we actually WON...our adoption went through last month 10 days shy of the 3 year mark when they first came to live with us...
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25) May 20, 2006
The case of my kids is unraveling quickly and i need help. the ... tribal council of alaska is involved and i have lost two of my children to their father the third is placed with hers and he is a drug addict and extremely abusive he wanted nothing to do with this child until there was money involved for him now he is trying to place my youngest child within his home and she is not his but the tribe and oregon courts seem ready to give him custody... he is an indian of a different tribe...the father of my older two children wants to fight for place ment of the youngest with him and her brothers...the tribe says no, he is not indian he is hispanic,but the brothers are indian, and i want my children together wether they are with me or they have to be with someone else, my attourney and i are fighting a losing battle it seems and i want what is best for all 4 of theses kids .
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24) May 8, 2006
My ex-husband...is a member of the ... Band of Mission Indians... He receives a large per-capita check each month. We have two daughters together, both born while we were married. We divorced in 1990 because of his alcohol and drug addictions. The judgement was for ...$500.00 per month child support, provide medical and dental insurance, and to pay for one half of child care expenses. [He] refused to honor the judgement, and had limited contact with our two daughters, often ending in violence.
UPDATE May 10, 2006
Wow...The prayers are helping and I am receiving e-mail from people that I'm certain will be of assistance. Just to let you know, my ex-husband receives between $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 monthly per-capita payments. I'm sure most people are unaware of the income that the Tribal members receive. The ... Tribe displays a generous and giving spirit yet they ignore their own Children. Keep Praying,
UPDATE May 21, 2006
I realize this is short notice but I'm hoping you will be able to lend a hand, or at least say some prayers to guide me in the right direction. On Tuesday 5/23 ... I have a state hearing on a complaint I made against the local child support agency, and the disparity in the handling of my case. We had an active case for 41/2 years in which they were able to contact my ex-husband, and get him to pay $2500.00 on an arrears of aproximately $120,000.00. They have refused to reopen my case and made minimal effort to collect from him. They were given contacts to consult with but never made an effort to do so. They never changed the amount on the support order(not that it would have made a difference in collecting) and I feel didn't do the job that I had expected. I know I am in need of legal help with this hearing. I think the County is going to squash me. Do you have any input? Advise? Words of wisdom? Prayers or Success stories you can share?
...I just finished composing a letter... They have a bottling plant on the ... Reservation and my ex received $11,448.00 in June or July 2004. I'm sure he has received more since then. I let them know that they are condoning the practice of non payment of child support. Maybe you and your 'friends' would like to add a little something to their website. They do have a comment site you can write to, so I sent them some information I'm certain they are not aware of.
UPDATE June 19, 2006
I'm still concentrating on my issue and trying to get high official involvement. I lost the case with the state and local child support agency.(I had filed a complaint when they wouldn't reopen a case for me when I provided new information) But I did receive a letter from Washington DC. The Bounty Hunter that has been searching for him was not successful in finding him, so he will try again. I have gained a lot of information through the internet. It appears that the Tribe is not following the law when they ignore the levy on wages they have received. (all 3) I'm not sure what my next step will be. I have looked into the dead beat dad law. I would like to receive your newsletter. Maybe there is something that is being overlooked. Thanks for your support,
UPDATE August 29, 2007
Dear Governor Scwarzenegger,
I am respectfully requesting your immediate attention to a situation that is the factor in preventing custodial parents from collecting any amount of court ordered child support payments from a specific group of non custodial parents residing in California. This conflict is a direct result of the protective shield you have provided to enrolled Tribal members in our state.
We are all aware of the mistreatment and injustices that the Indigenous People of our Nation were forced to endure. All due to the orders of our ignorant and greedy forefathers for land, and the abundant resources that were so availabe at the time, the Indians paid with their homes, their honor and their lives. That is unforgivable. But, now the injustices from the past is being served upon a new generation, the children of Federally recognized Native American Tribal Members in California. The Governmental protection ensures that these DEAD BEAT DADS are not legally bound by any local, county, or state orders for the emotional or financial well being of their own children. Due to the Sovereign status of the Tribe, they are under no obligation to honor any wage garnishment, nor recognition of any State or Local enforcements or requests.
I have been proactive in attempting to collect child support from my ex-husband (an enrolled tribal member) for the past 16 years. I have utilized all of the legal resources that are available, and have spent endless hours researching my options. The California Child Support Services has no jurisdiction to collect an obligation of child support from a Tribal member. Attorneys are unable to enforce an order for child support from a Tribal member. In California, if you are a member of a Federally recognized Indian Tribe, and have the ability to pay support, you are not required to meet the financial obligation of child support, and are awarded protection by the government. How do you explain the conflict this has created for so many single parents? Sources at the State level for child support, concluded that they have never been successful in collecting orders for support from a Tribal member whose only source of income is a monthly payment from Tribal resources. (often in excess of $50,000.00)
How is this justified? Why do we have a court system that doesn't merit any results? What would happen if a Superior court Judge knew that his 'orders' will fall on deaf ears? How much longer will the maltreatment of our future generations be subject to a 'conflict in interest,' between Tribe and Government? Are you willing to provide the changes necessary in our State so our Children can have a " bright future" and "ensure that every child has the financial and emotional support to which he or she is legally entitled"? I am not looking for sympathy, I am asking for justice.
UPDATE April 5, 2007
I recently submitted a question reguarding 'legal' moves utilized by a Southern California bank employee ..., and the ability to hide assets of my ex-husband,.... (and) an enrolled tribal member that failed to pay court ordered child support, and is a customer..... His arrears now total over one half of a million.dollars. United States Currency. The question I submitted deserved a YES/NO answer. My experience with the DCSS has been this, "direct questions are diverted elsewhere" WHY? Is this perhaps an issue that the federal government department of support services should be informed of? (another YES/NO question deserving an answer) Do we have such a department, won't they be following up, once informed by your dept. in the motived of the ....Bank of Californias' procedures? Please provide answers to all four of my inquiries. Thank you very much
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23) May 5, 2006
I am a member of the.... Band of ..... My son's wife plans on divorce. We have information regarding her drug abuse and behavior outside of marriage. My son traveled to M... for employment (thinking his wife and child were coming in a month) but his wife took this opportunity to party, do drugs, empty the house, and empty all the bank accounts, etc. Since my grandson was in her care at the time she did all this,because my son had gone to M... due to employment, I guess the lawyers ... assume that she will have custody, my son will pay child support and spend tons of money trying to fly back and forth to see his son.
The problem is: When I visited with my grandson (3 yrs. old) in Oct. 2005 and again last 2 weeks of March ---- I know this little boy has been exposed to some people and situations he should never have been exposed to --- and I called Dept of Social Services ... and sent reports of sexual statements made by my little grandson but they have closed the case since the child is now in counceling and state that they find no neglect or abuse???
I also know that her father drinks and has twisted his little arm behind his back - my son saw this. The little boy says Mommy has an attitude toward me. (and I don't doubt this for a minute.) I'm also concerned because I'm a bit afraid that these people have an attitude toward my son and Native American Heritage in general. My son was a most wonderful father to his little boy and it's so sad that now he will only be able to see his son whenever he has enough money. It is also sad because my son is so concerned about the welfare of his little boy in her custody because of the drugs, boyfriends etc. I mean there is some real reason for concern but we don't know what to do about it. It seems like the doors get slammed and no one is listening only because she is a woman and lives in .... and he is a man who lives outside the State of ...! The Honest Truth is that my son would be the better parent all the way around. This little boy is being emotionally abused by his mother and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it.
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22) May 1, 2006
Hello, I am a prospective adoptive mom...our story began on Nov 30th when we were matched with a young woman having twins. My husband and I accepted the match which stated BMom to be Caucasian and BDad to be Caucasian. When I met the BMom she told me about the birth father describing him with brown hair and green eyes. At the time she stated she did not want him involved as he had left her. In January our BMom reported that our BDad was back and was going to participate in the adoption. When I finally met our BDad he was not as our BMom had described...he was in fact a 6'2", black haired, brown eyed man. At the time I did not question what was going on. Everything was going along smoothly when our BMom went into labor at 33 weeks. Our twins were delivered via c-section in the early afternoon on .... We were all excited and nervous as the babies were placed in NICU. Our adoption plan was still on and everything was ok. [A day later], the Department of Human Services came in and spoke with my husband and me stating that our little girl had tested positive for marijuana so protective services had been called and BMom's two older children were going to be placed in custody.
The worker assured us that the babies would not be placed due to our adoption plan. Our BMom admitted to smoking marijuana during her pregnancy. Our little boy did not test positive. Through the coarse of dealing with DHS and then dealing with a distraught BMom, it was reported that our BDad was Native American, .... Nation. Things went back and forth as one time he said he was not enrolled then he said he was. At this time there was a lot of confusion. He is in fact enrolled in the ...Nation. Our birthfather was having concerns about the adoption plan and the legal jargon. My husband and I visited with our BParents and discussed our plan that we still wanted an open adoption. Our Bfather attempted to contact ...Nation to discuss his plan for the babies, although he was not able to actually connect with anyone.
