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Thursday, August 30, 2012

UPDATED Another violation of ICWA in Arizona

NEWS:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/arizona-appeals-court-upholds-placement-of-navajo-boy-with-non-american-indian-family/2012/08/29/213b8d48-f21b-11e1-b74c-84ed55e0300b_story.html

 

Arizona Court of Appeals Affirms Deviation from ICWA/BIA Placement Preferences

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher

Here is the opinion in Navajo Nation v. Arizona Dept. of Economic Security:
An excerpt:
The Navajo Nation (“the Nation”) appeals the juvenile court’s judgment finding good cause to deviate from the placement preferences set forth in the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (“ICWA”), 25 U.S.C. §§ 1901 to 1963 (2006), and allowing the child (“Z.”) to remain with his current non-relative, non-Indian adoptive placement. We affirm. The juvenile court properly found good cause to deviate from ICWA placement preferences because the placement family provided good care for Z., Z. had attached and bonded with the family, Z. would suffer severe distress if he was removed from that placement, the placement family would expose Z. to his Navajo culture, and the placement family had been approved to adopt Z. While the interest of the Nation and the Congressionally-presumed interest of Z. in maintaining his heritage weighed against a finding of good cause to deviate from ICWA’s preferences, on this record we cannot say the court erred in weighing all these interests.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I am not alone anymore

I am reblogging this post from Land of Gazillion Adoptees...Karl and I just became friends on Facebook! ...Trace

http://landofgazillionadoptees.com/2012/08/29/i-am-not-alone-anymore-a-short-story-by-karl-minzenmayer/

August 29, 2012

“I am Not Alone Anymore” a Short Story by Karl Minzenmayer

Prior to this moment I was alone in this world. Connected to my Adoptive Parents, wife and son by love and choice. But this is NOT choice. This is the moment that connected me to a full brother I had never met, known of, or dreamed about. In front of me is undeniable physical evidence of a human being I am connected with by BLOOD. I am drowning in the power of my own emotions. Damn…..
I will never be the same.
I was 27 years old that day and John was 23.
I have alway know that my sister and I were not related and both adopted. We were given details regarding my Chippewah heritage, my birthmother being only 15 and unable to care for me. To me this meant I was not wanted before and my Adoptive Parents did want me. No one wondered aloud (near me anyway) why my white parents had these two olive skinned Indian looking kids. Maybe they all knew we were adopted, but I knew I was different.
I felt alone.
As I sit in the Seattle airport across from my brother (who by now is concerned for my vocabulary skills), I am not alone anymore.
————-
Author Karl Minzenmayer was adopted in Washington State by a military family, and has lived in Alaska, Texas, Taiwan, and Colorado. As an adult, Karl found his birth parents and discovered an entire biological family. Being part Ojibwe, he has reconnected with his Native roots. Karl calls Colorado Springs home where he has been a self-employed optician for 29 years. He is a single father of four amazing kids and one great dog. As an Eagle Scout and brother of a special needs sister, Karl is passionate about community service. He is active in non-profit eyewear for kids through the Lions Club and Native Vision, and a volunteer at the Colorado Springs Indian Center. He has been a Camp Counselor and a Special Olympics volunteer. Karl is also an active supporter and member of the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NICWA's September training institutes

Archive photo
This is the last chance to register for National Indian Child Welfare Association's (NICWA) September training institutes.
There is just a little over a week left to prepare for the September training institutes in Portland, Oregon.  Register now for either "Promoting Youth and Family Involvement" or "Promoting Best Practices in Engagement and Recruitment of Tribal Foster Homes." 

NICWA is looking for dynamic and powerful American Indian and Alaska Native artwork.
The deadline in our annual Call for Artists is September 28, 2012, which means that there is just a month for Native artists to put their inspiration to work and send in a piece that they feel will best represent the spirit of "Protecting Our Children".
Information is available online http://www.nicwa.org/ for NICWA's annual competition for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) artists. The winner gets $1,500 and the exposure of having their work incorporated into conference materials reaching thousands!

NICWA's Call for Presentations information is now available online at http://www.nicwa.org/.
The 31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect is being held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 7-10, 2013. NICWA's annual call for workshop presentations is officially underway, and we are looking for people hoping to share their research, stories, successes, and lessons learned in their work as champions and advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.

Want to Know More?  To learn more about this training institute, please visit the September training institute page of the NICWA website. If you have any questions about course content or travel logistics, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page, or you may contact Event Manager Laurie Evans at laurie@nicwa. org or by calling (503) 222-4044, ext. 124.

Information on the 2013 Protecting Our Children conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is available on the conference page of the NICWA website.

The deadline for workshop content is October 19, 2012.  Save the Date!

Other Upcoming NICWA Events

December 4-6, 2012
ICW Training Institutes
Portland, Oregon
Information on the next round of ICW training institutes available at www.nicwa.org/ training/ institutes.

