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I am the loving adoptive mother of a beautiful daughter with Down syndrome, who also happens to be Kiowa Indian, as were both her birth parents. My late husband and I brought her home when she was 11 days of age in 1986.

The social workers met us at a McDonald's because we needed for the baby's sake placement to occur at the earliest possible moment for our medical insurance to cover her. The Indian Child Welfare Act ("Conflicted," cover story, Jan. 11) would not permit that placement until age 11 days, so this tiny baby went to a foster home upon hospital dismissal instead of to her waiting adoptive family.

The Indian Child Welfare Act requires both parental consent and relinquishment, and tribal consent, because the adoptive parents were not of Native American descent. Because of our daughter's disability and congenital heart defect, the tribe was more than happy to have her placed with an adoptive, non-Indian family.

The bottom line is and I researched this extensively while we still resided in the state of Oklahoma 80 percent of Native American children whose parental rights are relinquished rot in foster care, because there are not enough Native American families waiting in line to adopt them. There was, in fact, a Native American couple waiting eagerly for our daughter's birth already approved and selected by the agency but when she came into this world with an extra No. 21 chromosome, they immediately lost interest.

The Indian Child Welfare Act is, at its best, an oxymoron. At its worst, it's child abuse. It sentences children to uncertain futures in which they are shipped from relative to relative, from foster home to foster home, instead of to permanent, adoptive families who offer them love and security.

Our daughter is now 20. My late husband always said she's "missing the mean gene." Her heart defect was corrected surgically at 18 months. Her story is a happy one, only because her tribe was open-minded enough to know her needs could be met by our loving family, despite our white skin and blue eyes.

I have both her birth parents' names. I could apply for her tribal enrollment, but I never have, because the only way to do it is to abandon all anonymity. She doesn't need it. She has family and friends who will take care of her. That's what family is all about ...

Deb Stover

Palmer Lake

Through the fog

I wish to compliment Mr. Bob Resling on his articulate summary ("Return to Vietnam," Your Turn, Jan. 11) of the present state of affairs concerning our country's venture into Iraq.

As a retired member of the United States Air Force, I found it quite refreshing and encouraging to hear from a combat veteran who sees this war for what it is. Mr. Resling accurately and eloquently presents, in his comparison to our Vietnam experience, the dilemma we now face in Iraq as a result of our invasion of that country.

The recent "surge" in military strength totally ignores those circumstances, and our actions, similarly undertaken during the Vietnam War, and is as likely to succeed as former President Nixon's Vietnamization policy. In fact, I am convinced that this new "strategy" developed by President Bush and his administration will only lead, regretfully, to more of our soldiers proceeding down an unsuccessful path, resulting in more bloodshed for both our troops and the Iraqi people.

I am still amazed by the majority of Americans (73 percent, according to a recent poll) who favored our invasion of Iraq in the name of freedom and the war on global terrorism, without evaluating the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I have been deeply disturbed by the neoconservatives' vilification of opposing views and the labeling of such as unpatriotic.

Opposition and dissension is not only patriotic, it is our constitutional right and responsibility.

It is my hope that this war ends as soon as possible and our troops return home safely. It is also my fervent prayer that we Americans learn the costly lessons of this war. Americans should remember that they must always be vigilant, whether concerning foreign powers or their own government. And I am most hopeful that Americans see that their ignorance, apathy and silence only allows those in power to misuse and abuse that power to their own ends at the cost of our country and our people.

Bruce A. Allen

Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)

Colorado Springs

Iran next?

It seems that one has to check global news sources in order to receive complete coverage these days. A Jan. 11 BBC story, "US Iraq raid draws Iranian anger," stated that U.S. forces have stormed a building in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil and seized six people said to be Iranians, prompting a diplomatic incident. Officials said the building was an Iranian consulate and then detained its employees, and that the troops raiding the building took away computers and papers. A local TV station said that Kurdish security forces had taken over the building after the Americans left. The Pentagon denied that it was a government consulate.

However, reports say the Iranian consulate was set up last year under an agreement with the Kurdish regional government to facilitate cross-border visits. There have been previous incidents of this nature against Iranians in Iraq, but the Jan. 11 raid came as President Bush unveiled his new strategy in Iraq, which included increasing troop numbers to stop Iranian support for "our enemies in Iraq."

It seems as though there's an effort to provoke Iran, which is involved with funding the Shia. If President Bush incites Iran to attack us, then Congress will have a difficult time denying the authority for him to attack Iran directly. I hate to sound paranoid, but it's hard not to be when our government continues to manipulate us with fear while violating all international conventions.

