Adoptive parents, Clint and Heather Larson of Utah, had to release custody of their 6-month-old baby boy, Talon, Sunday evening after a Federal law allowed for his birth mother to change her mind about the adoption. The biological mother is a member of the Leech Lake band of the Ojibwe American Indian tribe. However, according to the Indian Child Welfare Act(ICWA), if a child is eligible for membership into the tribe, that is enough for the tribal courts to intervene in the placement of a child, if the tribal courts find just cause.
What is baffling to me in this case is the fact that both the tribe and the state have deemed the biological parents as unfit, so baby Talon will be placed into a Native American foster home with two of his biological siblings. So, lets look at what we know, and I realize we only know what gets printed up in newspapers and shared on TV interviews, so we probably don't have the full story.
Talon was removed from the only parents he knows; the Larson's adopted him at birth and nursed him through drug withdrawals. (Do people still not understand how devastating reactive attachment disorder can be to a child? Really? People still don't get it?) The child was removed because birth mother changed her mind, but she can't have custody of him because she was found to be unfit by not only the state, but by the tribal court. So, the child was placed in foster care. OK - so what was gained here? I'm lost.
Yes, I understand the importance of ICWA, but there seems to be a missing piece to this law. How about a statute of limitation, a window where the tribal court can intervene, but after that the child remains as placed, if adoption procedures were followed correctly. (I've been hearing rumblings that the law was not followed correctly and that biological parents and the tribe may have a legal leg to stand on in this case.) I understand the point of keeping the Native American culture strong, but reports state the child is also of Mexican heritage. Why is the Ojibwe culture more important than the Mexican and European blood within his veins? Shouldn't every piece of this child's culture be honored and respected?
Thoughts on this very sad story?
Federal Law Gives Tribe Ruling in Baby Talon's Fate - ABC News
Utah couple forced to give adopted baby back to tribe - ABC4.com