April 7-10, 2013
31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Information on this conference is available online at www.nicwa.org/ conference.

April 13-16, 2014
31st Annual Protecting Our Children National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Information on this conference is available online at www.nicwa.org/ calendar.

Questions?

For answers to questions regarding the upcoming training institutes, the Call for Artists competition, and NICWA's annual "Protecting Our Children" conference, please contact NICWA Event Manager Laurie Evans at laurie@nicwa. org or by calling (503) 222-4044, extension 124. http://www.nicwa.org/

NICWA is a national nonprofit and the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) child welfare and works on behalf of AI/AN children and families.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Part One: Victims of Adoption and Lies


Trace was born in 1956 and legally adopted in 1958.
By Trace A. DeMeyer

I woke up with thoughts: there are two victims of adoption who need help and not necessarily from each other: the adoptee and the first mother. Each has its own burden and neither can heal the other.


Speaking with adoptee friends on Facebook, many added their own ideas when I posted my thoughts.

One friend injected: what about the mother who made the choice (freely) to give her up as a baby.
Well, that is true - she was free to decide - but also consider she had the adoption industry, churches, family and society telling her (insisting) that was her only option: Give up her baby to new parents.
Had this mother known her child would suffer emotionally from being adopted, would she have made the same choice?
(No one imagined a child was injured or hurt being adopted - not until recently.)
We know this mother had to live with her choice and live with the loss of her child. That was obviously a burden.
Finding and meeting her child again in reunion - after many years - will not and cannot reverse or ease or erase that pain and loss.  Each mother who relinquished a baby will have to deal with this on her own terms, and hopefully receive counselling, and find support from other mothers who also lost their child to adoption.
Some mothers are adopting their child back, what I call "adoption in reverse."

One adoptee friend found out the social workers told her natural mother that she was being placed with a doctor's family - so I guess that would have put her mother's mind at ease - thinking of the prosperity and safety her baby girl would have had growing up. But the truth was my friend was not placed with a doctor's family.
If her mother had found out this was a lie, how would she have reacted? Wouldn't she worry about her baby and carry that burden for years?
In my friend's case, her birthmother never told the man (the birthfather) she was expecting his child. It's possible my friend's dad would not have allowed this adoption to take place. He loved kids and would have raised his daughter on his reservation in Michigan. Why? The Ojibwe used kinship adoption (babies are adopted by relatives). 

[Since the 1900s, governments swept up children with their Indian Adoption Projects (which were closed adoptions with non-Indian parents). Adoption meant assimilation. It was meant to make the child "white."]

Even though her mother did tell the social workers her baby was also Indian, did it matter? Back then, no. This was in the 1960s. The social workers would prefer not to mention a child had some Indian blood.  Even social workers displayed overt racism and wrote lies in the paperwork. They practiced "matching" which meant a "mixed race child" who looked white would not have to be told their ancestry was American Indian. 

My friend's adoption (like my own) was before the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
If it happened after 1978, and social workers knew my friend was also Indian, the tribe and her father would have been notified. The tribes would've handled the baby and her placement. That's federal law in every state now (and sadly it is not always upheld, even now in 2012.) Last year, it was reported 32 states are in violation of the ICWA.

Each story like this gets complicated with lies and omissions of what is truth. My friend's mother was a victim of lies and so was her Ojibwe father - who was never told.

My point here is the adoption industry created "lies" for everyone to believe. 

PART TWO will continue in a week... Please share your thoughts in the comments... Trace 

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yurok Traditional Adoption

Cal. COA Decides ICWA Case involving Yurok Traditional Adoption Statute

by Matthew L.M. Fletcher
Turtle Talk on the web
Here is the opinion:
An excerpt:
In 2010, legislation was enacted establishing “tribal customary adoption” as an alternative permanent plan for a dependent Indian child who cannot be reunited with his or her parents. Tribal customary adoption is intended to provide an Indian child with the same stability and permanency as traditional adoption under state law without the termination of parental rights, which is contrary to the cultural beliefs of many Native American tribes. In this case, the Yurok Tribe (the tribe) intervened in the dependency proceedings prior to the jurisdictional hearing and recommended tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan for the minor. The tribe now contends the juvenile court erred in terminating parental rights and selecting traditional adoption as the permanent plan. We disagree with the tribe's contention that the court was required to select tribal customary adoption as the child's permanent plan simply because the tribe elected such a plan but conclude that, in the absence of a finding that tribal customary adoption would be detrimental to the minor, the court erred in failing to select such a permanent plan in this case.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Native America Calling on #NDN Adoption

Friday, August 17, 2012 – Finding Your Native Roots After Being Adopted: (listen)
Imagine if you grew up away from your tribal community and had no clue that you were an Indigenous person and the only identity that you had to hold onto was from a non-Native family who was raising you as one of their own. Now just what would you do if you felt the call of your people and the reservation wanting you to come home? Would you act on it? Is it easy for a person who has been adopted out to come home when they feel the need? What does it mean to discover your Native roots? Do our tribal communities welcome those that have the urge to return? Join us as we talk with Sarah Koi (Cree) a Native adoptee discovering her Native roots, adoptee Adrian Greywolf (Sisseton/Wahpeton) and Rachel Banks-Kupcho (Leech Lake Ojibwe) Anu Family Services.

