Non-tribal Aunt, concerned for step-niece

April 13, 2007

Hi … I’m looking for someone to help me with my situation. My step niece is living with her step father right now while they are going through a divorce. Her mother is living with a friend right now and she has been mentally unstable and in and out of the hospital for her mental condition. She is unfit to take care of her daughter and her step father has no rights but is trying to keep her safe. He is trying to get custody of her but he can’t unless her mother gives up her rights to him. She is a member of an Indian tribe in Washington state because her biological grandmother had temporary custody of her a couple years ago. Her step father has been taking care of her for the past two months and she has been living with him and her step brothers. He has let her visit her mother every week but she has been threatening to take her away and we know she won’t get taken care of by her mother.

We were told that is she doesn’t return her after the visit we can’t do anything about it. If we call CPS they will take her away and give her to the tribe and she would go into foster care and we wouldn’t see her. Her mother has lost custody of her before because of her drug addiction and she ended up getting molested by her grandmother. The FBI looked into it but there wasn’t any physical evidence that she was molested. Her step father married her mother and they had two boys together and he was always the one who worked and he was the one who helped her mother get custody back. She has never been more stable than she is now and we are so afraid that her mother will keep her from us and there is nothing that we can do. I can’t see how her mother can have any rights because she is unfit. There has to be some way for us to get custody of her so that she doesn’t have to have her life turned upside down again.

All I want is for that girl to be in a stable and loving environment. Since she has been in our lives she has been so happy and she has given her life to Christ. I just pray that someone can help us so that we can keep her safe. I’m not sure if you can help me or if you know of someone who can but I’m desperate now and I’ll do anything to help her. Thank you so much for reading this and I’m sorry that it’s long but I need someone to help me protect this girl so that she doesn’t get hurt anymore. I would really appreciate it if you could contact me and let me know if you can help me. If you can’t that’s alright because I know that somehow God will find someone to help pus with this situation. Thank you so much and God bless you!

UPDATE April 14, 2007

Thank you for getting back to me, I really appreciate it. My niece is only 8 and my brother does have an attorney but he doesn’t have much experience with custody issues. This is a very difficult one too because we are blood related. I’m going to be looking for another attorney that has dealt with this kind of issue before but I don’t know where to look. I don’t know much about tribal laws so it’s going to take a while to get all the information that I need to help her.     I would love it if you could put me on for the prayer group because we could use all the prayers we can get. Maybe someone has had a similar situation that might be able to help me figure out what we can do legally.     Thank You again and God bless you!

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