April 18, 2009

Where do we go from here ? ¿ ?

Normally I would post this on my other blog, but I've decided I could really use some extra eyes on this one so I'm posting it over here as well. Any help or thoughts would be appreciated.

It turns out that because I am an American Indian I may be entitled to help paying for drugs that I will need post-op. Drugs that I will need for the rest of my life. These anti-rejection drugs can be very expensive and cost many thousands of dollars a year. Our insurance won't pay for them.
When Lois and I got married we compared our work insurance benefits and discovered hers were definitely a lot better than mine. I have been on her plan ever since. When we discovered that I was going to need to have a transplant we were happy to find that her plan would actually cover the operation. We also learned that some of the drugs I would need for aftercare would also be covered, but not all of them. Some of them are going to end up costing us a lot.
The other day I got a phone call from the transplant center informing us about our insurance benefits and what they would cover. A drug called Prograf is the biggy. Prograf is designed to lower the body's immune system. While your immune system is there to fight infection, it will also fight against a new transplanted organ such as a kidney or liver because it thinks the body is being invaded. Prograf, along with other drugs, are used to help fight against organ transplant rejection. Apparently I need to find a way to pay for this immunosuppression drug before I can get a transplant. Or else ¿ ? ¿

The transplant center is doing its best and willing to do what it takes to help us out in exploring all our options. But now we have reached an impass. The idea to look into Indian benefits was actually the social worker's thought. A good one. Buuttt... I was adopted and I have no ties with my Indian tribe. I know that I am a Yaqui Indian because my parents said so. They adopted three of us -- two Yaquis and a Pima while they lived in Phoenix. But my case is no different than any other adoptee's. When the adoption is finalized, they reissue a birth certificate that shows the adoptive parents as the natural parents. There's nothing on it that says, adopted.
So I must first somehow prove that I was adopted and then find a way to have my adoption records opened so that I can prove it to the tribal council. And then I might be eligible for Indian funds.Years ago I did a little research on trying to find my natural parents. I wrote a letter to ALMA Society (Adoptee's Liberty Movement Association) and they responded by telling me there might be a loophole in finding my parents because I was Native American.

Adoptees who are of American Indian heritage can learn their original names and names of their birth parents by taking advantage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1977.

This law was made for a number of reasons, but the one that is of most importance to me is that my records can supposedly be opened due to genetic and medical reasons. It is a federal law. In my case I am not so much interested in finding my natural parents but rather looking for medical history and acknowledgement from the tribe so that I can apply for grant money so I can show that we can get the Prograf. Without that, there will be no transplant.
Anybody know any adoption law? We're stumped.


Pearl said...

I do not know adoption law, but I did want to say that I am pulling for you.

How about your other followers? I hope they can help.

Out from lurking...


Lo said...

It's gonna happen, one way or the other, love.

zakary said...

Oh man, good luck to you. I will run this by my sister, she's a lawyer. Not one that specializes in adoption, but she is pretty good at stuff like this.

We are Native American. We have to stick together!

Anonymous said...

I work for a native american tribe. My boss is their ICWA representative. Go to the nearest Indian reservation, each one has an ICWA representative. Ask for a copy of the ICWA statute.

I would also contact the tribe that you are from. Tell them your situation. Were you adopted BEFORE ICWA was enacted? Either way, tribes have a tendancy to remember events like this, there may be elders that can back up your claim and help you investigate this further.

If you hit a road block there, submit a written request to your federal representative (State Senator or Representative. Contact their office in person and walk in the request, if possible. Ask for a meeting.

Thank god for ICWA. I wish I could find out if I'm native american or not. It's not fair not be kept from your heritage, native american or not.

If you can find out who your biological father is through the tribe, try to take a DNA test to match to him or his brothers or sons. That will link you to the tribe genetically.

I wish you luck, sweety.

MamaO said...

Sev years ago I had an adoptee in my support group that was in reunion with her Native American bmom. She went to the courts but still had to have her adad's signature. She rec'v her whole file and now she and her children are registered with her tribal nation.She moved away but this is the last email add I have for her: littled@hangtown.com Her name is Deanna and if you reach her tell her MamaO referred you.

Theresa said...

If the email address above doesn't work, I'd suggest next trying FNOA. Their website is at http://www.geocities.com/fnoac/ and I'm sure they could give you some guidance.

Also an adoption searcher gave this advice:

He needs to petition the court where the adoption was finalized, citing the ICWA which mandates that the adoptee learn his original identity to register with the appropriate tribe. He can call the court and ask about procedures; he most probably will not even need an attorney.Good luck

Something Happened Somewhere Turning said...

I am so very thankful to everyone who stopped to leave a comment. All of them will be very helpful.

Pearl...thanx again.

Zakary, a very big thank you to a wonderful friend.

MamaO...many thanks

Anonymous: Thank you for the large amount of information you provided. It is going to be very useful. My best to you.

Theresa, I thank you for your help and the advice from the adoption searcher. It is very helpful and good news.

And a very big thank you to the 'Ungratefullittlebastard.blogspot' who provided an enormous amount of help by spreading the word with a Call for Arms. I received dozens and dozens of visitors today. Thank you so much and to everyone who came running. I am so deeply moved.

Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

I'm glad you got the traffic and some answers - GOOD LUCK! :)

Laoch of Chicago said...

I think enough money is involved ultimately that you should hire counsel to help you.

Krëg said...

The banjo player in my band is a pharmacist. I'll ask him if he is aware of anything in place (either generally or Prograf-specific) that can help.

Jess said...

Hey Beau,

Soulmoxie's husband here. If I were you I would contact the tribe's attorney General or enrollment divisions (http://www.pascuayaqui-nsn.gov/departments/attorneygeneral/index.shtml) and see if they can either help you directly or give you the name of an attorney familiar with Indian Law. I am a civil litigation attorney in Salt Lake so don't have much expertise in this arena. Sarah (soulmoxie) and I would love to help you with whatever we can.


kristine said...

I don't have any resources but you are in my thoughts and prayers. keep on putting the word out - someone has the answer i'm sure and it will all come together

Lilly said...

Oh I am sorry I did nto see this post earlier. I hope that you found the answers and things have resolved themselves in some way for you and your family. My prayers are with you.


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