The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time

Here is more from my brilliant articulate adoptee friend Daniel Ibn Zayd, a follow-up to my interview (on August 13).  He posted The New Abolition: Ending Adoption in Our Time on the website DISSIDENT VOICE... Here are a few quotes that resonated with me... He is working on a book!

"The implication here is that the adoptee also traverses the phases of being “colonized”: coddled by the seeming safety of his new-found place, seduced by the imposed mythology of a dominant culture, and abetted by the willfully distanced memory of his generational past. ...a clear definition for what is often referred to within adoptee circles as “the fog”, or “drinking the Kool-Aid”: the acceptance of a fragile notion of security sustained by a false sense of self within an alien and alienating environment....

"As our activism has grown over this near decade, I have been greatly inspired by adoptees in South Korea, for just one example, who have helped shut down adoption in that country as of this year. Other source countries are following suit, and I am further heartened to see an expansion of this activism, here citing just a few examples: mothers in Guatemala, demanding the repatriation of their kidnapped children; in Argentina, demonstrating for an accounting of the infants born to the imprisoned and then disappeared; in Spain, investigating the stolen children of the Franco era and beyond; in Russia, criticizing the despicable treatment of their children exported abroad; in indigenous American Nations, parents reclaiming their stolen progeny. This list grows longer every day.
"I invoke this term (abolition) fully aware of its weight as concerns the movement to abolish slavery, and to clarify this usage, I define adoption as follows:
Adoption is, in and of itself, a violence based in inequality. It is candy-coated, marketed, and packaged to seemingly concern families and children, but it is an economically and politically incentivized crime. It stems culturally and historically from the “peculiar institution” of Anglo-Saxon indentured servitude and not family creation. It is not universal and is not considered valid by most communal cultures. It is a treating of symptoms and not of disease. It is a negation of families and an annihilation of communities not imbued with any notion of humanity due to the adoptive culture’s inscribed bias concerning race, class, and human relevancy...
 "...And thus American Indian reservations, secret bases of extradition, Japanese internment camps, urban and rural ghettoes, the corporate-industrial prison complex, vigilante terrorism directed against immigrants, the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Shamefully added to this list are the children sent to adoption rehabilitation camps in Montana, Russian boys returned alone on airplanes, disrupted adoptions, deported adoptees, the stockpiling of children by adoptive collectors and hoarders, RAD therapies, rebirthings and other pseudo-treatments bordering on outright torture, over-medication of our “mental illnesses”, as well as our “treatment” and study by an army of therapists, social workers, academics, assorted quacks and other misery-industry profiteers. The very existence of this cavalcade of systemic jerry-builders is a greater condemnation of the dysfunctional societal structures undergirding the industry of adoption than anything possibly expressed by the critics thereof. This, in and of itself, should give us great pause...."

http://dissidentvoice.org/2012/08/the-new-abolition-ending-adoption-in-our-time/

Daniel Ibn Zayd currently lives in Beirut.  This article is distilled from a book in progress comparing the political and economic aspects of adoption. He can be reached by email at:daniel.ibnzayd@inquisitor.comRead other articles by Daniel, or visit Daniel's website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Maine's apology for Indian Adoption Projects

Maine signs Historic 'Truth and Reconciliation' Agreement with Indian Tribes

Related Media
Maine signs Historic 'Truth and Reconciliation' Agreementhttp://www.mpbn.net/DesktopModules/PDGNews/MediaPlayer.aspx?PDGNewsStoryID=22562&PDGNewsMediaID=5517&TabID=36&ModuleID=3478 Listen
 Duration:
4:14
archival photo
Chiefs from all five of Maine's tribes joined Gov. Paul LePage today (06/29/2012) in signing an historic agreement to create a Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 
It will examine child welfare practices that once resulted in large numbers of Indian children being forcibly removed from their homes. The ceremony in the State House Hall of Flags marks the first time that such an effort has occurred in the United States between Indian nations and a state government. Tribal members consider the agreement crucial to their healing process.

The statistics are sobering. Chief Brenda Commander of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians says at one time, 16 percent of all Maliseet children were in state custody. In the 1970's the Federal Indian Policy Commission backed that up with a report that found Indian children in Aroostook County were being placed in foster homes 60 percent more often than non-native children.

Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Nation says children were placed in foster homes or sent away to boarding school in a cruel attempt at assimilation. They were separated from their families, their language, their cultural identities--and in some cases, he says, subjected to horrific abuse. 

