Justice For Native American Child to be placed in custody of great-grandmother
UPDATE Friday Feb 4th ,
So Happy and Proud to announce the Choctaw Tribe has stepped forward to advocate on our belhalf. Since this happened they have postponed our hearing on Monday Feb 67th to be rescheduled so i will be leaving this petition hoping to be able to show wide support with many signatues by the time of our hearing Please sign and share Yakoke
In May of 2019 My grandson Troy a Choctaw tribe member was the victim of domestic violence that left him badly beaten and bloody. A neighbor who was outside could hear Troy yelling " stop please stop" and the sound of someone being hit so he decided to knock on the door to make sure all was okay. All was not okay. We knew these neighbors for well over 10 years and they knew all our grandkids . My Husband and i had moved back to Oklahoma to my home and Choctaw roots less than 2 months before this happened and Left Troy and his son and "abuser" to live in our home, his oldest sister who was about 20 at the time also lived with us since the age of 17 when her moms job transferred 2 hours away , she dint want to leave her school friends or job so they allowed her to stay and live with us,
Troy lived with us because at the age of 17 Troy was diagnosed with SLE Lupus advanced because it was already affecting more than 2 of his major organs. Troy had had many jobs but those who would hire him with his lupus saying they would work with him on it never did , the first time Troy was in too much pain and swollen so bad he couldnt go in , he would lose his job . His jobs lasted anywhere from 3 day to 3 weeks or if he was lucky 2 months but he was never not trying and he had also became a tattoo artist so when his hands allowed he was making money that way.
On the day our neighbor knocked on the door , he immediatly called for cops and an ambulance when he seen Troy .
What happened next shattered Troys world , as the police were putting the "abuser" in the car to go to jail she started screamming " you cant leave my son with him , he has been drinking today" , By this time the police had been there talking with Troy , the ambulance had come checked him over and gone , no one had a clue he had a couple drinks earlier because he didn't seem like it so the police asked him , have you been drinking today ? Troy being Troy answered honestly and said "yes , earlier because my teeth were hurting and since she was off work today to take care of my son , i had a couple drinks to swish around and hold in my mouth for a bit to help the tooth ache".
For those that dont know Prednizone is one of the medications prescribled for Lupus and it also is very hard on things like the teeth , Troy had been on it for 7 years so his teeth had started decaying from it.
Important note here is that Troy had done nothing wrong he was over 21 and he was not the primary caregiver or alone with his son when he took those 2 drinks. But because they couldnt get ahold of either of his sisters right away the cops had to call DCF (department of children and families) . ... Now during this time , we still have the neighbors across the street who could have cared for the son , Troy had also called a friend of his who was a single father and their sons often played together and his friend had gotten there , Any one of them could have cared for him until one of his sisters was reached or for however long they determined Troy had to wait to be completely free of alcohol effects.