Then DHS stepped in and removed my husband and me from the visitation list...we were visiting the babies 3 to 4 times a day to feed and snuggle. We were told that ICW was going to be involved and they were taking the babies. We have been on a roller coaster ride since that time. The twins were removed from the hospital and placed in a home without our BMom's knowledge. I have spoken with the ICW worker and she was sympathetic although not really wanting to consider placement with us as my husband and I are Caucasian. Our babies will be 1 month old this Friday. We have had no contact for 2 weeks. At this time there is question as to who the father is...remember BMom listed a brown haired, green eyed, Caucasian man as the father initially. We are hopeful to have the DHS Judge order paternity testing to see who the father is...court is on Monday, May 8th. I don't know what to do in this case. It appears that our DHS worker does not like the agency we are currently using for our adoption. We would just like to be heard. I am well aware of the Indian Child Welfare Act. I work with troubled children in an inpatient setting and have worked closely with ICW professionally.
We are afraid that we will be overlooked in this case as placement because of our Nationality...our Bfather is half .... making the twins quarter. Bfather is also Irish as am I so their Irish heritage is greater in number. My husband and I are heart broken. Any advise anyone can give us on how we can be heard in this unusual case would be appreciated. Our BMom has not been honest in her adoption plan which has lead to this situation, however she wants the babies placed with us...as does the Bfather. Now we still have the question of the original Bfather...he is willing to sign his rights away as well and place with us. Also our BMom is legally married and in the state of ... the husband is listed as the father...although the tribe has not taken that into account. Our BMom has admitted that she had relations with both suspected fathers. I am at a loss as to what to do. Who do I talk to and how do we get this straightened out? Are we even able to be considered in this strange case? I thank you if you have made it this far.
My husband and I would appreciate any input in this case that would be helpful. ... This adoption plan is the final chapter for my husband and I to be parents. We thought this was God's plan and we are so scared that we will not be able to parent these children that we love so dearly. We would love to be added to your prayer list if that is possible. Thank you so much for your time.
This message had been placed on our comment board.
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21) April 19, 2006
Comment: I am a white mother of a half native child. I was never married to the father and decided to let him visit his father for a 2 week visit. I have raised my son alone in .... for the past 3 years. I thought I was doing the right thing until he said that I would never see my dear baby boy again. I tried to go to the police, I tried to go to the court but to no avail. No one wants to help me get my son back and I am in agony without him. There isn't much I can do because he is being held on the reservation. I was told that I need to fly to .... and sign over my rights if I wanted to see my son again. I am lost if anyone could help, please help get my son back he is missed dearly and I love him soooo much
To the woman who wrote the above note on our comment board: You didn't leave any contact information; We understand what you are going through. Please do NOT sign away your rights without speaking to an attorney! We are praying for you and your child.
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20) April 25, 2006
I am currently involved in a custody battle over my son in the .... Tribal Court. My son is 35% Indian Blood, I have no Indian blood. My son lives with me in Texas. Jurisdiction was "retained" by the ...Tribal Court when I recently attempted to fight it.
The attorney I retained is also a criminal defender for the ... Tribal Court. I have a suspisions something is not right with my attorney, and the judge/Tribal court handling this is not on the up and up.
Do I have to abide by their rules? Did I have to even origianlly answer to the intial summons? I am lost....please help.
UPDATE May 11, 2006
My child has a total of 35% Indian Blood [only 13% from contesting tribe] not too sure on whether or not my son was/is eligible to be enrolled [in any of his three tribes of heritage]
The ICWA was not included in the final decision; the UCCJEA codified by the ....Tribal Code was the reasoning for the ...Tribal Court
I am a loving father in fear of losing my son. Any and all support means alot to me. Thanks for your response.
... the Tribal Court claims my son has a close connection to the Nez Perce Tribe becuase of his mother living there, and he also has cousins and uncles.
UPDATE June 20, 2006
things are good ... right now, I borrowed some $$$ (now in hugh debt), hired an attorney ..., and sued her from (my state). I appealed the Jurisidiction ruling in (their state) , which is still pending, also I now have two courts ...fighting Jursidiction pending the outcome of my appeal .... Thanks for keeping in touch. I will let you know what happens as soon I hear something. Keep us in your prayers.
UPDATE May 2, 2007
My son is still here. I contested Jurisdiction, ...Tribal court ordered they have Jurisdiction. I appealed their ruling, and while ther appeal was going on I sued the mother from Texas. Several months passed, again my son is still here. (Tribe) again claimed they were going to hold Jurisdiction. The Texas and Tribal Court are communicating whether or not to transfer Jurisdiction to Texas. It's up in the air right now...should know something soon. I'll let you know. Family here is doing great, thanks for asking :)
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19) April 20, 2006
I'm a Indian grandmother living on the reservation,i was given temporary custody of my Grandson one year ago, I have been going rounds and rounds with the ICWA workers, they are like forcing the parents to be parents, they both are on the reservation, we are a small reservation we all know each other and know what is really going on. I have reported them numerous times, but it seems no one cares about the well being of my grandson, ICWA is all about reunification, there is no thought for the child. I walked into a unity meeting, there sat all my Tribal Council members, all five members knew i had my Grandson for a year not one ever asked about him or how he is doing. They were supporting ICWA an the parents. I pray evryday for my grandson, that no harm will come to him. He was born positive with meth. I received him from the hospital, in the real world this child would of been adopted out by now. Its a shame we will never teach our Indian People responsibilty, cause we give them chance after chance. I have another meeting today, please keep me in your prayers. -----------------------------------------------
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18) April 5, 2006
Good afternoon. I am writing in desperation. I have custody of an Indian child, she has been with my husband and I for almost 2 years now. The biological mother wants reunification and is not stable. I am frightened for the well being of my daughter. My husband and I have prayed with many about this situation but we need help finding a TRUE advocate for her. Not because we want to keep her from her culture but we want to protect her from harm. We are seeking anyone in our area who may know tribal laws and what we can do. Is there anyone you can recommend? Or know of, this is my plea, please. God bless.
... Thank you for being so prompt. I am at my wits end with this situation. We are truly devoted to the Lord and can only hope that the reason all this is happening is so that we may plant that seed of curiosity to the birth mother and that she may also be saved. Thank you for you prayers. God Bless You All
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17) April 2, 2006
Comment: Two months before my nephew was born, my sister approached me about raising him as my own and after much thought I agreed. He was born on 11/28/04 and I grew to love him like my own child. I also have three teenage daughters and two step sons who are ages 6 and 7. They love him so much. On 1/23/06 my sister entered my home unannounced and uninvited and took my "son" with her back to the reservation. I found through many conversations with friends and relatives that she is using him as leverage to get an abusive husband back into her home and wanted my baby back so they can be "a real family again". This man is a registered sex offender and went so far as to remove a door and a locking doorknob from my nieces' bedrooms. One even woke with him standing over her one night. My sister has only herself in mind and not the safety of her children. This man is the alleged father of my son but he doesn't claim him and has even tossed him on the bed at two months of age calling him a little F***er and saying "this ain't my kid". I've heard that my sister leaves my boy and her two year old alone with a 11 year old while she's out partying. I petitioned the tribal court the day after my baby was taken from me and still did not get a court date for the temporary custody. So on 3/23/06 I filed an adoption petition and the court date for that is set for 4/20/06...three months after he was taken. I've lost much sleep over this and shed many tears because I miss my baby so much. The Indian Child Welfare Act is doing children more harm than good with its many tribal interpretations. The white mans way of keeping us Indians dysfunctional I suppose. I'm outraged and helpless at the same time.
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16) March 21, 2006
I am the Mother of a 7 month old child who I believe has been wrongfully removed from my custody on 03-10-06. They are going to be taking me to court to have all my rights terminated for allegations of drug/alchohal abuse. I have not been given any option to work a service plan to get my child back. They are seeking to remove soley based off of these allegations and I'm afraid because I do have a long history with this disease that I suffer from. They have no hard evidence of my child being neglected or abused because there isn't any. What can I do to protect my child?
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15) January 16, 2006 - Canadian answer
I'm not sure if you can assist me. My son's father has recently stated that he is moving to an Indian Reservation in Canada to avoid paying support that has been court ordered out of New Jersey (USA). I found your email address on a website and am hoping that you might be able to provide me with some information or a contact that might be able to help me understand how or if this is true.
CAICW forwarded the above message to a Member of Parliament. We are providing their response as information for others:
From: Thompson, Myron - Riding 1 [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:07 PM
Subject: Child Support
We have contacted the parliamentary library in reference to the questions you posed and have been provided with the following information. I hope this is of some assistance to you.
Assistant to Myron Thompson, MP
At the link below, See Section II, "Enforcement of Support"
The following is a lengthy article, however the issue of child support is
mentioned in Paragraph 54:
The web page below provides links to state child support enforcement
programs. Perhaps you constituent can contact the appropriate state for further information (I do not recall from which state you said you received the e-mail, so I am sending this instead of the individual
state's page). http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/extinf.htm
As I said, I cannot give a legal opinion or interpretation, but I hope the
above will be of some assistance.
Michele Alton, M.L.I.S.
Reference Librarian/Bibliothécaire de référence
Confederation Branch/Succursale Confédération
Library of Parliament/Bibliothèque du Parlement
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14) September 19, 2005
I am the potential identified adoptive mother of two children who were just made tribal members after they have been in the foster system for over a year. The tribe that recently took them on will not let us adopt. Our kids have been severely abused. Our daughter, who just turned four, tells me all the time that she never wants to leave us. Our son, who just turned two, doesn't know any other mother. I'm terrified and don't know where to turn for representation. I live in California can you refer me to someone? I have filed de facto parent and that should be heard soon. There is so much to this story. I would appreciate anything at all.
