Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Baby Dies.

The house where 9-month-old Tila died on June 21, 2009, was filthy. There were no clean dishes, and alcohol bottles and cans were strewn throughout. Two other children, dirty diapers sagging, were removed from the home.

23-year old Lance Ballinger was taken into custody. He has been charged with two counts of felony domestic assault, four counts of neglect of a child, five counts of child endangerment and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court on Thursday, June 25. These counts included the infant as well as two other kids who were at Ballinger's house.

But he hasn't been charged with murder yet. Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department is the lead agency investigating the death of the child.

Unbelievably, Ballinger was released from Mille Lacs County Jail just the day before Tila died - on Saturday, June 20. He had served 52 days for violating a domestic abuse/no contact order, driving under the influence and domestic assault.

Not even 24 hours later, at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 21, Tila Friend-Ballinger was reported non-responsive.

Her mother, Kelly Friend, said she found the baby in Ballinger's bed, with a bruise on her forehead, at around 5 a.m. Ballinger was passed out. Friend says that there was no bruise when she left her with Ballinger around midnight.

A preliminary breath test given to Ballinger at 8:01 a.m. gave a reading of .201.

Okay, so this dumb mother left her infant at midnight with a drunk who just got out of jail for having beat her in the past - a drunk who had a no-contact order in relation to her. The guy is scum - but so, it appears, might have been the slow-witted mother.

Apparently - this guy had assaulted Tila in November as well, when she was only 2-months-old. On November 5th, the baby was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center with head injuries.

Air-lifted with head injuries! And the mother went and dropped her off at this guy's house as soon as he got out of jail!!

In fact, the mother had initially lied to the police about that - saying the baby had gotten hurt when another little girl had pulled her off the couch. Later she said she had dropped her daughter while trying to break up a fight between her brother and Ballinger. A third story, form Ballinger's father, was that his son had dropped the baby during an argument with Friend.

I'm guessing the third story was probably the real one - and this dumb mother is too "love" struck - or sickeningly dependent- to protect her child from this guy! Instead, time and again she protects HIM against the world.

Anyway, Mille Lacs County Attorney's Office DECLINED charges on March 10, 2009. They said they couldn't press charges because "witnesses gave conflicting stories, and it was possible that the injuries were accidental." They also said that not all of the witnesses could be found until this week.

Now, new charges have been filed on that case, because on Monday, June 22, Friend finally decided that it was time to tell "the whole story about what had happened" on Nov. 5. She said Ballinger was fighting with her brother and, while she was holding the baby, pushed her down. Then he grabbed Tila from her and dropped her again. Friend's brother later confirmed that story. (I guess that must be the witness they couldn't find earlier)

But if that wasn't enough, in 2008 Friends had reported that while she was still pregnant, Ballinger had slugged her in the stomach and said ‘he would rather see it dead than her having it.’ And yet, she still hangs with the guy.

All of that, and yet there are people that write letters to the paper such as this one:

of contributing to the delinquency of a minor

Here you have an opposite view of the guy -

"...look at losers myspace profile its not private he is seen drinking a good dad the baby has a joint in his mouth. Dont bring the creator into this he has nothing to do with it and dont kid your self if he was a good dd he wouldnt be in and out of jail; for bieng a drunk and beating kelly and where was kellys mom kids having kids geeez. sounds like an uncharged case of statutory rape . you need to quit defending criminals thats the problem on the rez you feel bvad for the people who screw everyone over screw lance where is justice for the baby? the guy was out for like 6 hours then he was drunk..."

It's time Everyone woke up. What is happening in many communities is an epidemic of adults with FASD raising children with FASD, who then raise children with FASD.

Face the truth and do something about it.

The Indian Child Welfare Act is a crime - mandating that children are better off under these conditions than in safe, stable homes. One social worker told us that had my husband's grandchildren been white or black, they would have been removed from their parents much earlier. But because they were of tribal heritage, they were left to suffer. It's about time an attorney made a case against ICWA by demanding Equal Protection for these children.

"The mother reported that Ballinger hit her in the abdomen and said ‘he would rather see it dead than her having it.’ She said she believed he was attempting to harm the unborn child."

Tribal officials that lobby in Wash. DC, telling congressmen that kids are better off suffering under these conditions rather then being placed in safe, loving homes (even if they are "non-tribal") are also to blame, along with both parents.