Read article here: 

http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3478/ItemId/22562/Default.aspx
 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bring Bailey Home

This was posted by a friend on Facebook. This is what is happening in Indian Country right now, today, not 50 years ago... Please go to Facebook and show your support to BRING BAILEY HOME...

Monday, August 13, 2012

An interview with Daniel Ibn Zayd

Transracial Eyes logo
The following interview is with Daniel Ibn Zayd, an adoptee and contributor to a collective of transracial adoptees called TRANSRACIAL EYES. He was kind to answer some questions for me via email. His bio follows this interview.

Tell us about you, what you do, where you are, and how did you come to know so much about adoption:
Daniel: I was born in Lebanon in 1963 and almost immediately adopted to the United States. At the age of 40, I decided to return, determined to find family, and if not that at least a sense of culture, language, and perhaps identity in returning to my place of birth. As I met adoptees from other countries, as well as domestic adoptees in the States, I became more active in adoptee rights. I was most struck in Lebanon by those who didn't get why I was searching, or who were most critical of it;  they happened to be of the class I was adopted into. Those on the other hand who did get it, were likewise dispossessed and displaced: migrant workers, refugees, marginalized communities, etc. I took this as a focal point to try and understand economically and politically adoption as a process and as an industry. My first breakthrough was connecting international and domestic adoption, and from there examining similar human traffickings. I adamantly avoid the personal aspect of it because I see this as a diversion to the discussion that must take place. It's like abolitionists focusing on the narratives of slaves, discussing whether they could be "happy" on the plantation -- it avoids the bigger economic and political picture that adoption, like slavery, perfectly fits into, unfortunately.

I was impressed you have been covering the issues surrounding the Christian group in Montana who is advocating for changing the Indian Child Welfare Act and lobbying legislators in the US. How did you come to learn about American Indian adoptees and the ICWA? 

Daniel: When I arrived in Beirut I was working in academia, and I took advantage of this position to further research aspects of resistance to the above economic and political realities that govern our lives. Much of this research focused on groups who culturally expressed their resistance, for example, the artists of the Mexican Revolution or the Black Panther Party (I was teaching graphic design and illustration). In expanding on notions of dispossession and the like, the Indigenous Nations of the Americas came into focus, especially concerning the political changes in South America, but also in terms of attempts to reclaim culture, language, and community. It was an obvious addition to such research. More personally, my parents had retired to a town in the southwest next to a large Navajo reservation, and an old school to "deculture" Indian children existed near their house. 

I am obsessed by the benign destruction that such "innocent" places represent, and the economic and political position such "adoptions" hold in the imperial forays of the U.S. In one of my classes I used the case of Leonard Peltier and the movie "Incident at Oglala" to portray much of this, making parallels with the local occupation of Palestine. I've also had many debates with those tribal members who reflect locally here in Lebanon what Frantz Fanon calls "native intellectuals": those who advocate for their own oppression and domination, and who take on the colonizing narrative as their own. It is absolutely imperative that we understand historically speaking the derivations of adoption, and its use as a tool by imperial nations against their former/current colonies, and how this relates to the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Australia, as well as in French overseas territories for just a few examples. This reflects more the true basis of what adoption was designed to do.

Are you a journalist by trade? Tell us about your activism:


Daniel: I'm not a journalist by trade, but have published a fair bit of writing. My activism is currently tending to mix the visual, written, and philosophical realms. In 2009 I started a collective of artists that we called Jamaa Al-Yad; roughly translated it means "Clenched Fist", which we take as a sign of resistance. Much of our initial work required of us bylaws and charter that would pass evaluation by the Lebanese government. We were given a template to use that in many ways reflected French and American influence on the country, taking for granted such things as parliamentary procedure, fifty-percent plus one voting; hierarchies of officers/members, etc. We took almost two years to write from scratch bylaws and charter that avoided all of this. We based them in research gleaned from Iroquois sources and the methodology of Quaker meetings to very local ways of communal associations; the best of many worlds. We received our approval three years ago, and many other non-profit and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have adapted our charter and bylaws for their own use, which is very satisfying. My sense of activism is that it must be lived, not just theorized or super-mediated. Anything else is just preaching or hypocritical advocacy.

Have you been able to find your natural family and reconnect? What was that like for you?

Daniel: I haven't. I have instead been introduced to a bottomless abyss of trafficking, displacement, dispossession, and marginalization the knowledge of which I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I have managed to integrate myself into my neighborhood as well as various communities that I never expected would welcome me back, and this along with the support of my adoptive family allows me to persevere here.