UPDATE September 23, 2005
....Then you know about the appellate court's decision that was just handed down on July 20th that gives California *Judges the power to terminate parental rights of Indian Children? Let me know, if not, I can send you the info. I forwarded that to CPS attorney and he is using it in court now.
*(Note: This ruling is actually good News for all Public law 280 States, including the Mandatory States (Alaska, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Nebraska and Wisconsin) and Non-Mandatory States (Washington and Idaho). This ruling gives those States jurisdiction over children who not living on the reservation.
UPDATE June 27, 2006
Lisa, We are still going through this stuff. We have the kids and they have given us guardianship but even that is not a done deal yet. Yes, please pray. I was thinking about your organization just a couple days ago. You must've heard me and my thoughts! Thanks for checking in. Blessings! PS. Are you aware of any activists/lobbyist regarding ICWA and possible changes in the law? Some things just need to be changed or defined. I am sure ICWA has its place but some parts are too vague. Like timelines.
UPDATE July 12, 2006
Our children are moving. The transition will began at the end of the month. Please continue to pray as I don't know how I am going to get through this. They will have been here 20 months. 20 months of being their mother. I want to help advocate for change. Guidance?
UPDATE October 3, 2006
Good Morning Lisa, We still have them. Twenty-two months today. There is court again today. The tribe offered guardianship and we are going to take it however, they aren't the only ones who have to agree. This is amazing to me the things that go on. Things that they want you to pretend didn't happen. Thanks for checking in. I appreciate your prayers.
UPDATE October 4, 2006
Moved to Message of Hope page!!
UPDATE April 28, 2007
Things need prayer! Court is on Tuesday and we aren't sure what we are looking at as we had to file against someone's visitation as they were being inapropriate.
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(13) July 22, 2005
We were in the process of adopting a little girl, when we found out that she had Native American heritage and the Grandparents suddenly decided they wanted to have her (last February). The courts ruled that since she couldn't be registered as part of (her) tribe (Mom wasn't registered even though Grandmother was). So we thought we were free and clear, because at this point, the State social workers thinks the best thing would be for (her) to stay with us (she has been with us almost 2 years now). Out of the blue, they indicated that the LICWAC (Local Indian Child Welfare Act Committee) recommended that she be provided to her Grandparents within 9 months. Note: They have known her since the beginning and didn't express interest until asked again in Feb. They have only seen her once despite our offers to bring her over, etc. Pretty sad.
Nobody seems to be able to tell us if LICWAC have the final say (I don't think they do) or how this works or how much hope we have. Also, we were going through a Foster-Adopt program (through New Hope - Christian organization) and we were wondering if we had any rights as Foster Adopt program. Should we be trying to get a lawyer?
I was wondering if you could provide any guidance on this. I realize you aren't lawyer's, but just wanted to get a sense of our possible rights. Also, if you could point us in the direction of a good lawyer that would be familiar with these issues. Note; We attempted to contact a lawyer and they didn't know anything. They said they would look some things up, but they never got back to us.
...Prayers would also be appreciated! Thanks Very Much and God Bless!
UPDATE September 8, 2005
God is really amazing. ...
Moved to Message of Hope page!
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12) July 19, 2005 - Canada
... I have been active in fostering for over 35 years. ... During that time we have fostered and included in our family a number of native children. Our last foster child is a great little boy who I know some of you are acquainted with. Rather than have him suffer the trauma of a move to another foster home when we moved into our new home, knowing that we were retiring from fostering, he moved in with our eldest daughter... who has made it quite well know to the Ministry of Children and Family Development that she would be willing to adopt him. This kept him in our family circle and he now calls us grandmommy and granddaddy and Jennifer is Momma. The government has adopted a very nasty direction in recent years of taking native children out of non native homes where they have been often up to 8-10 years and putting them into the native culture. We think this is absolutely wrong and not in the best interests of the child.
None of us would disagree that the best thing is to put native children into a good native resource when they are first found to be at risk. But this attempt to fix the problem at the back end is not right. They need to be putting their time energy and money into the front end of the problem and not be disrupting children's lives who have been in a loving secure environment for years. Our suggestion is that if they cannot find a native resource to take this child either through fostering or adoption within 6 months of getting custody they should leave that child who is bonding with his foster family there with the foster family having the option to adopt. Unfortunately this is happening time and time again in this province affecting hundreds of children and foster families. 48% of the children in care in BC are native so you can see how potentially large this problem is. Foster families also are being put through incredible pain and the result will probably be that the Ministry will lose many of these loving parents who just do not want to put themselves through this again.
Now, here is where we are asking for your help. Some of us in the same situation here on Vancouver Island are coming together to put pressure on the ... ministry of Children and Family Development to do something about this problem. We have native people in our group who also believe this is a bad direction for the government to pursue. Could you write a letter to the Minister about this problem and let him know how you feel about it? In particular it would be very helpful if you could include our special concern with our foster son and whether you feel it is right for him to be taken out of our family circle after 4 1/2 years. Those of you who know his name please do not use it in the letter for matters of confidentiality. ...If you have other people who you feel would be strongly against this government direction, please send this to them. We need to get all the help we can.
UPDATE February 10, 2006
There is very good news about ...the five year old native foster son that we have had in our family circle for almost five years. After a year long fight with the Ministry of Children and Family Development here ... our daughter ....who is now ... foster mom has been told that the Ministry will do all they can to facilitate ...being adopted by her. Praise be to God who has guided us all the way through this! The prayers of His people and the pressure we have put on the ministry has been the deciding factors we believe. Thanks to all who have prayed and written letters to the Minister on this whole issue. Keed praying that the Ministry will keep their word and not go back on this!
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11) June 24, 2005
A ... Indian father gave us his two children, we now only have one, a twelve year old girl whom we have been legal guardians to for over 8 and 1/2 years. We are white and have known the father for over 18 years beginning when he was 15 and a State Ward. We are moving to Texas this next week and the ...Tribe in Nebraska is going to serve us with papers to stop us from from taking her. Her father wants her to go with us to Texas but the ...Tribe ignore his wishes. How can this be? They are helping the bio mother who is Sioux Indian to get her daughter back after being gone and out of her life all these years. What rights does the twelve year old girl have. She does not want to live with her mother, as she is bonded with us since we've had her since she just turned four. This story is very long and complicated. Can you help or let us know where to turn for help in not destroying this young girl by removing her from the only family she has ever known, our family. Please, we are leaving very soon and I won't have E-mail right away.
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10) March 14, 2005
TO CAICW, MY NAME IS ... I AM AN ENROLLED ...TRIBAL MEMBER. MY GRAND CHILDREN ... ARE ALSO ENROLLED IN THE ... TRIBE. THEY WERE TAKEN FROM THERE MOTHER JAN. 29TH,2005 AND PLACED WITH ME AND MY HUSBAND, I AM THERE GRANDMOTHER AND I HAVE HAD THE GIRLS OFF AND ON SINCE BIRTH WHENEVER IT GOT TOO HARD FOR MY DAUGHTER AND SHE NEEDED HELP. MY HUSBAND AND I AGREED TO TAKE THE GIRLS FOR AWHILE. THEN OUT OF THE BLUE THE GIRLS WERE REMOVED FROM US AND PUT IN A WHITE FOSTER HOME WHEN THERE WERE OTHER NATIVE FAMILY MEMBERS AVAILABLE. THEY DID NOT NOTIFY THERE MOTHER OF COURT AND DID NOT TELL HER THEY WERE MOVED TO A WHITE FOSTER HOME. AND THE PEOPLE IN COURT WERE LOOKING AT HER JUVENILE RECORDS NOT HER ADULT RECORDS AND MAKING ALL KINDS OF ASSUMPTIONS AND THEY HAD NO BEARING ON THE CASE AT HAND!
WE NEED YOUR PRAYERS. THE KIDS HAVE NEVER BEEN AWAY FROM THERE RELATIVES IN THERE SHORT LITTLE LIVES. I AM REALLY UPSET CAUSE THEY SAID THERE WAS SOMETHING ON OUR RECORDS AND THERE IS NOTHING IN MY RECORD EVER I WORK FOR A TRIBE AND HAVE PASSED ALL CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS AS HAVE MY HUSBAND. AND MY OTHER DAUGHTERS ARE ALSO CLEAN AND HAVE NO RECORD YET THEY WERE NOT CONSIDERED!!
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(9) January 26, 2005
It is January 2005. What is detailed below is happening right now. My friend is her "foster" mother. We are desperately tring to get her home. Please send anything that we might be able to use.
Dear Fellow American:
I am writing you today, not as a person of any color or race, but as a fellow American. I want to tell you a sad story of great tragedy.
On January 25, 1994 a beautiful Native American child was born to a woman of Sioux origins. She was born in Las Vegas, NV. At five months that child was abandoned by the mother in Los Angeles, CA. The birth father, which was her ex-husband, had already denied and refused paternity. The infant child was sent back to South Dakota to live in tribal foster care. During this time the child was sexually molested by some person associated with that foster care program.
