THIS makes me ill and as an Alaskan Native, ICWA family it infuriates me to no end.
Surely this comes down to one thing…money and power as it is most certainly NOT the best interest of the child.
The first question we should ALL be asking is “Where was the family/tribe during the last year or more?”
It takes almost TWO YEARS to terminate parental rights and during those two years, OCS/DHSS HAS to search for eligible family or tribal members willing to foster or adopt. After those two years have passed and no family or tribal member has stepped forward, or proven to be eligible, and when parental rights are (finally) terminated THEN and only then is the child available for adoption and in most cases the foster family they have been a part of is eagerly waiting to do so.
So why then is this new ICWA rule so important? Why are we not only allowing the family/tribe to step in (literally last minute) without questioning their intent after being silent/uninterested in the child for years but why are we now not even requiring any formal declaration of their intent to do so (as we do with EVERY other race/culture)? Am I the only one who thinks this is insane, racist, discriminatory and ultimately completely inhumane for the child?!
Okay…let me take a breath. Here’s a little back story for those who are not foster parents and might think this new rule is all rainbows, sunshine and cultural goodness…
ALL foster families, are very much aware that there is little to NO chance of ever adopting an Alaskan Native child (unless they are in their family or SPECIFIC tribe as we have learned). Never mind the fact that out of the 2,500 children in foster care in Alaska, 1,500 are Alaskan Native and the number of AK Native (ICWA approved) foster homes makes up a tiny fraction of our resource families. Nope, no need to take that into consideration at all (apparently)…basic supply and demand economics doesn’t seem to matter to our law makers, as long as we can put a culturally sensitive band-aid on the problem, we can sleep well, right? Who cares about the actual children and how they’re sleeping…
So most foster families hoping to adopt understandably refuse to take Alaskan Native children at all in order to spare the heartache of attachment and removal. Sadly this has left our group ‘homes’ (using the term ‘homes’ loosely mind you) FULL of almost only Alaskan Native children to be raised in a facility instead of a loving home with staff instead of family. Hmm…I still don’t see how the ICWA laws are protecting our children or culture…Perhaps those who wrote and continue to expand upon them should sign up to foster? Crazy thought, I know.
Of course there are those faithful few hoping to adopt who still choose to take these little ones in regardless of the risk, opening their homes and loving them like their own, putting their hearts on the line every hour of every day for years, only to have them taken away (from the only stable, loving family they’ve ever known) and given over to a sub-par family or tribal member, declaring they are (and I quote from page 2, paragraph 3) “protecting the stability and security of Tribes.” What? I thought we were protecting the child?
It is cruel for all involved ESPECIALLY the child.
Common sense is checked at the door in the name of ‘cultural sensitivity’ while this is the most inhuman thing a person could do to an already traumatized child.
We are to love regardless of color (or culture) right? So how is this discriminatory rule a ‘GOOD’ thing?