For adoptees out there who are transracial (adopted outside of your culture), many who read this blog are Split Feathers who have questions about this, have you any suggestions on how we can change the views on international adoption and adoption in general:

Daniel: I'm actually writing a book on this subject that shifts the burden here. Why try and change an inherently broken and corrupt system? In my research it quickly becomes apparent the uses of adoption originally were never for family creation, but for everything having to do with political and economic domination, including indentured servitude, emptying of poorhouses, populating of colonies, destruction of tribes and indigenous peoples, etc. So for us to go along with the "lie" that adoption is about family creation is to be accomplices in our own dehumanization. Much more important is our own grounding not in terms of our adopting class but in that of our originating communities. Even if we are transracially "American" or acculturated "American", what does this mean when many groups who have managed to assimilate were formerly considered Other within American society? 

These groups were forced to give up their language, culture, and identity that, when studied, are amazing sources of resistance, strength, and self-awareness. This is hard work because none of this is part of the dominant cultural mode, and we have to go out of our way to find such material. But it's out there, and it is much more grounding than pretending to be "American", whatever that even means these days. I'm not advocating claiming this or that identity; actually I'm saying the opposite: Find the cultural roots of resistance that existed in communities before they were assimilated into dominant societies, themselves historically full of mixes, overlaps, and interconnections. This gives us much more in the way of common cause, and will do more to bring us back to a sense of community than walking around manifesting affected cultural references that the dominant mode deigns allows us. 

BIO:
Daniel Ibn Zayd currently lives in Beirut; in 2009 he founded the artists' collective Jamaa Al-Yad, http://www.jamaalyad.org. He has helped form a collective of transracial adoptees, Transracial Eyes, at http://www.transracialeyes.com, and he is also active on the discussion boards of Adult Adoptees Advocating for Change at http://www.adultadoptees.org.  He is currently working on a book that examines the political and economic aspects of human trafficking including adoption.  He can be reached by email at: daniel.ibnzayd@inquisitor.com or his blog: http://danielibnzayd.wordpress.com/ 


Visit Daniel's blog. It is eye-opening and thought-provoking! There is so much we learned from this interview... Thank you Daniel.... Trace

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Those pesky loopholes, how father and Navajo tribe lost


2006:


Utah case involving Navajo Nation where 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act clearly had a loophole where advantage was taken... If tribes do not intervene immediately, it's too late in Utah...


NAVAJO NATION, PLAINTIFF v. LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon church) FAMILY SERVICES, DEFENDANT.

(IN THE UNITED STATES COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH CENTRAL DIVISION)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul G. Cassell United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS
Under all the legal layers of this case is a young child who has been involved in an adoption process in a Utah state adopting case since shortly after her birth in February 2005. In this court, the Navajo Nation, an intervenor in the state case, challenges the adoption procedures used by LDS Family Services. Specifically, the Navajo Nation asks this court to determine if the federal Indian Child and Welfare Act applies when a natural Native American father is unable to establish his paternity under state law, and if it creates a private right of action for the Navajo Nation. But the Navajo Nation has not demonstrated the state court proceeding provides an inadequate forum to hear the claims raised in its petition. The court, therefore, finds it necessary to abstain in this case, and to grant Family Services' motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND
For purposes of this order, the court finds the following facts. During her pregnancy, Sarah Ashley Ziska contacted LDS Family Services about possibly placing her unborn child for adoption. Ms. Ziska asserted her right to privacy, and declined to identify the father of the unborn child. However, in later meetings, Ms. Ziska informed Family Services the probable father of her unborn child was of Navajo ancestry. Because no one had registered with the Utah Putative Father Registry with regard to Ms. Ziska's unborn child, Family Services proceeded with the adoption process.
On February 14, 2005, Ms. Ziska gave birth to a baby girl. On November 11, 2005, a DNA test result indicated that Herb Begay, Jr., is the biological father of the child. Mr. Begay is a member of the Navajo Nation. But Ms. Ziska is not a member of any tribe, nor is she eligible for enrollment in any tribe.
On February 25, 2005, Ms. Ziska voluntarily relinquished her parental rights to the child in front of Judge Timothy R. Hanson of the Third Judicial District Court, State of Utah. Judge Hanson placed the child with Family Services for adoption. Family Services began to arrange an adoption of the child to a Utah family. The adopting father had an application for membership in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma pending at the time of the child's placement. The adoptive parents filed a petition for adoption on February 23, 2005, and the Navajo Nation was not notified about the filing of this petition.
Around March 2005, a friend of Mr. Begay's told him Ms. Ziska gave birth to a child that Mr. Begay may have fathered. Around May 3, 2005, Ms. Ziska informed Family Services that Mr. Begay was the putative father. Family Services claims to have addressed a letter to an intake worker for the Navajo Children and Family Services, advising her of that fact on this same date, but the Navajo Nation disputes this.
On May 31, 2005, Mr. Begay's attorney wrote a letter to Family Services indicating they may have a Navajo child in their custody, awaiting adoption. The letter referred to Mr. Begay's status as a member of the Navajo Nation, suggested Family Services adhere to the requirements of the Indian Child and Welfare Act (ICWA), and requested Family Services to immediately notify the Navajo Nation of any adoption proceedings.
Mr. Begay also filed a Petition for Paternity and Custody in the Third District Court of Utah on May 30, 2005. Judge Anthony Quinn granted summary judgment to Ms. Ziska on February 27, 2006, and dismissed Mr. Begay's petition. Specifically, Judge Quinn found that Mr. Begay had failed to establish his paternity under Utah law, so he was not entitled to an order establishing his paternity or to exercise any paternity rights, including the rights of notice or consent to the child's adoption. Judge Quinn also determined that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply to Mr. Begay's paternity action because Mr. Begay was not seeking foster placement, termination of parental rights, adoptive placement, or pre-adoptive placement. Finally, Judge Quinn precluded Mr. Begay from proceeding with any efforts to exercise his parental rights or establish his paternity. Mr. Begay did not appeal the state court's decision.
Although Ms. Ziska consented to the adoption and to the termination of her parental rights on February 28, 2005, the state court adoption proceedings have not yet been finalized. But the adoptive parents have temporary custody of the child pending finalization of the adoption, pursuant to an order by Judge Hanson. On May 30, 2006, after learning the location of the court in which Family Services filed the adoption action, the Navajo Nation filed a motion to intervene, which Judge Hanson granted.
On October 24, 2006, the Navajo Nation then filed the instant action, a Petition to Enjoin State Adoption Proceedings and Objection to Placement. Because the placement of a young child was at stake, this court ordered Family Services to rapidly file either an answer or other appropriate pleading. Family Services responded by quickly filing the Motion to Dismiss that is at issue in this order.

