The case involving a three year old girl is intensifying.
Heartache, protests and now state legislators rallying around the ongoing custody battle.
There’s the foster family who’s had custody of the girl for three years.
Then the Oregon Department of Human Services most recently telling the foster family the girl would be moved to her biological relatives on the East Coast.
Now, state legislators are involved.
“We are trying to appeal for another review because we think this case is real important, and that the DHS is sending a child very far away,” said Oregon State Senator Tim Knopp.
Legislators Tim Knopp, Lynn Findley, and Duane Stark siding with the foster family and their continuing to have custody, according to Briana Burnson.
Senator Sara Gelser states in an email she is taking issue with how ODHS has handled the case.
“All of the heartache in this case related to the adoption placement decision for all involved mostly likely could have been avoided if the agency had placed [the child] with relatives when they first stepped forward,” said Gelser.
The Nishimotos say they filed to adopt their niece three years ago when the girl was an infant.
In a partially redacted email provided by the Nishimotos from ODHS she is listed as “white… no cultural practices.” Loss of cultural identity is a concern a concern for the Nishimotos.
“Our niece is Asian-American, and she deserves to be raised by her Asian-American family,” said Nishimotos. “We’ve been involved with her life since she was so small and trying to integrate her into that culture.”
I did reach out to the Burnsons for an on-camera interview, but they declined claiming that their foster parent certification is being directly threatened by ODHS.
In a text, the Burnsons stated that their stance is not blood vs. foster, but rather sworn testimony in court says ODHS is inflicting willful harm by moving the child.