Adoptive Family, “Do we have any chance at all?”

 

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.

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