STANDARD OF REVIEW
In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court "must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." The court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and views them "in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party."

DISCUSSION
In its petition, the Navajo Nation requests this court to determine if § 1915(a) of the ICWA applies when the natural Native American father is unable to establish his paternity under state law, and if it creates a private right of action for the Navajo Nation. Among other things, the ICWA governs adoptions of Native American children.
The court concludes that, under Younger v. Harris, it must abstain from deciding the issues the Navajo Nation presents because of the ongoing state adoption proceeding. The United States Supreme Court has recognized a "national policy forbidding federal courts to stay or enjoin pending state court proceedings except under special circumstances." This policy is based on comity - the notion of respect for state functions. Under Younger, only in extraordinary circumstances should federal courts interfere with pending state court proceedings.
Younger abstention is jurisdictional, so when the conditions for abstention are met, absent waiver, the court has no choice but to abstain.
To determine whether Younger abstention is required, the court must consider whether:

(1) there is an ongoing state criminal, civil or administrative proceeding, (2) the state court provides an adequate forum to hear the claims raised in the federal complaint, and (3) the state proceedings involve important state interests, matters which traditionally look to state law for their resolution or implicate separately articulated stated policies.
In this case, all three considerations make clear that this court must abstain.
The Tenth Circuit's decision in Morrow v. Winslow  applying these considerations in an analogous case demonstrates the inevitability of the court's abstention in this case. In Morrow, the plaintiff was a recognized citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Mr. Morrow's former spouse became pregnant and decided to place the child up for adoption. The mother-to-be contacted a private adoption agency and found what she thought to be a suitable placement for the child. 
Mr. Morrow was apprised of the pending adoption and first objected to it at a hearing the state court judge had scheduled to determine if it was necessary to obtain Mr. Morrow's consent before approving the adoption. A short time after he objected at this hearing, Mr. Morrow filed for custody of the child and asserted that the adoption proceedings had failed to comply with the ICWA. Then, with permission from the court, the Cherokee Nation intervened in the proceedings. Shortly before the state court trial date, Mr. Morrow filed a claim with the United States District Court in Oklahoma. The state judge stayed the adoption case pending the outcome of the federal proceedings.
In the federal case, the district judge addressed the merits of Mr. Morrow's claims, and denied Mr. Morrow relief.  Mr. Morrow appealed the district judge's determination to the Tenth Circuit. The Tenth Circuit concluded that the district court erred by assessing the merits of the case.  Instead, the district court should have abstained from hearing the case pursuant to Younger.  The court quoted Supreme Court jurisprudence cautioning "'against federal intervention in state judicial processes in the absence of great and immediate irreparable injury to the federal plaintiff.'"  Specifically, the Tenth Circuit found that policies underlying Younger applied to areas of state policy such as family relationships. The court determined that ICWA claims could be heard by either federal or state courts and that nothing in the ICWA indicated a congressional intent "to allow federal court interdiction of ongoing state custody disputes involving Indian children." Ultimately, the court did "not believe that Congress envisioned [the ICWA] to authorize the type of federal court supervision into ongoing state adoption proceedings that Morrow ask[ed it] to impose."
In this case, just as in Morrow, the plaintiff has proffered no grounds that would suggest the court should not abstain in this case. First, as in Morrow, the proceedings before the state court are ongoing. The adoption of Ms. Ziska's child has not yet been finalized in state court. The adoption proceedings were first extended when Mr. Begay adjudicated his rights in state court, then extended again when the Navajo Nation intervened in the case on June 26, 2006. Therefore, there is an active, civil proceeding in state court. Further, the proceedings before this court are in an "embryonic stage" and this court has decided no contested matters, putting this claim flatly within the ambit of Younger.