Sharlene White

Colorado Springs

Wrongful attack

After reading "Ford's legacy" (Letters, Jan. 4), I was unnerved at the thought of disturbing the dead with ignorance. Was President Ford's pardoning of a man guilty of improprieties in the White House an act of the criminal mind or a Christian leader practicing his faith (Isaiah 55:7, Ephesians 4:32)? Was Nixon the only president of the United States who committed a crime while in office? Or, was he the only one who got caught?

Your article sounded more like an attack of the Republican Party than the words of a truly concerned citizen in a Christian community.

In the land of "innocent until proven guilty," you have condemned a resting man for "guilt by association." Liberal ignorance is bad form, and President Ford's credit is good with me any time.

Martin Dalzell

Colorado Springs

Herpin's answer

I would like to respond to Bob Nemanich's comments in last week's Letters ("Running on what?" Jan. 11).

I did attend the annual picnic in Bancroft Park sponsored by the Organization of Westside Neighbors. It should be noted that I was the only Colorado Springs City Council member (other than the mayor) to attend this picnic, even though I live east of Academy Boulevard.

I have great respect for our west side. I worked with the neighbors in the area of Pikes Peak Avenue and 28th Street to get a four-way stop at a busy intersection that they have been trying to get for several years. I am a life member of the Old Colorado City Historical Society.

I was the only councilmember to attend the groundbreaking for the new Bank at the Broadmoor branch being built on the west side. I am working with residents of the Skyway area regarding traffic on Parkview Boulevard. I am working with the members of the Old North End Neighborhood Association to remove the truck route from Nevada Avenue between Fillmore and Uintah streets. I helped get CSPD enforcement of our city ordinance prohibiting parking of 18-wheelers on Nevada Avenue.

As an "at-large" councilmember, I take my responsibilities seriously, and I have been very active in getting out into our community. I quickly respond to citizens' e-mails, letters and phone calls no matter where they live.

Yes, I am proudly running for a full four-year term as an at-large city councilmember this April. And I am running on my record of service to our entire community in the short time I have been on council. I am extremely honored to have been appointed, and have spent the last 10 months out in our community, in addition to working a full-time job, trying to help solve the issues that all of us face.

Bernie Herpin, councilmember at-large

Colorado Springs

What about Joe Blow?

Dear Mr. Mayor and people of the Colorado Springs City Council:

I have noticed that luxury townhouses are being built in areas of Colorado Springs that are not known for being affluent. I have also noticed that Colorado Springs is becoming increasingly difficult for working-class citizens.

With these two factors in mind, the question I'm asking is, just what kind of message are you trying to send to the non-affluent, working-class citizens of Colorado Springs? The messages I have received considering these factors are obviously interpreted as follows:

1. The mayor and City Council would like for anyone who is not wealthy to leave Colorado Springs so that all of Colorado Springs may resemble the Broadmoor and Rockrimmon areas.

2. City officials are out of touch with reality and should live on wages equivalent to the average Joe Blow.

Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

Shame and support

"Mark Cloer, man of integrity ... Democrats, shameful politicians." Anyone who knows Mark, including all the Democrats at the state Capitol, knows that Mark is an honorable, honest and compassionate man.

These are only a few reasons Mark was such an effective district representative. For the Democrats to accuse Mark of deceptive motives is nothing but political posturing. Shame on you!

Mark deserves nothing but our support and compassion for his decision to place his family first. I believe in Mark, and know this was not an easy decision to make. Mark's love for his family must be honored and not used as a political ploy. I absolutely support and respect Mark's decision, as should everyone.

Connie Gaudette

Colorado Springs

Bad placement

I thought it was great that on page 11 of the Jan. 11 issue, there is an ad for the Suicide Prevention Partnership that says, "When it hurts to live ... it helps to talk." To the right of that ad is a gun permit ad. Ha! That is hilarious!

Kudos to your production department for their irony! Next week you should juxtapose the Christian Singles Night Out ad with the Sweet Temptations ad. I think all Americans like choice, and it's nice to have the choices laid out so clearly. Thank you!

Emily Frazee

Colorado Springs

Logic box

A response to Tom Pedigo ("The real hypocrites," Letters, Jan. 4) and others like him:

The fact that someone can't fit into a cultural definition of who they are supposed to be isn't the problem. The problem is culturally requiring people to fit a definition at all. The human experience is far too complex for any written or spoken language to begin to define who we are, and how we feel as we all try to discover ourselves, as individuals and the various groups we individually belong to.

Defining yourself and allowing yourself to be defined by someone else's idea is trying to solve a problem with the same logic that created it.

Brian Elyo

Colorado Springs

Correction

The Jan. 11 installment of 7 Days to Live should have identified Daisy McConnell as assistant curator at Colorado College's Coburn Gallery. Jessica Hunter Larson is curator. The Independent regrets the error.

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