Skip to comments.While DHS takes heat, Mexican grandmother eager about Gabriel
Posted on 11/10/2007 7:30:46 AM PST by Inspectorette
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - In the blue-collar town of Toledo near Oregon's coast, Steve and Angela Brandt are dreading a knock on the door that could mean they will never again see Gabriel Allred, 2, whom they raised from infancy.
He was American-born to a Mexican father and an American mother, one a now-deported sex offender, the other a meth addict, and both stripped of parental rights.
Now the boy may be returned to Mexico, to a grandmother who didn't know until last year that he existed. The Brandts are headed to court, but in adoption matters blood ties can trump a lot.
So far they have trumped the bonding the Brandts have developed with the foster son who came to them at age 4 months.
His mother, Lindsey Allred, who is in Utah, has said her son should stay with Brandts. The father, Roberto Valente Martinez, before he left prison, agreed.
"It is interesting that both biological parents have gone public saying they want Gabriel to stay with us and be our son," Steve Brandt, a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy, said Friday. "Both did it on their own accord. We appreciate that."
The question, he said, is whether that holds weight with the state.
Oregon's Department of Human Services found Gabriel's grandmother in a farm town in the largely rural Mexican state of Puebla. She says she is eager to take him in.
Two department panels ruled that the boy should be sent to Mexico.
"The decision was based on family and cultural ties, and they count for a lot in this situation," said department spokeswoman Ann Snyder.
"When a child is free for adoption to families from other states or countries we work with our equivalent agencies ... to conduct checks. In this case everything was very positive," she said.
She said the boy's father had not contacted the grandmother, Cecilia Martinez, in years and that she had not known of his whereabouts. "She is one delighted grandmother," she said.
"The hearings carefully weighed his family culture to his current attachments, and it came out pretty close," she said. "The primary goal of the agency is to reunite families."
She said in the past seven years Oregon has placed foster children in 19 countries to relatives who expressed interest, 11 of them in Mexico.
"What's unusual here," she said, "is that all the elements are combined and that the foster parents also seek adoption. That's what's at issue."
But the Brandts don't seem convinced of the good intentions.
"He's completely bonded to us. We're all he knows - we're his family," Angela Brandt told The Associated Press Friday. "(The state) is being spiteful. They aren't looking after the best interests of the child. If they find blood, they will always go with blood."
She said if the issue had arisen much earlier, things might have been different. "But the bond has become stronger," she said. "We're his family, his culture, we're pretty important to the little guy."
On Wednesday, an attorney for the Brandts, Marcia Buckley of Newport, filed papers in Lincoln County Circuit Court arguing that the couple may not be Gabriel's biological parents but they are the psychological equivalent. Buckley asked for an order to keep the boy with the couple until the case is resolved.
Angela Brandt said she has been told Gabriel could be taken in as little as three weeks, but Snyder said it more likely would be a matter of months.
Cecilia Martinez's four children are grown, and while one landed in prison on attempted rape charges, another is a doctor and one is studying nursing.
She told The Oregonian she farms a small plot and sells clothing from her home, earning the peso equivalent of about $600 a month, above average in rural Mexico. Since Gabriel is a special-needs child because his mother used meth during her pregnancy, Martinez will be entitled to $375 a month from the state until he is 18.
But Snyder said Martinez hasn't asked for the money.
Martinez said the father won't be allowed to visit and told the Oregonian she hopes to stay in touch with the Brandts.
"All my children are grown, and Gabrielito will be like my own that I can raise again," she told the paper. She said she has filled a bedroom with toys for him.
The Brandts have raised other foster children and live on five acres with farm animals and fruit trees. They say Martinez is welcome to visit and that they'll send pictures, but they aren't giving up the custody fight.
Steve Brandt said legal and other fees are mounting beyond their means, but residents have been donating to an account at Washington Mutual Bank.
"The public wants him to stay right where he is at," he said. "People have been very generous."
I want him to stay with the Brandts too, the mother has as much say in the matter as I do. Which is none.
So this little boy is still considered a foster child or has the couple legally adopted him?
He’s a foster child, but the Brandts want to adopt him. He’s a beautiful, happy little boy.
But, but...I thought American citizen children HAD to be kept here at all costs, regardless. Is abuela going to get the support checks sent to her in Mexico? Or are they going to give abuela papers so she can come here and take care of this poor child?
Oh, sure. Send an American citizen out of the country to live with strangers and a convicted sex offender. Brilliant. DHS and CPS is so messed up in their thinking is it any wonder I got fed up with them and quit.
This is true, therefore we can count on being treated to the TV spectacle of this little boy being forcibly torn from this family's arms as the state comes to take him away. Have no doubt that the entire Portland media will be there to salivate over the heartwrenching scene
Abuela is just THRILLED about little Gabriel coming to live with here. Of course, the $400 a month checks from the State of Oregon has NOTHING to do with it. (sarc)
“...but in adoption matters blood ties can trump a lot.”
I guess some government bodies don’t perceive the irony that they
operate on a principle of “blood”...
after we fought a World War with a power that was obssessed with people’s
It sounds like the parents don’t want to give the child up for adoption, which means the child will remain a foster child and the parents can retrieve him if they ever get their lives back on track.
If the parents had let go, then the grandmother would have no say in preventing an adoption by the Brandts.
I wonder if there is something legal that says the parents are incompetent at this point to make a decision about giving the child up for adoption ? Or if they just want the child to be fostered here in America so they can swoop in at some later date ?
It doesn’t sound like the Brandts are going to have a happy ending to this.
It's not going to be a happy ending for little Gabriel, either.
This has been splashed all over the Portland media. Even the liberal "Oregonian" has come out in favor of letting the Brandts adopt little Gabriel.
I hope this story goes national. Lars Larson is all over it, and he was the one who suggested that people contribute to a legal fund for the Brandts. He made it a point to say that it was not the Brandts who had initiated the fund.
When you leave a child with someone for 2 years since infancy, you have allowed the tending family to be imprinted upon the child. To remove them at this stage is in itself cruel and abusive. There should be a time limit as to how long a child can remain in foster care before the parental rights are dissolved in the best interest of the child. But I forgot...although they are supposed to be acting in the best interest of the child too often they protect the rights of the so called adults who put the child into this situation. Another no brainer...and people with no brains.
They’re trying to adopt him, since both biological parents have had their rights severed. But the state, in all its wisdom, thinks the baby is better off in a third world country.
“The decision was based on family and cultural ties, and they count for a lot in this situation,” said department spokeswoman Ann Snyder.
Cultural ties? Doesn’t the boy’s American half get any weight here? Is Oregon’s DHS going to be going by the one drop rule, next?
Insane! But that’s Oregon for ya.
There are a few points that need to be made.
The father (sperm donor) is an illegal alien, who has been convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, and dealing in meth. He has stated that he will return to his mother’s home when he is deported.
The grandmother knew about Gabriel for at least a year, but made no effort to contact either him or the foster parents. I suspect she heard from her convict son that she could get a $400/month check for bringing Gabriel into her home.
Oregon DHS has never interviewed the grandmother. Oregon DHS has never visted the grandmother’s home.
This whole situation makes me so angry.
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