But the DCF worker decided they would create a case , and then Troy was going to have to go to parenting classes , get and maintain a full time job and get a different home, she tried to say because it was the "abusers" home also , but that was a lie , upon her going to jail eviction for her was immediate and all Troy had to do was get a protection restraing order against her for himself and his son .. from there the sequence of events were...... , getting close to court date Troy called me upset because its almost time for court and and DCF worker had not set him up on parenting classes yet , the abuser was close to finishing hers , she was set up right away and would soon be able to have visitation , so i told him to make sure to take his phone and show the text messages where he had been asking and asking for his classes , so he did and the judge ordered the DFC worker to get it done , in the meantime Troy had met a girl who worked out at the air force base , then he met her family , when the sister ask Troy why he didn't have a job , Troy told her about his Lupus and he was looking and trying all the time but either people didnt want to hire someone with lupus or he wasnt able to keep the job long because of lupus. Turns out the sister was also over civillian hireing at the base so she did a little research and called Troy 1 day and said , she had a job for him that they could definently work with his lupus on and if he wanted it all he had to do was pass a very through background check and the job was his . Troy called me so excited and said " finally grandma , first step forward" he hadnt even been cleared yet on the background check but we all knew he would , finally he had a job then saved enough money to get his own apartment , he called me the day he moved in , it was a second story apartment , actually when i say call its a video call , my grandkids all know i want to see thier face when we talk so we always do face to face , anyway he said let me show you why i love this place so much , he stepped out his door then turned the camera around and said " its 2nd story and when i step outside i can look across and see Acenssion Church and talk to God anytime i need to". Acenssion is where his Papas family attended for more than 50 years and where Troy and his siblings attended . Not long after he was in his own place , covid caused the base to have to let some people go , Troys job was one of them but he went straight to his sisters fiancee' and went right to work with a landscaping company . When he called to tell me i was not happy , i ask him why was he doing this , he had been offered that job more than once before but never took it because it was the absolute worst job he could do with his lupus . People with lupus are told to be very strict about being in the sunlight, Troy was told specificly IF he had to be outside then it was a total of no more than 90 minutes per day and that was with very strong sunscreen. I practically screamed at him " you know you are cutting time off your life" and begged him to please not take the job" but he said to me " it's okay grandma , it wont be for long , soon as i get my son back and get DCF to close the case we are coming back to Oklahoma so i can be back with our Choctaw tribe and people who care, but i have to maintain full time employment or they will try and never give me back my son."
Over the next 3 or 4 months i answered my phone many times to hear Troy saying " grandpa please pray for me right now , the pain is so bad" 1 or 2 o'clock in the morning serval times i answered the phone to hear Troy say " grandma please pray for me its too bad for me to sleep and i have to be up in 4 or 5 hours to get ready for work.
But on or about August 26th or 27th 2020 i answered my phone to a very happy day. Of course he had some pain , he had some kind of pain everyday for over 8 years But he was so happy because he was ready for the final step, going back to court in just about 3 weeks and he had done it all , His own place , maintained a full time job , parenting classes , counsiling everything he needed to prove he could take care of his son.
He also called his my daughter that he was very close to and had been in his cheering section all through this ordeal, We were all so happy .
3 or 4 days later....
August 30th , 2020 , i answered an early morning call , but this time it wasn't Troy .
His sister was screaming hysterically and all i could make out were the words Troy , hospital and dead. Trying to keep from completly haveing a melt down myself i finally got his sister to calm down enough to tell me what was going on. Troys fiancee' had called her and told her they had to call the ambulance for Troy and she was at the hospital but since she wasnt immediate family they wouldnt tell her anything or let her see him but the way they were acting she thinks he didnt make it.
I know what Hell feel like , because the almost next 30 minutes i waited for her to get to the hospital and find out for sure i lived in Hell praying for God to have mercy.
When she finally called back i was told what all had happened.
Troy woke up early in severe pain , he told his fiancee he was going to take his prednizone take a hot shower and hope it eases up after a bit. But when he got out of the shower it was only worse so they called the ambulance, When the EMTs got to the apartment he told them his chest was hurting extremely bad and that he had lupus. The EMTs asked him if he thought he could walk down to the ambulance, of course Troy said yes , he wants to get to the hospital , this wasnt his first rodeo he knew he needed immediate help . Just as Troy got down the stairs and to the ambulance he colapsed.
This was when the EMTs seen his teeth and started yelling at him asking what did he take , he told them nothing , but they didnt believe him so they kept trying to get him to say he took some kind of drug , his fiancee' was telling them , he doesnt do drugs , the only thing he has taken is his prednizone cause he has lupus and health issues . For whatever reason the EMTs decided to play cop instead of doctor i will probably never know but they actually called the cops and waited on them to get there( because they was sure he was on some kind of drugs,) and then they put him in the ambulance and headed to the hospital. On the way to the hospital he coded , but the EMT in charge had forgotten to have the paddles charged , Troy finally got to the hospital DOA .
On September 5th 2020 i walked into Beachside Funeral Home in Melbourne Florida and had to say goodbye to my firstborn grandson. This should never have happened and didnt need to happen.
