Friday, September 05, 2008


We just got home a couple of hours ago after a week in which we have been absolutely mauled. Let me recap.

We were yanked out of bed at 2am Tuesday morning. We drove to the hospital, got ourselves situated and waited. All was good. Nervous phone calls to Mom, asking nurses dumb first-time-parent questions, and so forth. All wonderful. Baby arrives not long after noon. Birth mama is okay and recovering. Cooing. Oohing and ah-ing. Pictures.

Letter from tribe. This WON'T be our child. Knife to the heart. Anguish. More, less fun calls to Mom and others. Anger. RAGE. Parents arrive. Crying. Rending of garments. Pain.

Phone calls. LOTS. Lawyers. Blah blah blah ICWA STOP RIGHT THERE...we can't help you. Click. Can't help you. Click. Can't help you. Click. Lawyers. Social workers. Pro bono foundations. Gather to plan new strategy. More calls. More clicks. A few interested parties. Too late. Drive home while The Wife stays with birth mama and baby.

"Melanie" is 8 months pregnant (again...another post later on that). She just moved into a new apartment. Stop in to update her and make sure everything's good (she has no transportation). Everything's NOT good. No Melanie in apartment...but her existing child is sleeping. Alone. In the middle of her bed. With no guardrails or pillows. Aargh. Foster parents are mandated reporters.

Trap "Melanie" in her lies when she gets home. Left baby alone for an hour or more. Sigh. Can't deal with it child protection tomorrow.

Finally go home. Drop into bed. Not much sleep.

Up again early Wednesday. Drive back 1.5 hours to hospital. More calls. More hangups. A few more interested parties. No eating. I stay with mama and baby, The Wife drives home to see to dogs, etc. A little more sleep that night. LOTS of cuddling with baby...we may not have forever to do that after all. It's starting to sink in.

Up early Thursday. More calls. More hangups. Both stay with baby and mama. Friend sees to dogs while we're gone. Staff WONDERFUL about being sensitive to our problems, our unkempt hair, our everything. Can't say enough about the staff. Watch kickoff of NFL season. Not as much joy in that for me this year, for some strange reason. Still, it was a bit of comfort. Probably the high point of the week unless you count the immediately-ended experience of being a father.

Up early Friday. Baby leaves today. We arranged for her to be at a non-Indian foster home for a week with her brother while mama recoups and tries to get pro bono help. She makes the final determination that the child will NOT go to the reservation, whatever happens. She will parent before that, and continue to look for ways for us to get the baby.

We are ordered off the floor shortly after lunch so they can take the baby away. I kiss my daughter goodbye and leave with The Wife. Humiliation. Despair. Rage. But submission to the process.

We are now in the 2% of clients of our adoption search agency who have ever run out their entire contract without a successful match. 2 unsuccessful matches. Humiliation. Despair. Rage.

ICWA is a horrible law meant to address a valid wrong, which is being wielded by people who care far more about how many federal dollars they can scam off of having babies in their care than they do about the babies themselves. Research has revealed to me that the tribal system is generally a grotesquely racist miscarriage of justice waiting to happen. Love? What's that? Family? Not as important as Native American Blood. Other cultures? So what? If a child has a single drop of NA blood, none of the rest of the blood matters. Mother's wishes? Mothers don't have wishes. They bear their babies for the good (and the coffers) of the tribe.

Baby is mostly black, and therefore will be subjected to horrendous racism from the Indians (many of whom hate blacks maybe even more than whites)? Tough. After all, she can console herself with the fact that she has the honor of having as much as 1/8 Indian blood.

Above all, screw whitey as hard and as often as the chance presents itself. So what if they don't have any ancestors that ever hurt NAs or took their land or stole ANYTHING from them. Their skin is white, they're guilty, so SCREW THEM. THAT is the strong vibe I get from the Indian side (when our people have been able to get them to bother to answer the phone).

Do I sound bitter? I won't claim innocence. Do I sound unreasonable? As I said, I'm very tired and not sure why I'm even blogging right now except to let off steam. Do I sound racist? Probably, though I don't think I am. Yet. But now I may understand a little more what black people sometimes talk about.

Maybe giving us a little more understanding of and sensitivity to such things is the main reason God is subjecting us to this horrible ordeal. If so, it's a hard, hard lesson.

But we will stand by birth mom for as long as she needs us. You may have noticed that we have a huge weakness for folks who don't have much of a chance, and she certainly qualifies right now. The woman has problems. But it's more than that. Because the early positive signs we got from the tribe encouraged us to get to know and love her. And once we love somebody, we don't let them down just because the going gets tough.

We've carefully considered it, and there's just no way we can afford the $30,000+ we've been quoted to fight this thing directly in court. So we'll just muddle on without our child, but visiting her every chance we get. And trying to make sure that this woman, our child and her other child have the material things they need and that she has a shot to make things better for her family.

A baby will come, one way or another. Maybe something can be worked out with "Melanie's" imminent baby (as I said, a post on that later). We're going to continue through our agency on a month-to-month basis for a few months, so maybe we'll find something there yet, as they claim to now have put us at the top of their "match-anybody" list. Maybe a situation we don't even know about yet is just now easing into place for us. We just don't know.

But we know that we need a baby. We know we're good parents who can give a good life to a child. And we'll NEVER give up.

And we may live to regret it. What if the tribe suddenly reverses course, at the same time our agency matches us with twins and "Melanie" decides she can't handle parenting and wants us to adopt her older AND new babies? Eek. Diaper city.

Oh, but that would be heaven.



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