EXTENDED: UPDATE

CALLED HOME: A new anthology is planned for adoptees who are in reunion (or not yet in reunion) or searching for birth family and tribal relatives. Your photos and birth information will be published to help you! Please tell your adoptee friends. Send an email to tracedemeyer@yahoo.com. Deadline extended to APRIL 15, please email if you are writing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Alaska Supreme Court considers whether Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl applies to State-initiated child protection proceedings

In June 2013, the Alaska Supreme Court held in Native Village of Tununak v. Dep’t of Health & Soc. Servs (Tununak I)
that ICWA implicitly mandates that good cause to deviate from ICWA’s
adoptive placement preferences must be proven by clear and convincing
evidence, rather than a mere preponderance of the evidence. That opinion
is here.

Four days later, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  The adoptive parents in Tununak I
asked the Alaska Supreme Court to revise its ruling in light of it,
based on their argument that ICWA’s placement preferences do not apply
in cases where no other party has formally sought to adopt the child.
This argument would extend the Baby Girl decision beyond the realm of voluntary private adoptions like the one at issue in Baby Girl
and apply it to state-initiated child protection proceedings involving
the removal of a Native child from her custodial parent by state
authorities.



The parties and the Native Village of Kotzebue, acting as amicus
curiae, filed the following supplemental briefs on the issue in November
2013:

Appellee State of Alaska’s is here:  Tununak – Supplemental Brief of Appellee State of Alaska

Appellees H.S. and K.S.’s (the adoptive couple) is here:  Tununak – Supplemental Brief of Appellees H.S. and K.S. – adoptive couple

Appellant Village of Tununak’s is here:  Tununak – Appellant Village of Tununak’s Supplemental Brief

Amicus Curiae Native Village of Kotzebue’s, prepared by NARF, is here:  Tununak – Brief of Amicus Curiae Native Village of Kotzebue

Oral argument before the Alaska Supreme Court was held on January 14, 2014, and can be viewed here.



2014011176-12.mp3

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Weaving the Blanket of Peace

GCEF is offering sales of Grandmother's Message to the Lost Child that were taken to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women last month. The bookmarks can be purchased at "cost only" and in bulk. These bookmarks are beautiful and colorful yet at the same time serve a very powerful purpose. They can be casually handed with a smile to any child you suspect may be a victim of abuse such as trafficking. Our website address is included and through this they, an older sibling or anyone else can contact us. Purchase orders can be made on our website at www.gcefoundation.com and price will be based on number ordered + mailing. ♡♥♡♥♡♥ 
www.gcefoundation.com

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Nightwolf Show: Patricia Busbee and Trace DeMeyer FRIDAY


Winter Nightwolf Productions, LLC
Presents
Jay Winter Nightwolf’s
 
“American Indians’ Truths … the Most Dangerous Show on Radio”
 WPFW 89.3 FM (Pacifica) - Friday Afternoon – 1-2 PM
Online Live Stream … www.wpfw.org
 
Friday, April 18th, 2014
 
“Called Home”
Patricia Busbee (Cherokee/Shawnee/Welsh/German)
Trace DeMeyer (Cherokee)
“Two Native Women That Were Victimized by
The American Indian Adoption Project”
…and A Glimpse Into Their Past and Where They Are TODAY!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Minnesota tribes adopt home visits

smudging with sage is our tradition


BEMIDJI — A new program is being introduced to area tribes through the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
 
Family Spirit is an American Indian program designed by American Indians that has proven successful in other states to support new parents. The program includes tribal health staff, many of whom are American Indian themselves, who support young parents with 63 lessons to be taught from pregnancy up to the child’s third birthday.

American Indian babies die in the first year of life at twice the rate of white babies, according to the MDH. While infant mortality rates for all groups have declined, the disparity in rates has existed for more than 20 years.

Family Spirit is more flexible than other home visiting approaches and encourages home visitors to consider American Indian beliefs and cultural traditions when educating clients and asking them for information, according to Karla Decker Sorby, MDH tribal nurse consultant.

In mainstream home visiting programs, she said, it would not have been acceptable to use “smudging,” the burning of tobacco, cedar, sage or other materials during home visits. But the Family Spirit curriculum makes room for such traditions.

“It is a ceremony that is cleansing and healing and is often done when dealing with difficult issues or seeking good influences,” Decker Sorby said.

Minnesota tribes and organizations participating in the Family Spirit training include Red Lake, Leech Lake, Fond du Lac, Bois Forte, Grand Portage, Lower Sioux, Mille Lacs and Mewinzha Ondaadiziike Wiigamig.