By the time the child was 2 and a half years old, her mother had remarried to a man of Hispanic and Native American origins. Together they sought and won custody of the little girl. At this time they brought the child to Las Vegas, NV to live with them. They, in turn, were living with a woman named (Sonja). During the course of the next year, the step-father adopted the little girl. They also gave birth to a son. Shortly after the birth of her son, the mother began to return to her life of drug abuse and prostitution. The stepfather sued for divorce and won custody of both children. The mother was intermittantly in the children's lives, caring little for their emotions or needs. Often when around them, she was physically abusive to them. When the little girl was four and a half years old her adoptive father died due to cancer. While the father had wanted both children to be awarded to Sonja, who had been helping him with the children all along, the tribal courts awarded the son to his paternal uncle and aunt. They did not want the young girl, because she was not their blood. Sonja was awarded foster guardianship of the young girl. She had finally found a home with a loving mother.
During the next several years, the young girl flourished, in spite of her rough beginning. Her foster mother sent her to greif counseling to help her with her adoptive father's death. She went to a private school for the first three years of school. She was on cheerleading teams,made the A Honor Roll, and was active in girl scouts. Most importantly, Sonja knew how important the child stay close to her heritage. She taught her about her culture, kept her bonded to her brother, and always let her know how much she loved her. Together they fought through a life threatening illness that Sonja has since recovered from. Sonja taught her honesty, boldness, compassion, a love of nature, and many other things.
This all came to a halt on January 6th of this year. A South Dakota Child Protective Person showed up at Sonja's home and took the little girl back to South Dakota. The tribe has decided to establish paternity and give the little girl to a father she has never known. It is not even sure that the father will accept the child. This is all done in the best interest of ICWA, and not the child. The tribe does not care that they have stripped this child of the only loving, caring mother she has ever known. She knows her birth mother, but hates her because of the abuse she has suffered by her. They do not care that the child wants to stay with her white foster mother. They want to ground her in her heritage. They do not care how this is affecting the child now or in the future. They do not care about the half-brother that is now not allowed to contact his sister. They do not care about the other 11 year old little girl that cries herself to sleep every night because her best friend (since kindergarten) has been cruelly ripped away.
I plead to you! Help this child! Do what is decent for her. At this point, her race should not be a factor. Pray for the uniting of a mother and child that is closer than any blood. Pray for the safe return of a child to the life she once knew. Please send this to every person you know. The more publicized this is, the better.
UPDATE January 28, 2005
Since the DA found out that (Sonja) was contesting the removal ..., they have scheduled a court appearance for Feb 8th. Someone had orignally told her that Sonja had relinquished custody. Please keep your prayers going up for Sonja . She is taking all of her paperwork with her. Also, (Little girl) has managed to get a letter out to Sonja. She is begging her to come and get her before decide to send her to live somewhere else. She begs to not be out of her life forever. She signed it "Love ..., your one and only daughter". Please continue to keep lifting this child up in your prayers. Please pray that the Lord reveals anything out of order, and that (little girl) will be returning with Sonja after the February 8th hearing.
UPDATE January 30, 2005
I did get a chance to see the Dr. Phil show. ... I admit, that after seeing that segment, discouragement started to try and take hold. But I then started reminding myself of all of the scriptures that state all things can be done through Christ, and that faith the size of a mustard seed can make the impossible happen. We certainly have faith much bigger than a mustard seed, and there are friends and family praying across the nation. We also have wonderful people, such as yourself, praying for us. ....Sonja has said that absolutely you can use (this) story. ....We will be praying for the Hofer family as well. We know all too well what they are going through.
... The hearing will be in South Dakota. I, also, have spoken to the intercessors of my church. Ferverent prayers are being sent up. Sonja has been told to bring any witnesses, so I am not sure what the standards are in that court. Judge BJ Jones is the presiding judge. He is the person that wrote the ICWA laws. Although, when the mother tried to get both children four years ago, he sided with us. We are praying that the Lord moves his heart again.
UPDATE February 3, 2005
I do agree that what ICWA was written for, and what it is used today for, are two very different things. Please keep me updated about these other cases so that I may pray for them. I will also advise you of what I find out... Since my children (ages 24, 22 and 11) are 1/8th Cherokee, these issues are of great concern to me. They have never lived on or near a reservation. I do teach them to be proud of their heritage, and have taken them to pow wows. Unfortunately, I do not know any of their relatives on the Oklahoma reservation.
UPDATE February 10, 2005
...Sonja got to see (little girl). ... They have not terminated Sonja's gardianship, but they are not yet allowing (little girl) to return with her. The DNA tests have not come back. The person they believe to be her father has decided he wants her, if the test come back positive. From what I was told, (little girl) is identical to her older sister. He now believes (Little girl) is his daughter. He said that when (little girls) mother told him she was pregnant with her, she took off shortly after that. Because she left so fast, he believed that (little girl) was not his. He said that is why he has never wanted her. ..(Little girl) sounded very upbeat. I am praying that it is because she is adjusting moderately well to all that has taken place, and not just because she had Sonja with her. It would be so much harder to have Sonja leave, if she is not adjusting well. ... I pray that she is doing well with all of this. There is to be another hearing in March. At this time, I do not know the date. ... Thanks for all of your prayers,
UPDATE May 5, 2005
Apparently the paternity test did rule that the man in question is her father. We knew this already, but hoped it would be negative. Do to this finding, there is not going to be another trial, he has been awarded custody. It is my understanding that he has 6 children, other than (little girl). She is still in foster care in SD. She is having trouble adjusting to her father's house, and visa versa. The other kids are not acceping her very well. I do not know much about the father. She is adapting, but still asks to come home to Sonja. Her current foster mother in SD seems very nice, and they have been attending counseling. (Little girl) has such a sweet spirit, I continue to pray that this will not break it. (We) are continuing to communicate with (her) . I pray that our contact will give her balance and strength in a situation that can only be confusing at best. Please continue to lift her up in your prayers daily. Someday (7 years at the most) this will all be a bad dream in the past. God Bless all that you do!
...One can only wonder what instigated all of this. When all of this started, I did come across several articles from 2004 where South Dakota got into some trouble their activites in the foster program. Who knows.....maybe somebody dusted off her case and decided to get involved. The tribal social service is being very tight lipped. It took her step-aunt many weeks to get information. .... The next seven years will be very long for many people. ... As for prayers.... I pray all the time that God covers her with his protection; that she will not be physically or sexually harmed. I pray that he will help her to adapt to a situation that is out of her control. I pray that this will not cause permanent emotional scarring. I pray that her family will treat her well, and that the years will move quickly.
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(8) December 31, 2004
...We have had one Indian child adoption fail after
having the baby in our home for two weeks. Somehow (the Lord only
knows) we have been chosen again by a 16th Indian minor mother who does
not live on the reservation and wants her baby to go to a non Indian
family. Her Indian family supports her decision but the tribe may object
to her outside the tribe adoption. I have learned more that I cared to
on the ICWA rules from the previous failed adoption but I would like to
know what defines a Indian child when it sounds like a tribe can change
there definition so easily?
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(7) December 5, 2004
....my wife and I have been foster parents to two beautiful girls 3 and 23 months. The oldest was 15 months when she came to us and her sister was 5 weeks when we got her. She spent the first 5 weeks of her life at the pediatric interim care center in Kent Washington recovering from drugs that her mother used during pregnancy. These girls have the same biological parents, they also have two older sisters that have separate fathers ,who are living in separate foster homes. We have loved and cared for these girls like they are our very own and have planned to adopt them as soon as they became legally free. we have had them nearly two years now. They have bonded very close to all of our extended family, then about 4 months ago the girls were declared Native American on the LICWAC took over and started doing family searches and found a Great Uncle to the oldest girl who is a member of the Crow Nation in Montana so now the two oldest girls will be moving with them the LICWAC had a meeting and has now decided that it is in the best interest of our girls to be moved as well so all four can grow up together. I don't think it is right to move our girls in with strangers and take them out of a loving and caring family. I want to fight the LICWAC decision but every one I talk to says what the LICWAC says, goes and you cant change it, I know there must be something I can do, I just don't know where to start please help me, Also my girls are non enroll able and there biological mother is not enrolled so how can the LICWAC even be involved in this?
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(6) December 2, 2004
I have a granddaughter who is 1/4 L....., 1/8 A.....and 1/16 H..., She and I need your help.
She has told me she has been molested in this home she now lives in, and the grandparents were in the home during the molestation, as the mother was. The man who did this, is the mothers boyfriend.
We are in a custody dispute, and the .... Tribal Courts have placed her back in the home where the molestation occurred.
I am very concerned about this and do not want her there. Social services is a joke on the ... Reservation, and have proven to me that they do not care about her welfare. Only keeping another Indian on the reservation.
UPDATE December 31, 2004
I wrote you about a month back, this is to fill you in:
My granddaughter who has been molested by her mothers boyfriend / possible husband, has had her case investigated by BIA, and has now had a safehouse interview .... The mother... was and still is considered unfit by the [tribal] Court, and the grandparents who had her declaired unfit. My son who has been trying to get custody of his daughter, ..., was given custody in ...court, and then the grand parents filed a appeal with the [tribal] council, which they over turned the court, and gave custody back to the grandparents.
My granddaughter after reporting the molestation still was given back to the grand parents, where the molestation occurred, and the mother who has been declaried unfit still lives.
The grandparents have not kept the mother away from her for her protection, and have allowed her to jepordise her safety. The mother upon finding out about the molestaion, and the BIA /FBI interview, threaten my granddaughter if she told the truth. She picked her up from school with out the grandparents permission and took her to the interview where she recanted her calim.
The BIA failed to notify my son of the interview, and two weeks later I called to find out what was going on with the investigation, and then I found out about her recanting her story.