We asked about seeing my great-grandson , Troys son while we were in Florida and was told they said no , they didnt want him around all the saddeness of his dads death.
Upon returning to Oklahoma i called to find out how to start the process of getting custody of my great-grandson and was told i needed to talk to the DCF worker on the case to get it started i immediatly called the DFC worker , this wasnt the first time i had spoken with her , the first time was shortly after Troy had told me she wasnt getting the parenting classes set up , at that time she told me if i wished to move forward it would keep Troy from being able to see his son during the reunification period because i didnt live in Florida , so i told her okay i would talk to Troy and if he wants me to go ahead then i would call her back. After talking with Troy he said as much as he would like for me to have his son he also wanted to be able to see him and said not to worry it would be ok because he was going to get him back and he was looking forward to finally getting to see his son.
This time when i called her i told her , Troy was gone and no way for him to be with his son now so i wanted to move forward with getting custody of my great-grandson. When the DCF worker tried to tell me again about the importance of reunification and that his mom was still in the process i told her i did not care, i wanted to move forward with getting custody, so she said ok then she would have to inform the court and i would be videoed in at the next hearing , that it may take a little while because of covid courts were backedup and things are being rescheduled sometimes 2 or 3 times but she would let me know when it is for sure going to be.
It took 8 months for me to realize how deceptive this woman truly was .
What had kept us from going completly crazy waiting was because Troys sister , my grand-daughter had took over keeping in contact with the Foster family and often spoke to them and Troys son , she sent us updated pictures and let us know what was going on with him , they had even had meetings at the park where my other greatgrandson could hang out and play with his cousin.
But then my phone rang and my grand-daughter told me that the mom had signed her rights away and they were letting the Foster Parents move forward with adoption of my great-grandson.
Turns out there had been a few court hearings and the DFC worker never let us know , im pretty sure she never let the courts know about us.
I immediately called the DCF worker and ask her how all this was happening , and her answer was " it just all caught them by surprise that she signed away her rights" .. First this was not even close to an answer for my question , i expressed to her what she done was wrong and hung up . I called the main Office for DCF and told them i want to make an official complaint ........ but not really being happy with thier statement that they would need to get with the DCF worker to see what was actually being done ..... i hung up and Called Our Choctaw Adminstration Office in Durrant . Told a lady there what was going on , i asked her what Indian Child welfare worker signed off on this because clearly the ICWA has been violated by this DCF worker. She spent a few minutes trying to find anything on my great -grandson and couldnt find anything. So she asked me to give her a little time and i would get a call back.
Less than an hour later i got a call from Florida letting me know that the DCF worker was going to be calling in a few minutes to get all our personal information to start the paperwork on my great-grandson , What? you mean we dont really have to go to court before starting the paperwork ? Not the first of many deceptions from this DCF worker.
When she called she gave me a list of the information she needed then texted me a pic of her card so i could email it all. She also let me know it could take up to 3 months to get the paperwork sent and i would be contacted by the DHS here in Oklahoma when it arrived... It finally arrived 1 year after i originally asked and then was decieved for as long as it took them to scare the mom into siging away her rights. Once she did that the law states that Foster parents can then petition for adoption. BUT the ICWA clearly states that a reasonable effort must be made to place the Native American child with family , be it parents , siblings grandparents. etc..
Im sitting here now typing this out because on Feb 7th 2022 , Florida has us scheduled for a video session with some kind of Adoption Committie , who is to hear from both sides and they inturn make a recommendation to the court on who they think should get to raise my great-grandson.
I dont understand how this is even a legal hearing ,
If you believe as i do that my Native American great-grandson has been denied his right under the federal ICWA ( Indian Child Welfare Act) to be placed with his Native family. If you feel like the Tribe should be angered by this and should do something,
Please sign this petition today. It will be removed and sent to the Choctaw Chief , Assistant Chief and my local Counsilman on Friday Feb. 4th approx 12pm CST.
Lisa Holbird Smith
Lisa D (Holbird) Smith Contact the author of the petition
|Log in to manage your petition.|