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!