Next, the Navajo Nation has not met its burden of showing the claims it raised in this court could not be raised in state court. As an initial matter, this court is confident that Utah's state courts can adequately protect the Navajo Nation's rights - state processes are entirely capable of "accommodating the various interests and deciding the constitutional questions that may arise in child-welfare litigation." In Morrow, the Tenth Circuit was careful to note this same principle. Not only can Utah state courts ably decide such issues, the Navajo Nation has not cited to any procedural bar preventing it from raising its claims in the state forum. "[T]he only pertinent inquiry is whether the state proceedings afford an adequate opportunity to raise the . . . claims."*fn32 Navajo Nation attempts to distinguish this case from Morrow by pointing out that in Morrow, the father of the child, not the Cherokee tribe, filed suit in federal court. However, this distinction becomes superficial when considering that Judge Hanson gave the Navajo Nation permission to intervene in the ongoing state proceedings, which gives it a voice in the case. There is no indication the Navajo Nation's rights will be inadequately protected in the state process. Utah law obviously does not bar consideration of ICWA claims in adoption proceedings, as Mr. Begay framed some of his arguments in light of the ICWA and Judge Hanson addressed his arguments on their merits.
Finally, adoption proceedings involve important state interests. Indeed, in Morrow, the Tenth Circuit recognized that "adoption and child custody proceedings are an especially delicate subject of state policy" and familial relations are "a traditional area of state concern."*fn33 United States Supreme Court jurisprudence supports this view. In Moore v. Sims,*fn34 the Supreme Court heard a case in which two parents sued in a federal district court alleging the Texas Family Code was unconstitutional.*fn35 Before this suit, the Texas Department of Human Resources had filed a suit in a Texas state court requesting emergency protection of the parents' three children. The Supreme Court determined the federal district court should have abstained from hearing the case because familial relations were a traditional area of state concern.*fn37
The fact that this challenge arises under the ICWA does not suggest a different outcome. The ICWA does not "authorize the type of federal court supervision into ongoing state adoption proceedings" that would be necessary if this court heard this case. "Indeed, the ICWA grants concurrent jurisdiction in state and federal courts over adoption proceedings brought under its provisions."
In Moore, the challenged statutes implicated important federal constitutional questions that were nonetheless left to state court. Similarly, although the Navajo Nation has filed a claim under the ICWA, a statute which implicates important federal interests, the statute does not single-handedly override the important state interests at stake.  Indeed, the policies underlying Younger are especially important in cases such as this, where the "duplicitous and protracted litigation" resulting from ongoing federal and state cases will directly impact the welfare of a young child - a child who has not yet attained permanent placement.
Finally, as in Morrow, the fact that private parties (rather than the State) are the primary litigants does not change this balance. Even where private litigation is involved, a state's interest can be important - as demonstrated by the Morrow case itself. For all these reasons, the Younger doctrine, as applied in Morrow, appears plainly applicable.
Although exceptions to the Younger doctrine exist, none applies in this case. A party is not required to exhaust her state appellate remedies before seeking a federal injunction if (1) the state proceeding is conducted in bad faith or is motivated by a desire to harass, (2) the challenged statute flagrantly violates express constitutional prohibitions, or (3) extraordinary circumstances exist.  The Navajo Nation has not even attempted to make a showing that any of these exceptions apply or that it may suffer any kind of an irreparable injury if the state court hears its claims. Moreover, it appears from the facts that the Navajo Nation would be unable to make such a showing.

CONCLUSION
Because the court finds it necessary to abstain from hearing this case, the court GRANTS Family Services' Motion to Dismiss [#5]. The Clerk's Office is directed to dismiss the petition and close the case.
DATED this 12th day of December, 2006.

