It was May 13th, 1977 when we took our road trip to Poplar,WI. I was only Five and a half years old then. Road trips are always exciting but this one felt different somehow. We were going to visit someone from what I understood but I wasn’t exactly sure why our mother wasn’t with us. The only thing I was sure of was I had my hard pink suitcase that carried all my little belongings. We eventually arrived at a quaint little A-Frame house with a large St. Bernard. The family seemed really nice and very happy to see us. Before I knew it, the car that had brought us to the house backed out of the driveway, and left us behind. They never did come back for us, and nobody ever brought our mom. Once I was old enough to understand I learned that the house we were brought to was called a Foster Home.
Foster care: A system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a state-certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent”. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. The institution, group home or foster parent is compensated for expenses.
Foster care started as a result of the efforts of Charles Loring Brace.
Brace believed the children would do best with a Christian farm family. He did this to save them from “a lifetime of suffering” *Nordmark, Oliver. “Orphan Train History.” : REVEREND CHARLES LORING BRACE. N.p., 09 Feb. 2010. Web. 19 Oct. 2013.
We lived in this Foster Home for a couple years while we waited for our mother to come for us.This is something that never happened. They told us that she showed no real interest in getting us back with her so they ruled our case as Abandonment. We were eventually put on a list for Adoption. At age six I never even knew there were differences between us and the family that we lived with. I wasn’t even aware until I was Adopted that I was “Native American”. I just thought I was a kid, like everyone else. I realized later on just how wrong I was.
Transracial Adoption: Placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group.
When you adopt a baby, do you take on responsibility for fostering the child’s connection to the culture or cultures of origin your baby leaves behind to join your family? Or do you just try to integrate that child into your own family’s lifestyle and culture? Having been born part Native American I should have been privy to my family’s history and culture. Instead I was raised in a Lutheran household with parents that were from Finnish and German descent. Never the wiser that I had lost a lifetime of culture because of my Adoption. I came from a proud nation of Chippewa Indians. I learned about my family and culture on the internet. I was the poor little Indian in a white person’s world. I am not necessarily Anti Adoption, but I am most definitely Pro Education. I believe in the preservation of culture. I am not against Transracial Adoption if culture and heritage is taught and preserved. I have been angry all of my life because I know nothing of my family or culture except for what I find on Google. Forty years of culture lost even after the The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA) was established. Even after 1978, Native American children were placed in Non Native homes.
So to recap, In 1977 I went on a road trip, and that’s where I lost my ID.
Kelly Kasper ~Blake (2017)