Family Spirit is designed as a home visiting program, but the curriculum can be delivered in other venues as well, such as clinics, schools or in group settings.

Family Spirit also encourages a culturally sensitive style of conversation. For example, instead of starting by asking a mom whether she smokes or uses other substances, the training encourages the visitor to ask the client if she feels drugs and alcohol may negatively affect her community.

“Reservation members tend to have strong ties to their community,” Decker Sorby said in the release. “So starting the conversation by talking about the community is respectful and also opens the door for young moms to start talking about the problem of substance abuse in and outside of their families.”

Training sessions are underway and home visits are expected to begin this spring.

The program is flexible and participants can be enrolled at any point, from early pregnancy until the child’s third birthday, though the goal is to see families throughout that entire period.

The Family Spirit program is being offered by other tribes in California, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington. Researchers studying family spirit initiatives have found the program has increased parenting knowledge and involvement; decreased maternal depression; increased home safety; and decreased substance use in both pregnant and parenting women. It has been used around the nation with more than 2,500 Native American families.

Starting in 1995, Family Spirit was designed and rigorously evaluated by the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in partnership with the Navajo, White Mountain and San Carlos Apache communities.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#ICWA means standing strong

Leland Morrill Kirk, Navajo adoptee with Ft Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, NICWA Conference — at Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six | Fort Lauderdale, FL. Leland and many other adoptees are presenting at this conference in Florida.
 
Associate Attorney General Tony West Delivers Remarks at the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s 32nd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference
~ Monday, April 14, 2014
Thank you, Theodore and Alex, for that kind introduction and for inviting me to join you today at this conference.  It is wonderful to be here with so many friends, colleagues, and supporters.  And it is an honor to share the stage this morning with two great partners, Assistant Secretary Washburn and Associate Commissioner Chang.
I would especially like to thank NICWA and its members for the work that you do -- day in and day out -- to strengthen Indian tribes, to support Indian families, and to protect Indian children in both state child-welfare and private-adoption systems throughout our nation.
And I think it's fitting that what brings us together this morning, this week -- from communities across this country -- is our commitment to children, particularly Native children.  I think it was the French philosopher Camus who wrote about this being a world in which children suffer, but maybe, through our actions, we can lessen the number of suffering children.
Indeed, what brings us to Ft. Lauderdale is that promise we make to all of our children: that their safety and well-being is our highest priority; that they are sacred beings, gifts from the Creator to be cherished, cared for, and protected.

It was that promise that, nearly forty years ago, led Congress to hold a series of hearings that lifted the curtain and shed light on abusive child-welfare practices that were separating Native children from their families at staggering rates; uprooting them from their tribes and their culture.  Roughly one of every three or four Indian children, according to data presented at those hearings, had been taken from their birth families and placed with adoptive families, in foster care, or in institutions that had little or no connection to the child's tribe.
And in the face of that overwhelming evidence, a bipartisan Congress acted and passed the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

And in the four decades since, as everyone here knows, ICWA has had a dramatic impact.  Families, tribes, social workers, and Indian foster and adoptive parents have invoked ICWA’s core protections to stem the most flagrant abuses.
Tribes no longer face the prospect that a quarter to a third of their children will simply disappear, shipped off to homes halfway across the country.  Today, in many places, tribes and states have developed productive working partnerships to implement ICWA – partnerships that ensure that Indian families and cultures are treated with the respect they deserve.
And while it is right for us to recognize the landmark achievement that is ICWA, we also know that there is much work left to do.  There is more work to do because, in some states, Native children are still removed from their families and tribes at disproportionately high rates. 
There's more work to do because nationwide Indian children are still two to three times as likely as non-Indian children to end up in foster care; in some states the numbers are even larger.
There's more work to do because every time an Indian child is removed in violation of ICWA, it can mean a loss of all connection with family, with tribe, with culture.  And with that loss, studies show, comes an increased risk for mental health challenges, homelessness in later life, and, tragically, suicide.
So, as far as we have come since ICWA became law in 1978, we have farther still to go.

You all know this is true from both professional and personal experience.  And I want you to know that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder share your commitment to improving the welfare of Indian children and are committed to working with you to help achieve that goal. 

Although ICWA speaks primarily to the responsibilities and roles of the states and the tribes, we believe there’s a constructive part for the federal government to play.

That's why the White House has directed the Departments of the Interior, Health and Human Services, and Justice to engage in an unprecedented collaboration to help ensure that ICWA is properly implemented.  I believe we will hear more about this effort from Assistant Secretary of the Interior Washburn in a few minutes.