I Asked my granddaughter why she did not tell the truth and she told me her mother had threatened her, so I took her back to the BIA office and had her tell them the truth. And that is why the safehouse interview took place finally.
Now the [tribal] Social Services had placed her back in the home, with her mother and the grandparents, and has placed her back into a dangerous environment.
What can I do?
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(5) August 27, 2004
My stepdaughter has two children, 6-year girl white and a 6-month old boy
part Native American. When the boy was born social services removed the
baby boy and girl from our daughter and the boy’s friend due to high level of Meth found in the boy. Social Services came to us after my stepdaughter’s talk to me and asked if we could watch the children.
Our stepdaughter had lived with us for a year with the 4-year-old girl, and we had a close bond with this grandchild. We told social services that we would be willing to do grandparents kinship and everything was ready to go. My husband ex-wife then got involved, and the children were kept in foster care. Suddenly, my stepdaughter turn away from her father and me who has always been her support parent and only talking to her mother. Her mother was in treatment 4 times during my husband’s marriage and unfortunately blames everything on him and for his daughter drug/alcoholic use.
Every weekend for several months we would pick up the grandchildren from the foster mother and had grandparents rights with these grandchildren. In June the children were reunited with my stepdaughter and the boys father which was the goal. Only after not hearing from the parents we got concerned again and called social services. We learned that the children were removed from my stepdaughter again. The girl was placed with the other grandmother and apparently the boy is with his father is the message we received. We have tried calling social services for three weeks now and can not get any information. We can not find the mother and do not know if she is in treatment again. I called the other grandmother to talk to the granddaughter and she will not let me talk to her and only told me that the baby boy is with the father and not a good situation. We are not certain what that means.
This is when we decided we needed to get help for the grandchildren and have been calling every organization in Minnesota. We have left messages with two lawyers that are noted for Family Law and ICWA and have not received returned phone call. All we want is rights to see these grandchildren. We promised the girl that we would always be there for her and don’t let anyone tell her that she could not speak or see us. The baby boy was a joy even with him going thru withdraw from the Meth and seemed to be doing okay after the 3 months with us and the foster mother.
Any suggestions what we can do? People we can call? I came across you
website while searching for information to help these children. We are a
Christian couple in Minneapolis, MN and feel that our hands are tied.
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(4) July 8, 2004
I am a foster mother to a child of mixed race. "A" is ¼ native, ¼ African American, and1/2 Caucasian. She is 21 months old and has been with my family for 17 months. My husband and I are African American. We have made it known to the foster care agency, the state social worker, and the Tribe that we would like to adopt "A". We have recently been told that they will soon start proceedings to terminated parental rights but there is a native family available to adopt her. According to the ICW we have no recourse to adopt her. I was also told that it could take several years before the adoption would take place. That would make "A" somewhere around 4-5 years old and even more bonded to our family. Ethically and morally she but not legally she is by all means our daughter.
Doing research to learn and understand more about the ICW Act I found your website and I'm am requesting any information that can help me keep "A" where she belongs. With the family that loves her, that has raised her and is also a part of her culture/heritage.
I would greatly appreciate any help you could give us (including your prayers.
UPDATE February 14, 2005
Moved to Message of Hope page
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(Some of these letters were not originally posted at the time of their writing due to the illness of CAICW co-founder Roland Morris, who passed on June 9, 2004)
(3) June 23, 2004
To whom it may concern: ....My girlfriend is 1/8 siletz indian and my newborn son is 1/16 siletz indian. Then problem is that i have a misdemeaner sex crime and because of this the tribe took my son from the hospital when he was born for "neglect". Other then my charge they had no reason to take my son. I have since been living on my own away from my girlfriend to make attempts to get our son back. The tribe still doesnt give our son back to my girlfriend and now they have no reason. I dont understand how they can hold him with no reason. He never lived with us so how can there be neglect? It seems like the tribe is doing more bullying then anything else. My family(aunt, grandparents) who one of them is a lawyer and neither have criminal records, have wrote and faxed multiple letter to these people requesting visits and to see how my son is doing and the tribe completely ignores our requests. they refuse to respond. I really feel what their doing to our family is wrong. I really cant afford an attorney in tribal law to do anything about this and the tribe had given me a spokesperson to help who was a member of the tribe and the person did absolutely nothing to help. I really pray for help in these hard times.
UPDATE July 14, 2004
thank you so much. there is so much more that the tribe has done as of recent. they are neglecting our son. he was in the hospital and they refused to say what was going on for several hours and then we finally got which hospital he was at and they refused to give info on what was wrong with him. I think the tribe is breaking some kind of law. I cant believe
they can do something like this. Its scary that they get away with stuff like this and whats worse is that they probably do this all the time to others as well. Thanks you so much for your response. I am always praying thank you so much
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(Some of these letters were not originally posted at the time of their writing due to the illness of CAICW co-founder Roland Morris, who passed on June 9, 2004)
(2) June 6, 2004
I just read your story on Santos from 2001. Can you tell me whatever happened to him? I live in Minnesota and my husband and I are in the middle of a court battle for our foster son. Our story is very much like Santos. He came to us due to his mothers drug addiction and neglect over two years ago. We were told over a year ago that the tribal councel granted us permission to adopt him then just before the adoption took place they came back and said " we have changed our minds and want to look for relatives once more". They have now found a fourth cousin and want to remove him from our home into theirs. Is there any hope we will win this?
UPDATE March 2, 2005
Things have been so crazy with our lives right now and then on top of everything my computer crashed and it took over a week to get it back up and running. We do still have our son.... On Jaunary 13th we finished our last day of trial. It took us 10 months and $60,000 to fight for him. We still don't have a final answer. The attorney's all had to get in their facts and findings on February 19th and now we are just waiting for the Judge to make his decision. It looks as if we have a good chance of winning but the tribe has told us they will appeal it if we do. We have been told that can take up to two years. All we can do at this time is continue to pray and trust God .... I have been in contact with the other family here in Minnesota. We have talked and e-mailed one another a few times. The weird thing is one of our attorney's is also theirs. We have also been praying for for them and their little guy. Thank you for your concern and all the work you are putting into helping kids like ours. I'll let you know the out come. Please keep praying for (our boy). He will be four on Monday. He's been with us for three years. I can't imagine what it would do to him and our entire family if he has to leave.
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(Some of these letters were not originally posted at the time of their writing due to the illness of CAICW co-founder Roland Morris, who passed on June 9, 2004)
(1c) May 20, 2004
I understand that your not a legal service, but I would like it if you could give some off the record advice.
My sister-in-law is a non-native who was married to a native man. She was married to him for about 7 years until 1997. She fled the reservation fleeing for her life and the welfare of their children. He occassionally beat her and neglicted the children leaving them either with his parent or her at home. He would drink and come home with hickies on his neck.
Anyway, the day she left, he had sat her and her youngest son down threaten her with a gun then turned it to the little boy who at the time was 2 years old. he threaten to finish when he got home after work. So she filed a report with the police and went to the clinic. She was advice to leave him. So she gathered what she could and fled the reservation.
She went to her father's home (who is a pastor) and stayed there for two weeks. He came down with his father and wanted to take the car. And that's it. He told the kids to stay with the mother. He went home filed for divorce and want sole custody of the kids. (There are 5 children in this case) She left for another city and currently is living there. The father accused her of kidnapping their children. And the tribal court believed him.
She tried to point out the abuse and the neglect of the father to the court and they awarded him custody with visitations, holiday's and summers. The family knew all these years where the children were and never did anything. The father's excuse was his livestock. Never sent them anything for holidays or birthdays.
She let them go back with there grandfather for spring break and they never came back. And she went through many things with the tribal court. The kids wanted to come home and be with their mother and no one heard them. It started to affect them in their school and no one said anything. The father was caught drinking and contributing to his 14 year old son. And both were thrown in jail.
The father has a history of violence both by his reputation and police records. And the judge still awarded him custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act. In court his own mother proclaimed that her son was an unfit father and the children should live with her. And during the whole time of the proceedings, they only had court about 5 times out of 2 years. And cancelled 12 times out of all those schedule dates. Their social service and court system was unfair to her and her children.
How can a Non-native fight such a system for the best interest of the children? She wants them because she loves and missed them. They are all she lives for. She grew up in a Pentecostal enviroment with her parents who are A/G pastors. So if you would e-mail me back and let us know if there is hope for this situation. Thank you for your time, Shalom!.
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(Some of these letters were not originally posted at the time of their writing due to the illness of CAICW co-founder Roland Morris, who passed on June 9, 2004)
(1b) May 17, 2004
I have thoroughly digested information on your site.
We are in a situation where we have a daughter-in-law who is 1/8 .....-and one grandchild 1/16 (not eligible per blood quantum), who have been become part of the ..Department of Human Services system. We are the closest blood kin, as paternal grandparents, and want to provide for our 10 month old granddaughter while our son and his wife meet the requirements and hopefully reunite their family in 3 to about 9 months. I say "hopefully" now that the family (tribe) has become involved. They say they have "rights" based upon the Indian Child Welfare Act based upon descendancy!
The ..... Tribe (basically a family power structure in the Tribe) has
intervened - and a county caseworker has given the child to a half-sister in the tribe. They have not supported our daughter in law at all, claiming "we shall take the children and you will never see them again."
It appears that we have stepped into a legal maelstrom that affects many, many families in our country now, where we are losing our Civil Rights, and once they appeared, the DHS backed off pursuing letting us have the child - even though we had a home study completed by County DHS and were approved as a kinship foster home. We are an officially appointed CASA case, which is good, and the next court date is June, 2004.
