July 10, 2009
To Whom it May Concern:
I am a foster parent in need of HELP.
I will try to make this brief, but it is a long and confusing case.
Back ground on my husband and I: We have been foster parents for 15 years. During that time we have adopted 4 of our foster children. They are now 15yr., 8 yrs., 7 yrs., 5 yrs. Three of our children are of Hispanic descent and the fourth has some Native American blood although not enough to qualify for ICWA.
In 2006 DHS approached us to take an 11 month old girl “K” and my husband and I agreed. One week later “K”s baby brother “I” was born and when he was a week old we were asked to take him too. Of course we agreed. The parents of these children lived a life of drinking and drugs and “K” had overdosed on some medications and almost died prior to being placed with us.
Despite efforts of the local DHS, the mother and father refused to do the things necessary to get their children back DHS attempted to contact suitable family members as resourses and found a “grandmother” in (another state). The woman came to (Our State) and tried to help the mother get straight but to no avail. In 2007, it was determined by DHS that termination was in order and started proceedings. The “grandmother” in (another state) was contacted as a possible permanent placement for the children. She was interested and investigated by DHS. During this investigation they found that the woman was not a legal grandmother and so determined that she would not qualify as a family placement. It was then that they asked my husband and I if we would be interested because according to (Our State) law, we were now considered family placement because of the length of time the children had spend in our home. Of course we wanted to be considered as an adoptive placement because of the bond that had formed between the children and the rest of our family. – we were approved as the adoptive placement for “K” and “I”.
A little background on mother. She is about 3/8 Native American…. When she was a child her mother was an alcoholic and was about to have her children taken from her. She asked the “grandmother” in (another state) to raise her children and allow her some contact with them. “grandmother” agreed and raised “K” and “I”s mother in her Caucasian home. The “grandmother” did not enroll the mother in her tribe because she didn’t want to deal with ICWA. So the mother of “K” and “I” was raised as a white child. In “grandmother”s care the mother got a documented 5th grade education and worked in the “grandmother”s daycare facility. The mother also reported that she was raped by the “grandmother”s oldest son at about the age of 9 and nothing was done about it. The mother was a troubled teen and drank and did drugs at an early age. The mother also reported to me that she and her husband had left (another state) when “K” was 4 months old and come to (Our State) in order to get away from the “grandmother” and her controlling ways.
The father of “K” and “I” is a Caucasian and has had trouble with drugs and the law.
Now back to the case. Upon hearing of DHS decision to place “K” and “I” with us permanently, “grandmother”, in 2007, adopted the 22 year old married mother of “K” and “I” so that she could be considered their legal grandmother. At this point DHS realized that this was only a ploy to get the children back to (another state) where the parents now live and stayed with their decision to place “K” and “I” with us. After hearing this decision, in 2008, the now “grandmother” convinced the mother of “K” and “I” to enroll in the tribe of her ancestry, thereby getting ICWA involved in the case, knowing that the tribe would intervene and place the children with the “grandmother” in (another state). Coincidentially, the tribe had a vote in May 2008 to change their requirements for enrollment to include “any child born to a member of the tribe”. In early June, the tribe informed the court in (Our State) that they intended to intervene in the case. In July, the court heard the termination case on the parents and the tribe agreed that the termination should take place. In Sept the mother of “K” and “I” appealled the decisoin and it was upheld in the appellate court in Nov. In Nov the tribe informed DHS in (Our State) that they had decided that the children should be placed with the “grandmother” in (another state). The lawyer for “K” and “I” asked the court for a show cause hearing and in Mar my husband and I hired a lawyer and petitioned the court to be granted intervener status. A hearing was scheduled for Aug….
-Now I would like to ask you if there is anything you can do to lead us on the path we need to take to keep “OUR” children. Thank you for reading of our plight, and please keep up your work in helping children who are victims of ICWA.
DR Mother of 6