For our part at the Justice Department, our main ICWA contributions have focused on precedent-setting litigation that can affect ICWA's reach and force.  One of ICWA’s most important provisions is its recognition that Indian tribes, as sovereigns, have presumptive jurisdiction over Indian child-custody proceedings.  And over the years we have worked hard to help protect this tribal jurisdiction by participating in federal and state court litigation as an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court.”
In Alaska, for example, we’ve participated in a line of cases over the last 20 years to ensure that Alaska tribes have jurisdiction over child-custody disputes.  Starting with the landmark John v. Baker case, we’ve filed multiple amicus briefs in the Alaska and U.S. Supreme Courts, successfully arguing that even tribes that lack “Indian country” retain jurisdiction to address child-custody disputes.
Of course, we've not always prevailed.  Last June's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, which narrowly interpreted ICWA and terminated the parental rights of a Cherokee father in connection with his daughter, was decided over our arguments in support of the father.
But even when we don't prevail, our legal arguments can have a major impact on the ultimate decision.  You'll recall that in Baby Girl, one of the arguments advanced by the adoptive couple was, essentially, that ICWA was unconstitutional -- that it "upset the federal-state balance," suggesting that Congress was prohibited from overriding state child-custody law when an Indian child was involved.

We countered that applying ICWA in that case raised no constitutional concerns, as Congress has plenary authority to protect Indian children from being improperly separated from Indian communities.  And on this point, we were successful:  even though we lost the ultimate issue and the High Court ruled against the Cherokee father, the Court did not rely on the adoptive couple's constitutional argument and did not rule that ICWA was unconstitutional.

Notwithstanding setbacks like the Baby Girl decision, we will continue to stand up for ICWA because, as we said in the Supreme Court, it's “a classic implementation of Congress’s plenary [trust] responsibility . . . for Indians.”  You see, for us, standing up for ICWA means standing strong for tribal sovereignty.  "Nothing could be more at the core of tribal self-determination and tribal survival,” we said during oral argument in the Baby Girl case, “than . . . [determining] tribal membership and . . .  [caring] about what happens to Indian children.”

READ MORE

Monday, April 14, 2014

#Baby Veronica #ICWA: Future Threats coming


Another book about this appalling history

The Adoption Crunch, the Christian Right, and the Challenge to Indian Sovereignty
About Kathryn Joyce
Kathryn Joyce is the author of The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption and Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement (Beacon Press 2009). Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, Slate, Mother Jones, the Atlantic, and many other publications.


While the demand for adoptable babies is increasing in the United States—driven in large part by evangelical Christians—the number of babies available for adoption is declining. Adoption agencies are now targeting tribal nations as a potential new source of babies to adopt, and forming alliances that threaten to undermine the sovereignty of Native American nations.
**This article appears in the Winter 2014 issue of The Public Eye magazine.**
On September 23, 2013, a child-custody battle that was nearly five years in the making came to its conclusion in Oklahoma when an Army veteran from the Cherokee Nation, Dusten Brown, handed over his daughter, Veronica, to Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a White couple from South Carolina who had raised her for the first two years of her life.1
Brown gained custody of four-year-old Veronica in December 2011, after a South Carolina court ruled that the adoption process had violated federal Indian law. Brown’s attorneys also argued that Christina Maldonado—Brown’s ex-fiancĂ© and Veronica’s biological mother, who is Latina—had deliberately concealed plans to let the Capobiancos adopt her.2  As the custody decision was reversed following a 2013 Supreme Court ruling,3 and Veronica was tucked into the Capobiancos’ car to return to South Carolina, the scene was broadcast across national and social media to two polarized camps. Brown’s supporters condemned the Capobiancos as baby-snatchers stealing an Indian child from her loving father, as tens of thousands of Native children had been systematically removed from their families in decades past. The Capobiancos’ supporters condemned Brown as a deadbeat dad who had given up his rights long ago and was hiding behind an obsolete law.
...In the 1950s and 1960s, boarding schools gave way to the Indian Adoption Project, which removed children from Native homes and placed them in foster care or adoptive homes. By the 1970s, an astonishing one-quarter to one-third of all Indian children in the United States had been taken away from their families, and 85-90 percent of them were placed in non-Indian families.  The generation came to be known as the “Lost Birds.”55


“There were literally American Indian communities where there were no children,” said Terry Cross. As the broader Native American community realized what was happening and began to collect testimony for Congress, other stories emerged: of Native American women pressured into relinquishing babies for adoption just after birth while still under the effects of anesthesia, and of women waking up to find that their babies were gone and, sometimes, that they had themselves been sterilized.56

 Read more→  HERE

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Money behind the Madness #Adoption

