The Termination trial has been postponed. I imagine it is all a lesson in patience. I am trying not to go down to the Dept. and ring somebody by their skinny little neck. Those horror stories still exist of other children who have it much worse than Jeremiah, and I must remind myself that it could be more unpleasant. This thought process doesn’t seem to make it any easier.
Yesterday and today were the days that were supposed to decide Jeremiah’s future. We were ready for this to be over. Jeremiah will continue to see his bio parents until the date of the next Termination.
This all happened because of ICWA, and someone who was new at their job dropping the ball. I understand being new at your job and not knowing what to do in each step of the process, but where was the Supervisor? The one who meets with them to make sure everything is covered?
ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) must be covered in EVERY case. This means that every bio parent must be asked if they have any Indian heritage. If the answer is no, nothing needs to be done. If the answer is yes, documents must be sent to the tribe in which the parent is affiliated. The tribe first checks to see if any family member has been registered with them. If no one in the family has been registered, it ends there. If a family member has been registered, the tribe can then decide if they want custody of the child. Even if they have never known the child in any capacity, they can still take custody.
In Jeremiah’s case no one asked the bio mom if she had any affiliation with an Indian tribe. That is, up until less than two weeks before the Termination hearing. While in a meeting with all associated with the case, the state representative asked Tam (bio mom) if she had any Indian affiliation. She said yes, and the whole room dropped like a dead weight. Everyone knew what this meant. At best, it would hold everything up. At worst, the Indian tribe would seek custody.
The reason that it is so important that ICWA be covered is because they have more power than you would believe. They have caused cases to start over from the beginning. We don’t want to start over again.
The Judge did have the option to go ahead with the hearing and then wait to hear what ICWA responded with, but he chose not to go on with the hearing. So, now we wait, and pray, and trust that God will take care of Jeremiah, and that He will give us strength until the end.
Tracy Dee Whitt
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