The Indian Child Welfare Act and the phony mindset that goes with it is a crime. Tribal leaders are more interested in money per head than in the welfare of children.

Monday, June 15, 2009

States Not Complying with ICWA - for Good Reason

The Second Appellate Court in California issued a partially published opinion in Justin L. v. Superior Court, and stated in part;

“We are growing weary of appeals in which the only error is theDepartment’s
failure to comply with ICWA. (See In re I.G. (2005) 133Cal.App.4th 1246,
1254-1255 [14 published opinions in 2002 through 2005, and72 unpublished cases
statewide in 2005 alone reversing in whole or in part fornoncompliance with
ICWA].) Remand for the limited purpose of the ICWAcompliance is all too common.
(Ibid.) ICWA’s requirements are not new. Yetthe prevalence of inadequate notice
remains disturbingly high.”
Perhaps compliance is difficult because the law itself is unjust, and caring people don't like to see children subjected to not only unjust, but dangerous law.

And under the single criterion that a home be ICWA eligable, kids are continually being placed into horrible situations with the blessing of both the federal and tribal governments.

And not just kids of tribal heritage - but children of every heritage, because a child doesn't need to be 100% tribal to for a tribe to have jurisdiction over them through ICWA. Most tribes require only 1/4 blood quantum, meaning the child has an even greater heritage somewhere else. Some tribes require even less to claim a child. For example, a child in Texas has less than 2% tribal heritage, but the tribe is trying to claim him.

The law itself is a crime, and as long as it stays that way, there will be difficulty in getting compassionate people to comply.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ICWA Reaks. Reservation is Worst Place for Many Kids

Children messed up by drugs and alcohol need a safe, stable, therapeutic home - The LAST thing they need is placement back into the very garbage that they came out of.

Two days ago I sat in the front seat of an ambulance transporting my 14-year old, unresponsive "son" (placed by ICWA) to the ER. His blood alcohol level was .35.

We were not a bad home. But we were not a therapeutic home. The four children placed with us thirteen years ago, solely because my husband was their grandfather, did not get what they needed.

We were a good home, but we were not educated in the needs of the kids and were never truly inspected by Leech Lake or any other social service. We could have done anything and no one would have known or cared. All they cared about was that we met the criteria for an ICWA placement. And under that single criterion, kids are continually being placed into horrible situations with the blessing of both the federal and tribal governments. And not just kids of tribal heritage - but children of every heritage, because a child doesn't need to be 100% tribal to for a tribe to have jurisdiction over them through ICWA. Most tribes require only 1/4 blood quantum, meaning the child has an even greater heritage somewhere else. Some tribes require even less to claim a child. For example, a child in Texas has less than 2% tribal heritage, but the tribe is trying to claim him.

But as I said, the LAST thing kids of ANY heritage need is placement back into the very garbage that they came out of. Children messed up by drugs and alcohol need a safe, stable, therapeutic home - heritage isn't even an issue.

The bottom line is that this isn't just about keeping them off the Rez. We don't live on the Rez. It's about placing them in an appropriate home.

I was too overwhelmed - with five birth children and these four legal custody, as well as my husband dying of cancer. Any sane social service person should have seen that this can't work. But they didn't care. And I couldn't bring myself to give up and have them sent to Cass Lake. I've seen how kids are being raised there with our relatives. That place is absolutely horrid and dangerous for children. I could not kick them out of my home and make them live there. So I kept them and ended up doing an inadequate job, not only for the four, but for my birth children and husband as well.

With diagnosis' of FAS, ADHD, Attachment Disorders and/or Oppositional Disorders, these kids - from the very beginning - needed more help than I could give.

After having the two oldest turn 18 and proceed into the same dysfunctional lifestyle that we had supposedly rescued them from, I am today trying to get the third one into some type of therapeutic treatment. Simply taking them out of the circumstances - or even showing them a totally different way to live - didn't change the way their bodies, already affected by alcohol, worked.

Further - the tribe's choice exposed my birth children to harm. A truth I am only in the last few weeks realizing - is that the oldest of the four legal custody, now 20 yrs, old - is a con man. We had various struggles with him through his teen age years, but he was so charming and always seemed so cooperative, even when it came to discipline. Now I am finding out all the damage that had been done. Several of my birth children were affected - very negatively. He encouraged at least five of the other children to drink and or smoke weed with him - one of the kids being as young as ten when this happened.