My questions are these:
1. What would be the best course of action in seeking our granddaughter?
2. Can you recommend any attorneys in [our] area ...?
3. Are there any legal funds available, based upon the legal fund you have available to give to?
4. Any other thoughts, for a quick resolution? We feel that the judge is favorable to us, because in an emergency court hearing last Thursday he questioned why the paternal grandparents weren't considered. The social worker, for whatever reason, said we would not protect the child!!!!!!! I am on ..retirement from public education .., the same as my wife; and also a United Methodist Minister related to the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist Church-pastoral ministry for 12 years.
If you had a telephone number, I would appreciate visiting with someone
regarding this issue. ....
THIS WAS A SIMPLE CASE WHICH WOULD HAVE RESOLVED ITSELF WITH REUNIFICATION OF THE FAMILY IN A VERY SHORT ORDER, UNTIL THE FAMILY (TRIBE) BECAME INVOLVED. Our daughter-in-law moved from the tribal location ... seeking to leave a very dysfunctional family and extended family (mother dead) and father not around. Now our grand daughter, who is 94% NOT native American, is being pulled back in....Thank you for any and all help.
UPDATE June 9, 2004
I am forwarding this letter to you as an update of what is happening. The
kids have fallen under ICWA (??????!!!!!!). The judge, DA, and children's
public defender did an about face at the hearing last Thursday,
6/03/04---because of the tribal involvement they are pursuing criminal
charges against our son his wife (she is 1/8 .....) through the criminal
courts of Oklahoma County-warrant(s) are forthcoming. So we have had to
focus all our efforts around our son and his wife, who will be moving in
with us ... to gather enough money to hire an attorney. The tribe is also seeking that the parental rights of our son and wife be terminated-pending the criminal proceedings. So they have royally botched up stuff for the next year until the criminal charges can be dealt with.
... we do fear retribution from the tribe and the court system could backfire negatively for our son and his wife.
I called a district court clerk I know... regarding some other family business-told her what was going on ----she said, "I understand-----we were adopting two children, partially native American-and when the tribe found out, this couple had quite a fight with the Indians to complete the adoption"....She worked for the District Court, so I'm sure that had to be advantageous.
Anyway, it appears that ICWA is being used for legalized kidnapping in this
great nation of ours---and we are glad that you have been there for us.
Continue to hold us and all involved in your thoughts and prayers-and when
the time is right you will certainly have persons (us and one's we know) to
help advocate for a more just exercise of this bizarre law, which I'm sure
was done originally with the best of intentions.
Never in our wildest dreams would we think that our precious little
granddaughter (one year old in a few week) could be snatched from those
closest to her!
To: CASA Program
RE: Kinship Foster Parent Status of ....
Date: 09 June 2004
This is informal notice that ............................... paternal blood
grandparents are not currently seeking the relationship as kinship foster
We shall be notifying you by more formal means of our rationale.
It is still fully our belief that the current placement by DHS is not in the
best interest of the children, including their physical safety and other
means of child endangerment. For previously stated reasons, including what was sent to you last Saturday by e-mail... which included:
A. [current caregiver for the little girl]'s inability to control, and alleged abuse of her two teen step-daughters, who are not in the home--whose names we gave you for investigation, as well as school officials for the 2003 - 2004 school year who have, to our best knowledge, witnessed a serious altercation at the ....r high school she was attending...
Also, past alleged physical abuse of the children's mother ... by her older half sister.
[current caregiver for the little girl]'s appearance on DHS documentation that she was a regular caregiver to the children, when in fact [the children] were left in [her] care by the parents on only two weekends in the past year, and the last visit, we believe in April, [her] calling for her father..., to
come and get [little girl] at midnight because ...couldn't make [her] quit crying.
In relationship to the aforementioned "regular weekend care" ...[my son and his family] were [visiting us] an average of once a month; by the same token, [we] visited in their ... home approximately once a month-at all of these visits the [baby girl ] was present.
B. [Birth] Father of [8 year old boy]'s best friends [two relations on mother's side] who are drug users/sellers of illegal substances, who visit his
home on a frequent basis; as well as his past and alleged current use of
Father owns a large, unsecured gun collection,.., as it was in the past ...
This is in addition to all the other evidence, presented in the petition to the court about being an "unfit parent", the perceived inability to recognize or meet the special educational/developmental needs of his son, and past undocumented???? alleged physical abuse of his son... two years ago.
We feel [children's mother's] paternal grandparents should be interviewed. This gentleman has an insurance business ... Their story is very interesting, in that their own son, [children's mother's ]father, was "driven" away from the tribal (family) community ..., all made to feel very "unwelcome" to ever visit his daughter at the ... "reservation" of the ...Tribe.
Since the majority of the ..... Tribe that lives at the settlement in...appear to all be related in some form, with similar family patterns and, in our opinion, much social/familial dysfunction, that placement within the tribal community ...would not be in their best interest, nor would it be a location where the safety of the parents, paternal grandparents, [children's mother's] paternal grandparents, could be assured or be made to feel that visitation could be accomplished. This is evidenced by the racial slurs and threats that have been made by the tribe (family) to the parents of [the children] at the Juvenile Justice Center in Oklahoma City, as well as various telephone threats made ..., and the statement made in court by maternal great grandmother, who is a tribal leader.
We are quite appalled that members of DHS have witnessed the untruthful
statements given by the tribe against our son, his wife, and regarding us;
as well as the misinformation given by the DHS to investigating officials,
I.e. residence ... and ... receiving calls ...by detectives ...; incorrect information given ...regarding our personal residence. This is also evidenced by DHS official misstatements regarding medical evidence and police reports, etc. that have been presented to the court regarding [all of us]
We hope that when the criminal charges are satisfied, that justice will
prevail, and the family ... will be reunited.
We shall follow up this electronic mail with a certified letter, which we
feel would better serve this type of official notice. We have done this so
we can notify you in a timely manner.
UPDATE September 12, 2006
I have been looking all over for the latest newsletter you sent, because we wanted to respond with a gift.......can't find it anywhere. I also know I have your telephone number, but can't find it anywhere, because I would prefer to visit with you in person.
Over a month ago a wise judge at the felony level sorted out some of the facts of the alleged child abuse by our son and his wife. They were both given 5 year deferred sentences (in other wise they will not have criminal records) and he can continue saving lives as a Paramedic. All of this was the end result of the tribe (Leaders/members our daughter-in-law's family) push to have our son out of the picture, and have their "native daughter" returned home. In the 2 and 1/2 years they have have not offered any form of support to her--money, moral support, encouragement.....of course they know they created the mess that followed. We have had 6 attorneys, and my wife and I .....have spent over $50,000 of our retirement helping them survive this ordeal. ....
...Yesterday we had the Children's court ...----the tribe, now coming in full support, acting totally surprised that their efforts in sacrificing their "daughter" and our son to the prison system didn't work. Our daughter in law is at point of relinquishing her 8 year old son--in effort to gain our now 3 year old granddaughter back. ICWA continues to work it its highest level of dysfunctionality as, after a meeting, (they hadn't had a tribal meeting to discuss the issue yet)--basically saying that even though our kids were judged not to be criminals, think they should have right to keep the girl--the offer at this point was for the half sister who is the Foster Parent to continue to be the Parent, and given our kids the right of supervised visitation. Our attorneys are saying that the law doesn't provide for this kind of absurdity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our kids would relinquish her before putting her through the confusion which would impact her for her whole life....
ANYWAY--in your last newsletter you said you had a videotape which was presented on TV several times................would it be possible to see if if might help us to educate the Judge in this case--and the public later on????? Again, would rather call and visit with you about this ASAP--about content, appropriateness, etc. Would be glad to pay for copy, and/or any expenses..
. We visited once on the telephone, and that were possible, had you number and a good time to call I would like to visit with you. Anyway, difficult to condense the mess of the past 30 months. Was sorry to hear of Roland's death; but know that he lives on; especially in this work that you and your organization do to help persons. We shall keep you and your ministry in our prayers. Likewise, remember us as we continue a long fight which may have an ending??? Best wishes,
UPDATE April 23, 2007
I need to send you a family photo so you can see who they really are... Also the article about "broken bones" -- [my son's] step son has Aspbergers Syndrome (mild autism)--falls without being able to catch himself--and just about zero pain level--in other words he can have a broken bone and not even know it. He was in emergency repeated times for head injuries (falls in tub)--much documentation of being at doctor---NEVER ONCE did these doctors suspect/or report abuse!! Our son is a an excellent paramedic with about 13 years experience--was at OKC bombing--just completed credentials to teach--staff development for ALL medical personnel--emergency medicine---but ICWA was used to press this issue to the point where they could never once speak for themselves. The closest was a personal statement I made before judge--and a three page document I prepared---anyway....this is ICWA at its worst--trying to make criminals out of people who aren't ...
...I've wanted to write you over the past months, but I've been trying to firm up an action plan for our (my) response to the loss of our granddaughter and step grandon--who for your PR, were both 93.75% NOT native american. .....1/16 native (I read your comments about 1/4 native american). I still remember the judge listening to the tribe in our case, tribal members who had driven in numbers to Oklahoma City and overwhelm the judicial system--saying their "tribe determines who qualifies for membership--their implication was that blood quantum was not a consideration, but the "welfare of the children". The judge said lightly that he wanted to become a member, if that was the case....The ramifications of that interchange alone is outrageous because it means the tribe can "go after" anyone it chooses.. ... You can see I can get on my soapbox pretty quickly--so back to the purpose of this communication. Part of my strategy includes:
1--possible newspaper ads.... These ads would hopefully address the "problems" regarding ICWA--not be negative--and focus attention on your organization.
