Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I don't have much time, so I'm going to be typing at light speed here. Please excuse typos.

The main reason I haven't been blogging this summer is because we were matched with a birth mom in March, and she was scheduled for a C-section birth this Friday (Sept 5). As things progressed, we focused more and more on that and less on fostering. We've only been doing respite for several months now.

The birth mother is 3/4 African American and 1/4 Indian. At birth, her mother registered her with an Indian tribe in of Wisconsin. She notified them of her adoption plans when she originally was matched with us. She double-checked with them 3 weeks or a month ago. All seemed well, though it wasn't official. We've been covering her rent for two months now, with plans to cover a month or two more until she gets back on her feet. We've

We proceeded to arrange for our new arrival. We have her nursery complete, about a year's worth of clothes, even donor breast milk has already been sent and is now ready because we read that that is better for a newborn.

She called us yesterday morning at about 2:00 AM saying that her baby wasn't moving. She has been having trouble with a low level of amniotic fluid for about a week and the doc told her to call the nurse line if the baby stopped moving.

Long story short (a lot has been happening) we drove 1.5 hours to the hospital after helping her arrange for a cab (she's single and poor and has NO resources and another baby to make arrangements for). We were the first to meet the new baby outside of the doc and nurses. We loved her instantly and had about 0.5 hours of parental bliss.

Enter the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Google it. It's a BAD law intended for a pretty good purpose. Apparently it usurps all parental rights from Indian women when their wishes for their children go against what the tribe decides.

The social worker handling our case showed up at the hospital with a somber look to her. She informed us that after giving their verbal okay to the proceedings the entire length of the process and even SUGGESTING that we specifically could "foster" the child until legal stuff was out of the way, she had a letter from them informing us of her choices.

She could parent the child herself. Or the tribe would show up at the hospital and take the child to be parented by an Indian family on-reservation. No other options were to be considered.

Some possibly pertinent facts:

1) The birth mom has stated that she feels raped. She wants to fight this with everything she's got.

2) What she's got isn't much. She is a poor minority woman who has never received any kind of support or benefits from the tribe or anybody else except the government (food stamps, etc).

3) She is resolved that The Wife and I will be the parents of this child.

4) We've spent a LOT of money on this process and we're just about tapped out, especially since we were counting on the tax benefits next winter/spring from the adoption to help cover some expenses. We can afford some, especially if the adoption ends up being successful. But we're pretty tapped out and could use any advice we can get about how to proceed.

5) Our social worker has had a lot of difficulty over the months even getting ANY kind of answer from the Tribe, often getting no answer at their office or getting pushed off by people who claim no responsibility. What responses she DID get were positive until the day of the birth.

6) We're VERY attached to this woman and her existing child, and have developed a very loving relationship with both of them. We're SICK about this. Physically.

7) The child is pretty small, but has passed all her physical tests and is nearly ready to go home.

We're currently exploring the options. One is to possibly adopt the mother, and then we'll be family so we could adopt her child. Sneaky, huh? I thought of that one, though to be fair one lawyer type our friend spoke to called back this morning with the same idea. We're looking into it.

The hospital staff has encouraged us to take the child home, before they receive orders to the contrary. They've witnessed this whole soap opera firsthand and seem very much in our corner to the extent that they're allowed to be. Last I knew (and the situation is VERY fluid) they felt that as long as the mother directed the baby to go with us we have the right to take her home. We have the same armband as the baby and mother and are inside the security loop. They know us and they know the situation. I don't know if that's ethical, but it may be an avenue we take on the theory that once the baby is in our house we can raise the drawbridge and refuse to let it down for anybody without both a badge and a court order. That may be more effort than the tribe is willing to expend on a case that seemingly is no skin off their nose, and they'll drop it. Hey, a guy can hope.

Anyway, if you know anybody that is a lawyer with experience and/or knowledge of Indian law and is willing to work pro bono on behalf of a poor minority woman who is desperate, PLEASE let me know by email. I will check it as often as I can. I'm on my way out the door to drive to the hospital again, but I'm bringing a laptop and I pray they have WiFi.

It would also help a lot if any media types read this, or if any readers could point media types to us or vice-versa. I'll talk to the Star/Tribune (I plan to try to get a reporter on the horn sometime today). I'll talk to any TV reporter that will listen. I'll talk to the National Enquirer, if that will help. A report on the television news or any major newspaper in Minnesota or Wisconsin would be really helpful in shining a spotlight on these particular cockroaches, I suspect.

We're activating our entire social network for this. Pulling out all stops. If anybody, anywhere can give us ideas, or help us in any material way, it will be welcome and remembered.

This child is OUR daughter. We saw her first. We probably only have a few days to act before it will be out of our hands. Helpful comments not only welcome, but begged for.


At 8:07 AM , Blogger Innocent Observer said...

I can't offer anything tangible but I will keep you in my thoughts!

And congratulations!

At 9:03 AM , Blogger Deni said...

I just found your page a few days ago and had been reading it from the beginning. I can't imagine how helpless you all are feeling right now. GET THAT BABY HOME. It will be easier to fight this if they don't have her in their posession.
Oh this makes me sick. The system is a disaster, no matter what state.
Good luck and lots of prayers.

At 12:21 PM , Anonymous Laurie said...

TAKE HER HOME!!! I think you are on the right track with that train of thought. I like the adopt the mom idea too. I'm not a law prof. though. Sorry. Praying for you. Keep us posted. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

At 12:21 PM , Anonymous said...

TAKE HER HOME!!! I think you are on the right track with that train of thought. I like the adopt the mom idea too. I'm not a law prof. though. Sorry. Praying for you. Keep us posted. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

At 2:42 PM , Anonymous baggage said...

I don't have any suggestions, but am thinking about you all.

At 1:25 PM , Anonymous Morgaine said...

I am so sorry this is happening to you.

I think it is appalling that the biological mother has chosen you and the "tribe" is not letting her make the decision as to what she wants to do with her child.

I hope everything works out.

At 6:17 PM , Blogger Amanda said...

I agree take her home - you are already attached so it's not like it will be harder emotionally.

I have heard bad, bad things about this act. I'm so sorry.


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