Birth Mother, Irish, “ICWA has taken my children from me…”


 November 13, 2006

I am a mother of Native children who are now 19, 20 and 17 yrs of age, I have to say that I never heard of the ICWA until the day I filed for divorce after 10 yrs of marriage to the father and then I was told that I had no rights to my children by the tribal counsel, I was not even able to take them off the reservation just to treat them to McDonalds and if I did I would be arrested for kidnapping, my world fell apart when I lost my kids to the tribe, this took place in (….),I have become very bitter and angry since this all began (1993) and now I am being hounded on a monthly basis for child support arrears, I have become very sick and my arrears are in the $90,000.00 range, my passport has been revoked and I will never be able to see my family in Ireland again because I am now considered a flight risk and they have frozen my savings acct ,they have even tried to put liens on my husbands property, our vehicles and our home but thank goodness they cannot because we do not have my name on any deeds etc….right now I feel I am in a dark place because I got a letter saying I will have to pay child support until all 3 turn 21 yrs old, this ICWA has taken my children from me….

Today my 20 yr old son still lives on the reservation and my 19 yr old daughter is married and has a child on the way and then my youngest son still lives with his dad, the father I just found out over the yrs had been telling my children I left him for another man when I relocated to Los Angeles which is a out right lie, I left him due to his drinking and him verbally and emotionally beating me down, I found myself getting abusive towards the children and knew I had to get them and me off the reservation. 2 weeks before I was to leave I was summoned before the tribal counsel and the social service worker that in no uncertain terms was I to take my children anywhere, I could not believe my ears when I heard that…

I have gone through legal channels to fight the absurd amount of child support and I am losing, I have even written the ICWA in regards to my plight but as of yet I have gotten no feed back, I will no longer look for work, I mean what’s the point, if I wasn’t married I would be on the streets, AK is wanting 69% of my paycheck and here in my home state of New York it is only 14%, and why am I made to pay until they are 21 yrs old?

This is affecting my marriage and my youngest daughter hates me so much …. I finally wrote their dad a 4 page later after 13 yrs of holding everything in, I reminded him of why I left and how he said really horrible things to me while drunk, …., his tribe is very clannish and they deep in their hearts do not like white people, all the years I was with this man he was controlling and disrespectful of my culture which is Irish …..

I would like for someone to tell me there is a light at the end of the tunnel but I fear there isn’t!

An Irish Mother

UPDATE November 25, 2006

Dia Huit Lisa Morris,
I want to thank ye from the bottom of my heart for all the prayers and
understanding of us non-native parents

…. as far as ye wanting to pray… then by all means do so, I’m not a strong catholic like me mum was but I do believe….

I am too tired anymore to fight. … If ye or anyone in the organization have any way for me to learn how to forgive then my heart will begin to heal as well as my soul which feels dark, I thankye for ye time Lisa and I thankye for sharing ye story with me,we do have wee bit in common ….

UPDATE April 16, 2007

I go to family court this coming thursday for arrears,my ex-husband knows I have been ill but cares not and today the state of NY has ordered me to turn in my drivers license,it’s not that I have refused to pay it’s that I cannot due to my health,no lawyer will touch my case,not even a court appointed lawyer,and to make matters worse I’m being told I have to pay child support until each one of my 3 kids turns 21 yrs old,my oldest is 21 and the other 2 are still in their teens,my 2nd oldest one is married and has a child on the way,my youngest will be 18 next month,I don’t know wot to do anymore,I’m depressed and angry,I hate my ex because he lied to me and told me he never had wanted me to pay but then I found out he lied,and it is worse even more in my state they only garnish 14% of ye pay check but in Alaska they are taking 69%,my last take home pay was only $36.00 after they garnished $585.00,if I was not married I would be on the streets living who knows where,my ex even tried to get a lien agains’t our home,2 cars,bank accts etc but I was smart enough not to have my name on anything so he failed there. Is there anyone that ye know that can advise me on the right things to say when I go to court this thursday?

I’m overwhelmed and feel like not even being here anymore and all because of my ex-husband,he said once he would make me suffer through my pockets,and he has succeeded. Thankye for letting me vent.

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