2--Develop a letter which uses a ... situation without names ...; address the problems and those impacted; use the Christian Alliance as a primary web resource-- etc. and send to ALL [our state] Legislators (house and Senate)--ALL [our] Supreme Court Judges-- (possibly other at the state level (debating about Human Services--for Children and Families)...
PLUS ..--little different format for each group, to ALL members of the US House of Representatives, US Senate, the US Supreme Court. Maybe this mailing could be done with a letter and an accompanying CD or DVD ...)
As a United Methodist Minister I hope to prayerfully construct "materials" which would challenge the aforementioned leaders. As an educator I have published reports for school districts and other organizations. I would like to have all this done yesterday--but reality has to temper the pace. ...All of this is tempered by the loss of our granddaughter. We were all together doing some moving furniture and storage--and toys and articles of clothing--photos--always constant reminders that our story is being repeated numerous times every day across this great country of ours.
... ICWA problems seem small when faced with the human and financial disaster being sustained by the policy in Iran---nonetheless, we have to try--because we have laws and people destroying our families right here at home--the basic family structure is being destroyed by laws like those of ICWA-- ...-
... I (we) hope to make a positive contribution in this effort. We also plan to send what we can to support your efforts. I think I mentioned that we supported our son an daughter-in-law with much of our retirement funds--over $60,000 for 6 attorneys--most of whom were not helpful. Our daughter-in-law's family did absolutely nothing to help her--thinking if they could destroy our son she would come back to the tribe. Needless to say she has nothing good to say about her family or heritage--which is very painful....she not only lost her son and daughter--she lost her family and heritage.
I see words written in some of the ICWA letters of the Christian Alliance of similar comments made to our daughter-in-law--her two half sisters (who knew the system) told her they would take her children and she would never get to see them again! We thought they were idle, stupid threats. Not in our wildest dreams did we know of the destructive, evil powers of such ysfunctional people, could wreak the kind of damage they did.
...our daughter-in-law [wants] to get off the ..... roles as a member. She thinks you do that through the BIA--I would assume a notorized letter to the tribal elders (with return receipt) would be enough--and not claiming any tribal benefit. Do you have any thoughts about that????????????????
... I feel so strongly about the abuses of ICWA and the abuses by the tribes--and the corrupt courts and bankrupt legal and welfare systems--are quite sickening.
.....You are doing a great job with the website and all the information posted....it seems like you are getting a lost of response to a lot of needs. Anyway, you, the Christian Alliance, and the many who have needs,have been in our thoughts and prayers. ..
Our situation with ICWA is cluttered, if you recall. Our kids were charged with felony child abuse--they plead guilty because of an idiot attorney at the "criminal" level--yet the judge at that level, during the sentencing phase which carried over several months (Judge wanted more input) could see something was very, very wrong--that our son and his wife should NEVER have been charged as they were--basically after several months of probation, will have their records expunged in 7 years (they technically have never been convicted of a felony, even though he plead guilty)--this was a case where the judge had the wisdom to try to make this go away.....
... ALSO, Lisa, I will try to visit with Senator you wrote about (Tom Coburn)....I'll see what I can get done--and will keep you posted. I would appreciate any comments that you may have, regarding about anything I have written. If you have questions, suggestions, need clarification--I'm trying to write too much in too little time!!! Our best wishes to you and your family. Thank you for what you are doing!
..... Regarding the children--I think it is a done deal. The kids relinquished the children instead of fighting at the children's court level, even though they received the deferred sentence at the criminal level. Their fear, and ours, was the children's judge was already so biased, in favor of the tribe. ..Social Services had approved us as Foster Parents for both grandchildren--but by the time it reached Oklahoma City, they twisted the situation--and basically said we were TOO OLD to take care of them (we were 58 at the time....My wife and I both educators; I a United Methodist Minister--we had seen the grandchildren at least once a month or more for overnight visits in Oklahoma City --their relationship with the tribe at that time was limited at best....
Anyway--with another 10 or 20 thousand dollars for all the legal fees and witnesses, with no guarantees of winning---if our kids had been found guilty (with the bias so heavily against us in that court), they could never have had any children without fear of losing them. As it is, the kids face probable harrassment from the tribe ---all went into the decision.
.... The half sister aunt who became the foster parent, had her two teen age step daughters removed from the home because of problems--and they place [our granddaughter] with her!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Talk about a biased and sick, sick, sick situation.
If we had an unlilmited supply of resources it would have been a grand legal battle---yet, one knows when you have an impossible situation. If the criminal judge would have been in the children's court, the outcome might have been better. But it seems when your are a small family pitted against 25 to 30 tribal members, with all of their Indian social worker, Indian attorney, and so on---we literally never had a voice. The judge didn't even know anything about our family except what was presented by the tribe or social services. One of our attorneys at the children's level was well versed--but the judge literally shut them down every time they tried to speak. We caught the social workers in a string of lies, which we could have proved--medical evidence which they ordered (in our favor) which was never presented....but it takes money.....our kids had none, and we have much, much less!!! Even though the kids visited [their daughter] on a regular basis, she had to be reacquainted with them every time.....Disrupting her life at that point of relinquishment, played a part in the decision--no matter how dysfunctional her family.
There were never any allegations of abuse of this little girl--and the little 6 yr old boy, who was very happy with his parents--his mother was NEVER ALLOWED to visit him in all that time--because of the alleged emotional trauma (???)---given his problems (and I worked with kids all my life), you couldn't have seen a more content and happy little boy with his mother and step-father--that is why we tried to keep them (besides being the closest blood relatives to the little girl.
Wow, what a trip! What's the phrase "Freedom and Justice for all!" I've been a very positive person all my life--focused on helping other persons and families--I have to say I've grown a wee bit cynical over the past few years. I knew people could be cruel--I've just never experienced being on the end of a conspiracy before. And bluntly, that is what it was. I've toyed with the theme of "Legalized kidnapping is now a part of acceptable Due Process in US courts". I've known that the systems are broken--I just didn't know how badly!
Blood quantum???? What blood quantum! The question is, "Do we want the kid for our tribe?" Then it's open season, and anything goes. The mean justifies the means. Members of the tribe are leaving-- so anything goes to obtain fresh bodies--I'm surprised they don't "sell" tribal memberships. Why not? It would be better than taking children from loving home environments..
Yes, I'm cynical! Enough venting for now.
UPDATE August 8, 2007
At this point we are still unable to go to Washington D.C. ... JUST DON'T KNOW presently, which doesn't help with all the scheduling you have to do. In the meantime, would a letter or something be helpful--and what would you need--our story or other information?
We paid over $55,000 of our retirement monies because of the tribe and ICWA--otherwise we would be in better shape financially. We had to help our daughter-in-law in the same fashion as our son, because her family/tribe did nothing but put their full force into destroying the family, and using ICWA did irraparable damage to our families in composition, financially, emotionally. We firmly believe that when our son and wife try to begin another family, the tribe will find them and destroy whatever peace they might achieve, inventing whatever lies they might to achieve their own ends. Do I sound bitter? You bet. I need to do something constructive, but with our own situation, with illness, and now, having much less financial resources, must first try to keep our own heads above the financial waters. Given the circumstances I wasn't able to contact Senator Coburn's office before we left, but plan to do so. What are the dates that you plan to be in D.C? I'll put them on my calendar--don't have the dates with me--never left home and plan to be gone for 2 months before. Have most stuff, and can visualize where the Christian Allince info and letters are Appreciate hearing from you and keeping posted with happenings of other folks as they deal with unjust laws and interpretations. We shall keep the Alliance and all it serves, in our thoughts and prayers for positive progress and resolution to the pain caused by the interpretation of unjust laws. Sincerely, .... (former) grandparents of ....
UPDATE January 23, 2008
We were heartbroken when we read of this outrageous travisty--outraged that what happened to us and our son, daughter-in-law and our granddaughter, can continue to happen again and again. Sucked into a legal system which is confused in our federal and state laws and totally skewed and corrupted by all the separate, autonomous Indian nations, and very few attorneys in the United States begin to know how to help those persons who have been emotionally raped!---children torn out of stable and loving homes and relationships to repeatedly placed in reservation and or Indian families, where, in our experience our granddaughter has become a pawn of familial dysfunctionality and tribal financial gain!!
Attorneys and judges in the US and state court systems don't have the backbone or courage to oppose any tribe. Also, most families caught in this web, cannot afford the thousands of dollars it takes and the emotional energy to try to oppose the tribes--with, it seems, very few non-Indian families ever winning these court cases.
This letter you shared has given us the impetus to go to U S Senator (Oklahoma) Tom Coburn's office to tell our story (as you had opened the door for us) .... Again, our story was so vastly complicated by the tribe focusing on seeing their native daughter and our son punished, for her wanting to leave the reservation--that without our help they would have been serving prison sentences of 30 years! Had it not been for a wise Distrtict Judge, who could see that something was "way out of legal sync", that he deferred any sentence--nor will anything appear on their records. That 3 year battle left our family so emotionally and financially drained that hope of ever seeing their daughter and our granddaughter (93% not Indian) can not be pursued. Lisa, you know our situation. We shall keep the family in prayer; yet it seems pretty hopeless for them. The borrowed $3,000 won't get them to first base; yet, maybe there's an attorney somewhere who would celebrate this cause--which hopefully could become the fuel need to have ICWA revisited at the federal level and DO THE RIGHT THING!!!