Leland P Morrill had posted this on Facebook. He is a Navajo/Dine adoptee who was adopted by Mormons through ARENA: see my interview on this blog: http://splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2011/04/my-interview-with-leland-morrill-navajo.html. The anthology Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects will be published in Sept. 2012 - Leland and many other adoptees share their stories - it's an amazing collection of adoptee narratives... we'll post more here soon... Trace

Monday, August 6, 2012

Americans for Open Records

(AmFOR)



WHO WE ARE
AmFOR was originally founded in 1989 by Lori Carangelo as a national organization by and for adoption affected citizens only, but also non-adopted citizens began to support our original, related and subsequent causes, so AmFOR expanded its focus and efforts with this mega-site to provide FREE research and assistance via our (still) free speech!
AmFOR is now an international voluntary network of citizens reclaiming "our right to know" via our dwindling access to billions of records wrongfully withheld from us and kept secret without our permission under alleged "confidentiality" and "privacy" laws, especially records in which we are named, and to certain other records which must be accessible to the public in the public interest. We are also reclaiming our right to correct anymisinformation or falsifications in such records.
AmFOR incorporated in 1996 as a non-profit tax-exempt California corporation, funded at the time entirely by book sales and royalties. Today, AmFOR's expanded emphasis and projects are funded entirely as a philanthropic project of its founder.

Capitol Building

WHAT WE DO

AmFOR has, over the years, lobbied, protested, petitioned, sued and had our books and editorials published, to OPEN UP our Wrongfully Sealed Birth and Adoption Records (degree of disclosure depends on state), our Publicly Held RecordsWRONGFULLY WITHHELD from our access, our Privately Held RecordsWRONGFULLY WITHHELD from our access, and certain of our government'sWRONGFULLY CLASSIFIED Records not sanctioned by Congress (representatives of the People).

When I was researching adoption from 2004 on, I came across Lori's website AMFOR http://www.amfor.net/. Some of her statistics blew my mind! If you wish to become active in restoring adoptees' rights and want to know about her activism, contact her through the website.   Trace

I just downloaded Chosen Children 2012: http://www.amfor.net/ebooks/chosenchildren2012.pdf
An excerpt: Trafficking of Foster Kids

There have been  reports of cases in the United States of government-run foster homes that turned
out to be fronts for child trafficking rings. A study in the United Kingdom found that 55% of child
trafficking victims, who are identified and rescued, eventually again go missing. Worldwide, the
numbers concerning child slavery are staggering.  More than 150-million children younger than 14
are child laborers;  one in six children worldwide.  Some girls as young as 13 are trafficked as mail
order brides and nearly 90% of domestic workers trafficked from West and Central Africa are young
girls.  American children who go missing from foster care are rarely found.

On 3-13-04, Ted Gunderson, FBI Senior Specialist Agent (Ret.)  delivered a speech to the
Congressional Hearing on Child Protection, stating that during his career he “investigated public
officials at all levels of government, which reached as high as the White House.  Most of all I have
chisled-in-stone documentation of an international  criminal enterprise involving kidnapping,
murders, including human sacrifices by Satanic Cults.  Specifically, in regard to Child Protective
Services, in some areas and some states, I have been told by reliable sources that a planeload of 210
children from CPS was flown out of Denver, Colorado, on 11-6-97, to Paris, France.
Later, a second plane load of children, also under care of CPS, was flown from Los Angeles to Europe.
I have also developed information through reliable sources that, in the past, children have
been taken from foster homes, orphanages, and  Boys Town Nebraska, and flown by private jets
from Sioux City Iowa to Washington DC and forced into sex orgies with politicians.  I have
interviewed witnesses who were active in an international child kidnapping ring, who advised me
that, of the thousands of children who disappear every year, many are auctioned off, at various
locations throughout the country.  This kidnapping ring involves a case under investigation known
as ‘The Franklin Coverup.’  I developed information from a credible source in a major city in the 9
Southwest U.S. that there is collusion between judges, attorneys and underworld criminals.
Children in that system become adopted, four thousand dollars is given to the people who adopt, and the children’s names are changed, and each child is re-adopted up to 75 times, with four thousand
dollars going to each adoption every time.  The federal Government Adoption Bonus is given
to these judges, attorneys,  and underworld criminals; it is split among the three groups of
child traffickers.
As an outgrowth of my involvement in the Franklin Coverup Case from Omaha, I learned
that a covert CIA operation known as ‘The Finders,’ based in Washington DC, was actively involved
in kidnapping and trafficking of children since the early 1960s.  This matter was brought to the
attention of the FBI and State Department in 1997.  A report by the Metropolitan Police Department
was classified ‘Secret’ in the interest of National Security.  The investigation by the FBI was closed
down, however, according to the U.S. Customs investigation report. ‘The Finders’ became an
internal matter.
I have given this information to the FBI on seven occasions, and have demanded an
investigation for the international kidnapping and trafficking of children.

SEARCHING??

SEARCHING??
Are you still searching?

Every. Day.

Every. Day.
adoptees take back adoption narrative and reject propaganda

To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

Read this SERIES

Read this SERIES
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Join!

National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network (NISCWN)

Membership Application Form

The Network is open to all Indigenous and Foster Care Survivors any time.

The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

Source Link: NICWSN Membership

Customer Review

Thought-provoking and moving 11 October 2012
Two Worlds - Lost children of the Indian Adoption Projects

If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

from pinterest

Our Fault? (no)

Leland at Goldwater Protest

#defendicwa

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