From Trace: If you think adoption is about children, well then I have an article for you:

Child “protection” is one of the biggest businesses in the country. We spend $12 billion a year on it. 
The money goes to tens of thousands of a) state employees, b) collateral professionals, such as lawyers, court personnel, court investigators, evaluators and guardians, judges, and c) DSS contracted vendors such as counselors, therapists, more “evaluators”, junk psychologists, residential facilities, foster parents, adoptive parents, MSPCC, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, etc. This (Massachusetts) newspaper is not big enough to list all of the people in this state who have a job, draw a paycheck, or make their profits off the kids in DSS custody. 
In this article I explain the financial infrastructure that provides the motivation for DSS to take people’s children – and not give them back
"If you prefer to actually be able to kick tires instead of just looking at pictures you could attend one of DSS’s quaint “Adoption Fairs,” where live children are put on display and you can walk around and browse. Like a flea market to sell kids. If one of them begs you to take him home you can always say, “Sorry. Just looking.” The incentives for government child snatching are so good that I’m surprised we don’t have government agents breaking down people’s doors and just shooting the parents in the heads and grabbing the kids. But then, if you need more apples you don’t chop down your apple trees...." 

Even though this article is older, it's the same old song-n-dance in 2014...Trace

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Veronica's Birth Mother Drops Bid to Overturn ICWA in South Carolina


YouTube/Cynthia T.
Veronica with her dad Dusten Brown in Nowata, Oklahoma

4/7/14
Indian Country Today Media Network has confirmed that the legal team for Christinna Maldonado, the birth mother of “Baby Veronica,” has quietly dropped its class action suit, which sought to overturn portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, contending it is “race-based” legislation.

RELATED: Some Disturbing Facts About Baby Veronica's Birth Mother

The case, Maldonado et al v. Holder, in which the United States and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma were also named as defendants, had been filed last July during the height of the legal firestorm in which Matt and Melanie Capobianco of James Island, South Carolina, were seeking custody of a Cherokee child they had named Veronica.

The United States Supreme Court had ruled in June 2013 that Veronica’s biological father, Dusten Brown, could not sue under ICWA because he did not have “continued” custody of the girl. The case made headlines around the world, though the little girl was eventually returned to live with the adoptive couple in South Carolina in September of last year.

Maldonado had initially remained quiet during the legal proceedings, but eventually joined the class action suit which included a dozen other women in filing the litigation in federal court in South Carolina. Their suit sought to declare the “Indian preference” under section 1915 of ICWA “unconstitutional,” because it “violated their civil rights to choose fit, stable adoptive parents for their birth children,” according to one of their attorneys.

But on January 27, the plaintiffs in the case quietly filed a voluntary motion for dismissal with the court, putting an end to one of the longest, most expensive and emotional custody cases in U.S. History.

“We are pleased Ms. Maldonado and the unnamed plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the suit,” said Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. “We never believed the suit had any merit and we were prepared to actively defend the suit had we ever been served.”
In the meantime, the Cherokee Nation and the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Adoptive Couple continue to await the decision on the demand fees totaling over copy million in Nowata County Court in Oklahoma. Previously, they had publicized their work on behalf of the Capobiancos as “pro bono,” but sought compensation a week after the pre-schooler was returned to South Carolina. Their previous suit for fees in South Carolina totaled some $500,000, but was dropped late last year.

Since that time, the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes, along with another class action of parents in South Dakota, have sued the state in federal court over multiple violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

RELATED: South Dakota Tribes Charge State With ICWA Violations
Swept Away: South Dakota's Native Children Denied Due Process in Custody Cases
Swept Away, Part 2: Suing South Dakota to Protect Native Children

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/07/veronicas-birth-mother-drops-bid-overturn-icwa-south-carolina-154354

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Roots & Ties program keeps children in care in B.C. connected to their community

Program helping aboriginal kids in foster care to be cut

By Darryl Hol and G.P. Mendoza, CBC News 
Chantal Douglas and a friend listen carefully to the story being told at Roots and Ties.
Chantal Douglas and a friend listen carefully to the story being told at Roots and Ties. (Darryl Hol and G.P. Mendoza)

Eleanor Stephenson remembers a time when she only saw her granddaughters two or three times a year.
Chantal and Nora, now 12 and 9, were living in foster care because their parents couldn’t care for them.
Her family’s situation is all too common in the small Cheam First Nation - located about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver - where nearly every extended family has been affected by the child welfare system.
That’s why she started the Roots and Ties program four years ago. It’s an event that welcomes Cheam children living in foster care back to the community to visit their families.
“I feel that if there was no Roots and Ties, a lot of the children wouldn’t know their grandparents, even their parents sometimes,” says Stephenson.
Roots & Ties
Eleanor Stephenson started the Roots and Ties program four years ago. (Darryl Hol and G.P. Mendoza)

Held on the third Sunday of every month, foster parents are invited to bring children in their care to the community hall for a meal, birthday cake, and cultural activity.
Everyone is welcome, including parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, foster parents, and social workers.