(Later that same day - )
Lisa, Just wanted to let you know that we called Senator Tom Coburn's office this afternoon. I spoke with Joni Williams, who I think is his primary staffer here in Oklahoma (or at least Tulsa--think is only office). Anyway, shared briefly with her, and used your name regarding contacting her last April. We have an appointment with her ... to tell her our story. If there is anything you feel that we should know about ICWA or stuff going on through Coburn's office, please refresh us or inform us. I know I have much/most of our communications saved. So I'll review that. But if there are some specific dates, etc, please let us know. Thanks for the email earlier--the outrage is there--wish I was 10 years younger and had more energy to fight this law. With the war in Iraq and other stuff, I'm sure it doesn't become major priority with governmental officials. Yet, they need to know. Do you know, guessing, projecting, or otherwise, how many persons are affected by this law every year? Is there anyway reasonable to gather data, besides going through every court docket in the land. I'm sure the tribes don't keep stats, except when they submit increased numbers for their federal allotments, or filling out aps for their latest casinos! Help us if you can, please.
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(1a) April 25, 2004
MY DAUGHTER NEEDS HELP PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WE JUST WANT SOMEONE TO TELL US WHAT WE CAN DO WHAT ARE HER RIGHTS AS A MOTHER, WHOM HER HUSBAND HAS ABUSED AND NOW HAS HAD TO LEAVE HER HOME (SHE HAS BEEN A HOME-MOM) BECAUSE HE HAS TWISTED THE OLDEST AGAINST HER MOTHER BY LETTING HER DO ANYTHING SHE WANTS (INCLUDING HIT MY DAUGHTER ) BUT ALL CAN BE EXPLAIN BETTER ON THE PHONE. PLEASE ADVISE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR HER
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(1) October 23, 2003
I am writing to you in the hope that maybe you could help us.... My Daughter and my 3 Grandchildren are in [a different state] ... I am not even sure where to begin this story . I have never seen such corruption , dishonesty , such abuse of public positions or such a horrendous injustice in my life time. [Everyone involved is an enrolled tribal member]
My Daughter met a boy out in Montana last summer who is afflliated with the.....Casino. She was a Black Jack dealer by trade , this boy some how persuaded her to go to ....with him. Telling her he would help her get a job there etc. She took my two little Grandchildren out with her.
By all appearances it seemed like a nice place for her and the children , but in reality it would prove to be the destruction of all of their lives. This boy turned out to be a drug addict , a drug dealer , a child abuser , a woman abuser and a child molester. and thats just the beginning. He wouldnt let her work , he wouldnt let her socialise with any one but his family. He made her stop breast feeding the baby .He pretty much made her a prisoner in his world. She lost her car , she was stranded.
About 3 or 4 months into my daughters pregnancy he started making threats about how shed never leave with his son . In Aug of this year he attempted to take off with the baby while they were [here] on vacation , my son called the police and stopped that attempt. My Daughter made the mistake of going back with him after that incident. Not two weeks later they had a disagreement he took off , the children were with his mother ( remember 2 of these children are not related to this family) they refused to give my daughter back her children , I advised her to call the local police and ask that they assist her in obtaining her children , the local police refused to help her. Stating that these people were their friends etc....and that shed get her children back when they saw fit to give them to her....She was devistated. They brought the two older kids back the next day and dumped them off.
Keeping her then 4 week old baby . At this point none of these people had custody of this child except my daughter. Late the next afternoon she was served exparte for joint custody. He still kept the baby away from her for more than 48 hours. He led her to beleive that she had no right to her own son. He would bring him when he felt like it , use him to manipulate her , he tried to force her to leave the state with out her baby . telling her She was done to get the F outta his house ...etc..telling her she could see the baby IF and WHEN he saw fit IF she did what he said ect.... Then He and his dirty lawyer who also tried to bully her into signing over her parental rights telling her she could see the baby one month out of the year IF he saw fit etc. mean while i was on the phone from here with the victims advocates office at the dept of Justice trying to find some one , any one who would help my daughter.
In the middle of all this havvoc my 3 yr old grandson woke up from a nightmare , which he has been having them for quite some time now , but with all the havvok reaked on this house 24 / 7 she had never had time for much more than to comfort him and help him get back to sleep , she had time this night , the baby was with his dad , she asked him what was wrong.... he said this horrible person had done specific things to him and had hurt him, my phone wrang at 3 am ... I told her to get on the phone and get the hell out of there, now remember the police in this town refused to help her when this all started. so she called a different city , got ahold of a battered womens and sexual assault shelter , waited for this boys mom to bring her the baby and she left. she went to the shelter. she contacted the police and family services, she did every thing she could possibly do to try and get her 3 year old the help he needed. this never came about . Ill explain more later. My daughter called one of this persons cousins who told her there was a warrant out for her arrest for kidnapping and that she had to appear in court the following Monday or she was going to lose her baby. The hearing was a No appearance review .on the joint custody. We appeared thinking we had to be there, for fear of them taking her baby, What did happen that day was unbeleivable his lawyer some how conived a judge up there to force her to give him this baby even being fully aware of all the allegations . They hit her with an exparte for full custody that had been denied yet had a hearing date attatched to it 6 days prior to this hearing. we could not get any lawyer in this town to help us, Every one of them knew some thing about this case before she even said any thing to them.
We appeared on this date we were forced out of the original judges court convieniently enough for these law breakers we then tried requesting a continuance because she had not been given adequate time to aquire council. That same judge who made her give them the baby for visitation despite all that they had done refused to grant a continuance , refused to let her be represented by council and gave that drug dealing , woman abusing , child abusing , sexual preditor my 2 month old Grandson . with out just cause. Granting him full temp custody. My Daughter has done nothing wrong , she was protecting herself and her children that is a God given right. He set right there in that court room and admitted to every thing except the sexual assault on my grandson and that judge did this. I am in awe..... the judge and his lawyer are way too comfortable with each other and it gets worse.
They did every thing possible to threaten and harrass and attempt to intimidate us in the court house and then after the initial hearing they stalked us in an attempt to find the shelter shes living in. Im sure they know where she is , i do beleive some one there is giving out information as things have happened surrounding conversations she and i have had beleiving they were confidential.If you can imagine. I am scared to death for er and all 3 of my grandchildren. My daughter has been after DFS and the officer to complete their investigation which has drug out well over 3 weeks ( at that point ) almost 6 weeks as of today .so that she could get my grandson seen at the yale new haven sexual assault unit for the forensic interview and the physical he needs and so they could talk to my granddaughter as well and get them on their way to treatment or what ever the clinic thinks an appropriate plan of action , and this lawyer and this preditor some how convinced the police officer to drop the case. The counselor at the clinic said the police refused to attend the appointments needed. That he'd made the comment that he had heard enough.The clinic cannot do the interviews or the physical with out a dfs and the police there. one more little hummer is that this boy used to date a DFS worker and her and her mother both work out of the office that drug their feet on this investigation , I spoke to every advocates office in CT we couldnt get any help at all. These people are rich , corrupt and powerful and I can only hope that this is some thing you would be interested in looking into.
My daughter is stuck in a shelter , I cannot bring them home , they are devistated. If she leaves she loses her baby and they will never charge this person for molesting my grandson , and if she stays her older children have to suffer the consequences of shelter life , being harrassed at school and having to do with out. they wont help my 3 year old grandson , they have destroyed my daughters life , her daughters life , her sons life and they will destroy this helpless little babys life as well.
If there is any thing.... you can do to help us I beg you from the heart of a Mother and a Grandmother to please do so.
I spoke with a lady from a womens national organization she said she beleived my daughter was entitled to some form of legal assistance yet no one will help her. It has gone so far as to a conversation she and I had regarding a local attorney was relayed to the lawyer representing this horrific person and them calling this lawyers office here inquiring as to what we were doing . She is NOT in a safe place , they are NOT safe , every civil liberty she and these children are entitled to has been taken away from them as a result of no money and the opposing party being one of Ct wealthyiest families. There has to be some one who can help her. I cannot beleive every one it CT would condon these illegal activities . Please If you have any suggestions? Input ? Ideas ? If you can help in any way I pray you do so. Thank You , Hoping and praying to hear from you soon.
- OMG this is a night mare ...
October 13, 2003
Thanks Lisa .... I appreciate your writing ...and its obvious you do care :-) Thank You... Im sure he has already enrolled [the baby] they do it different , because there is no actual lineage to follow they do a dna i would guess his blood quantum is about 2%,
I do however beleive it should be a tribal court issue according to the Indian Child welfare act he should not get custody for his behavior alone , on top of the other allegations and the abuse. it clearly states any type of inappropriate behavior on either parents part is a
deciding factor in custody and seeing as hes done the evil things he has done I am sure the tribal court would look at it harshly.
I spoke to a woman last night who wrote a book on how not to be made a victim , she said CT is the coruptest place in the states , she knew quite alot about these people. Yes he's on the birth certificate they signed paternay papers at birth
Thank you ,,, for reenforcing my beleif system Your right God does prevail .... I LOOK forward to hearing from you andthanks again Lisa God Bless...Sincerely...