I am only now thinking - We know that Al-anon exists because of the tremendous emotional difficulties of living with an alcoholic. Why did we not consider this in terms of the birth children living with FAS in all four?

We were not prepared to deal with the many issues. I neglected my own children in many ways. I was focused so much on correcting the behavior of the four that I totally missed so much that was going on with my own. I put my birth children in danger. This was not an appropriate home. The only reason they were placed here was because of ICWA. At the time were the healthiest part of the extended family that there was. We were the only healthy family within the extended family.

At least at the time. I no longer categorize us as a healthy family.

Children messed up by drugs and alcohol need safe, stable, therapeutic homes. It's the only chance they have. Anything less, and they will not be able to cope any better than their parents did. Fifteen years later, you will have another generation of babies needing special care.

Stop it now. Let the kids get real help.

Stop listening to most of the tribal governments on this issue. They get more money from the federal government per head. This is not really about the best interest of kids, no matter what they try to claim. They are all about money and control. The kids are pawns.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two more families ask for help

We recieved two more letters this last week asking for help.

One is from an aunt of an enrollable child. The other is a foster / pre-adoptive home. They both need lots of prayer and good legal advice.

I am still having trouble finding time to update our website with letters. I don't think I've updated it in a year. But that doesn't mean the letters have stopped coming. It just means I'm overwhelmed with the children in my home, and trying to provide for everyone.

The problems with ICWa continue to exist and are hurting children across the country.

I pray for time to update the many letters we've recieved.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reality of Taking in Kids With FAS

To the Foster and Adoptive Parents who are loving and in love with babies exposed to alcohol:

Yes, all children need love and being loved does make a huge difference in the life of every human being.

However, if you have other children in your home, you need to think this through very carefully. Especially if the children are around the same age.

All the love you can give the child affected by alcohol and drugs will not necessarily erase all the damage done in utero. Yes, we can pray and God does heal. But God is also sovereign and has the right to decide to allow some afflictions to continue and exist.

I had been raising four affected children for the last 13 years, along with five of my birth children. The two oldest have become adults and are no longer in the home. The two that were babies when I recieved them are still in the home.

I do believe the oldest of the four was a terrible, terrible influence on several of my children. Looking back, remembering how he was giving the younger boys weed when they were only 10 and 11 years old while at the same time appearing to be so charming and cooperative - one can see now that he was a master at being two different people.

People without a conscience have the ability to be appear completely charming and innocent because they have no conscience or guilt.

I was talking to someone the other day and began remembering all the different things; not just drug and alcohol abuse, but sexual issues, lying, stealing, conning, attempting to break into someone's home, trashing another home, and much more. We had been fighting his worst behavior for seven or more years, but kept giving him more chances - keeping him in the home and around other children - because he was so convincing about being sorry or even innocent. There were also many things I didn't find out about until much later.

Now I am looking around and seeing the fruit of that 13 years of work. Not only have the two oldest returned to their birth families and are abusing drugs and alcohol, (the oldest to the worst degree, as if he had never been raised any other way) I am also expriencing deep issues with most of my birth children.

Remember that group called Al-anon? That group exists because of the universal emotional hardship of living with someone that is an alcoholic. Living with and loving a person that is dishonest, manipulative and has the ability to make you believe that everything wrong is your fault takes a huge emotional toll.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that your birth children will not be affected by living with someone that has fetal alcohol issues. Children with fetal alcohol struggle with understanding cause and effect. They tend to think of things in terms of immediate gratification, are very self-oriented, and they frequently lack what we call a conscience.

I am now left wondering if what one pastor had told me is true - that I sinned when I took in extra children and neglected my own.

I had one of the two boys that are still in my home taken to a facility two nights ago, and a doctor there is recommending and in-patient treatment for him. We are still waiting to see if Medicaid will pay for it. I might have to bring him home again tonight if we don't get a response from Medicaid today. If Medicaid doesn't okay the treatment, I'm not sure what my next step will be. I've got to begin thinking about my two birth children who are also still home and start making them a priority - for the first time.