Read more here

Our governments need a wake-up call that programs like this are necesssary and much-needed for the emotional health and stability of tribal children in care in Canada and the US...cutting funding hurts children. It should not be an option but a necessity....Trace

Friday, April 4, 2014

7th Annual Demons in Adoption nominations (a must read) #BabyVeronica

The link for nominations may be found at: http://poundpuplegacy.org/seventh_demons_of_adoption_nominations


7th Annual Demons in Adoption

Hands down this year!! The Matthew and Melanie Capobianco, Troy the Stalker Dunn, Nightlight Adoption Agency and its owners/attorney Raymond W. and Laura Beauvais Godwin, their PR rep, Jessica Munday and her company, Trio Solutions, and their national fund-raising/lobbying arm Christian Alliance for Indian Child Kidnapping
By their outrageous behavior - violating gag orders, hiring PR firms, taking what should have been a private matter to the court of public opinion and peddling lies and slurs against Veronica's father on talk shows, in newspapers, "news" programs, exploiting a minor child by using her image and name to raise tens of thousands of dollars, contracting with a TV reality show producer to film her and invade her privacy (show up at her school uninvited and unannounced), demanding public officials arrest her father and "seize" her, threatening the safety and security of the Brown family to such an extent that they had to move out of their family home and into tribal housing and be provided with 24-hour security guards, and more - the Capobiancos have proven to the world that so-called "love" for this child and her safety and security are the furthest things from their minds. By their actions, they have indelibly harmed her for life. They began exposure of an innocent child for public display in such a manner that she will never know privacy and peace again. From now until forever everyone will know who and where she is. Her security has been compromised beyond repair. For these reasons and more, including the underhanded, unethical and probably illegal means in which she was abducted from OK at birth, they have forfeited any right of entitlement or possession of this or any other child, if not provided ample grounds for criminal charges and civil liability to the Brown family.

There are plenty more to read but this one nailed it on the BABY VERONICA CASE... Trace 

I nominate the Nightlight Adoption Agency

I nominate Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency and its owners and operators for their violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and trafficking in babies. Rumor is there are 50 children from North Dakota tribes placed thru Nightlight in addition to Veronica Brown and Baby Desaray (and untold others).
Nightlight is a corporation with Laura Godwin, its CEO/director, and Ronald Stoddart as Principal Officer for tax purposes. In 2011 alone, they grossed $2,747,914. Nightlight is licensed in Colorado, California, South Carolina and in Kentucky so far. Now in two lawsuits over Native American babies they attempted to place for adoption...
Raymond W. Godwin, called an unethical adoption attorney in news reports, was the original adoption attorney for Matt and Melanie Capobianco and is also involved in this dispute called #BABY DESARAY. His wife Laura is the director of the Nightlight adoption agency that handled the Baby Veronica placement/adoption.
Read more here: http://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/7609

STOP CHIFF

STOP CHIFF

Baby Traffickers: Nightlight Adoption Agency

Nightlight Christian Adoptions has been the subject of at least two investigative articles by The Charleston Post and Courier where they looked at Nightlight in Greenville and attorney Raymond Godwin.
Just go to http://www.postandcourier.com/and search Nightlight Christian Adoptions and look for "The Price of Adoption" on Sept 21 and "Attorney Says Oklahoma Tribe Never Expressed Interest Before Infant's Birth" on Sept 14.

Raymond's wife Laura Beauvais-Godwin heads the Nightlight offices in Greenville SC. Both Nightlight and Godwin's law offices share the same building address at 1527 Wade Hampton Blvd in Greenville, SC 29609.

One of the articles said, "But the larger issue, according to skeptics, is the allegation that some birth mothers, agencies and attorneys conceal adoptions and prevent birth fathers from asserting parental rights." and "Once these agencies and lawyers get the birth mother on the hook ... they tell these birth moms not to answer any calls from the dads," said Shannon Jones, the Charleston attorney who represents Simmons and Brown. "Of course, then they argue the dad is a deadbeat."

Which is exactly what happened to Dusten Brown.

Source: http://pullthisblogover.blogspot.com/2013/09/an-open-letter-to-matt-and-melanie.html (comment)

Keep Veronica in your prayers