Gentlemen, imagine the following, you’re enlisted in the military, a member of the Cherokee nation making $23,000 a year, and you get your Hispanic fiance’ pregnant. You try to get her to hurry up the engagement and get married but instead she refuses, breaks off the engagement via text message, and refuses to speak to you anymore, fair enough. A month later you get a text message from her asking whether you’d rather pay child support or relinquish your parental rights to your child. Paying child support would render you a pauper given your king’s ransom of a yearly salary and, if you fell behind on the payments, you could be imprisoned which would result in a dishonorable discharge from the military, your chosen career, and completely destroy your life. Your fiance has already shown herself to be fickle and you’re scared. So, you relinquish your rights, also in text message, perhaps hoping that at a later point you can figure out a way to afford to become a parent, maybe after you get back from being deployed to the Iraqi war zone where you’ll be shot at all the time. This is, perhaps, your hope,
What occurs instead is your fiance puts your unborn child up for adoption and, in order to skirt the State of Oklahoma’s requirement that the Cherokee nation be notified of this adoption so they can intervene, your ex-fiance’ manages to misspell your name, Dusten Brown, and provide a wrong birthdate so that you can’t be notified. Once an adoptive couple from South Carolina steps forward to adopt your baby, your ex-fiance’ then purposefully misidentifies the baby as hispanic thus guaranteeing that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), intended to keep non-Native Americans from adopting Indian babies without the tribe’s consent, won’t be triggered and she can give your child away without ever letting you or the Cherokee Nation know.
Four months after your child’s birth, at which the adoptive father cut the umbilical cord, and just a few days before you deploy to go get shot at for your country, you’re finally notified that, surprise, your ex-fiance’ gave your child up for adoption without telling you. This is illegal because an Indian parent can only relinquish parental rights if all of the following requirements are met.
- 1) do so in writing,
- 2) do so before a judge
- 3) the judge must certify that the parent understands his or her actions
- 4) the judge must certify that he or she understands spoken English or has a translator available
- 5) a relinquishment may not be executed prior to ten days after the child’s birth. (in your case, your fiancé signed the adoption papers long before your child was born and didn’t even notify you until she (your baby) was 4 months old
So, basically nothing about what was done was legal. You sue, the State courts grant you custody, as they should, the adoptive parents counter sue, it goes to the Supreme Court, two years pass, the Supreme Court rules that a White couple will get to have your baby despite the perfect storm of Scalia and Sotomayor agreeing that you should absolutely have custody of her. So, the case goes back to the State courts to let them hash out the particulars. Oklahoma and South Carolina decide South Carolina gets to decide who keeps your kid (lucky you) and South Carolina says the adoptive parents, who attained your child under fraudulent circumstances, get to take your baby.
You do what comes natural…you refuse to return your daughter to a couple of total strangers who couldn’t give a damn about your child’s heritage, her tribe, her past, anything at all and who only care about having a baby of their own no matter what it costs you or your child. But, if the Oklahoma courts agree to honor South Carolina’s then you’re going to lose your daughter. U.S. v You has all but been decided.
So, that in a nutshell is how you can steal a Cherokee baby despite her father being a living person in the world who also happened to volunteer to put his life on the line in a war zone for the very people who want to take his child.
Read here if you want to see where the National Indian Child Welfare Association comes down on it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go punch my fist through a fucking wall.