BRING LEVI HOME CAMPAIGN
Levi Emile Henderson
Born April 1, 1998
Happy Birthday Levi
by glenna henderson
It has been one year since you came into my life.
It has been one year since I held you in my arms.
It has been one year since I kissed your little face, the back of your neck,
your little hand.
It has been one year since I told you I loved you.
It has been one year since I heard your little cry.
It has been one year since I kissed your little toes, your back and
your little nose.
It has been one year since I heard your breath.
It has been one year since I held you on my chest.
It has been one year since I kissed your eyes, your elbows and your chin.
It has been one year since I saw you pee all over the bassinet. [Well work on that aim baby ;'-) ]
It has been one year since I thought I said good-bye.
But with every breath and every thought you have been my main concern.
You, my son, my gift from God, have showed me there was unconditional love.
In that love I know my prayers will be answered.
Happy Birthday, And I love you Levi,
This baby boy is only seven months old. Yet his life has already touched hundreds because of the circumstances since his birth. He has been separated from his natural parents and family. He may lose his heritage and may never know that Canada is the country where his people live.
The separation began when baby Levi was
Twenty-four hours old. His mother, with a breaking heart, was taken from the
hospital to the courtroom. She had had very little sleep because she felt so alone
and frightened. To make matters worse, she was facing a contract where she had
promised to give him to an adoption agency.
Glenna had told no one, except the father, of the impending birth. Shortly after, the expecting mother left her Native Canada for Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.A. to attend college. The changes in Glenna's body had gone unnoticed. She had taken care of herself throughout her pregnancy. Then on January 26, 1998, she had a meeting with an adoption attorney named Rebecca Boren. Glenna had called her after seeing an advertisement in a weekly newspaper. The ad offered her a couple wishing to adopt, with all medical, legal, and housing expenses paid if necessary.
Glenna was not familiar with the adoption laws of Oklahoma City or how drastically it differed from Manitoba adoption laws. This pivotal point was never explained to Glenna by the adoption attorney, by the attorney hired for her or even by her counselor.
The reality that the little boy inside her was her baby never occurred to Glenna. Only after he was born and in her arms, did every little detail, and awe, a newborn brings, hit her in those few short hours they shared. She experienced a new kind of love, unconditional love for him.
Twenty-six hours after her little boy was born, Glenna was led to a judge's chambers to sign a consent to his adoption. She was very upset and still alone. Everyone involved with the process were friends of the pre-adoptive mother, Susan. The legal assistants, Glenna's counselor, the attorney hired by the adoption agency to represent Glenna and the people in the courtroom all were personally involved with Susan. Glenna did not know that all these people knew Susan because her deceased husband, Charles, had once been a judge in the Oklahoma City Courthouse.
After signing the consent, Glenna was left with only her wonderful memories, of her perfect little boy, and the bonnet he had worn in the hospital.
Glenna did nothing but cry and sleep all that next week. She then drove the twenty hours to Winnipeg, Manitoba to be with her family. She could no longer hold the secret that now plagued her night and day since she had left her son at the hospital. Glenna felt she would die if she could not see her baby again. She wanted to hold, love and nourish her baby with everything she had to offer.
Once at home, surrounded again by the love of friends and family, she began to realize more and more that this would be the perfect life to offer any child. She had lost sight of the unconditional love that these people have for her because of all the anxiety, turmoil, and guilt she had felt while pregnant.
The instant reaction from her sister and mother was the encouragement she had needed all along. She had gone to her mother, Delphine, begging her for forgiveness for having had a baby. Her mother's reply was, "People have babies all the time. There is nothing wrong with that."
Delphine then asked where her grandson was. When Glenna told her of the pending adoption and the irrevocable consent that had been signed, her mother fainted. The only certainty this family knew was that they must get him back.
Glenna went to her home community, the Sagkeeng First Nation, looking for assistance. Her chief, Jerry Fontaine, immediately committed the band's assistance. A lawyer was retained and the legal battle began.
Glenna has never stopped her fight to regain her son who was taken from her. She has contacted hundreds of people, every level of Government, and many agencies asking for help.
The denial of Glenna having any contact or pictures of her son has shown the complete lack of compassion from the adoption agency.
Along with the emotional struggles, the legalities
of overturning the pending adoption are astronomical. The financial burdens from the
travel expenses between the two countries, the phone bills, and the legal fees have
surpassed $80,000.00. The amount owing in legal fees alone is $50,000.00. And
the court battle is far from over.
The Manitoba First Nation's Repatriation Program has supported the opening of a charitable donations account. There are fund-raising events planned and support has been positive across the board.
The story surrounding the adoption of this child is unbelievable. This page was placed here so that you could read the details of the events surrounding this adoption. Hopefully, you will have a clear picture of the struggle surrounding this separation and the fight to BRING BABY LEVI HOME.
IF YOU OR ANY ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO THIS CAUSE CALL THE MANITOBA FIRST NATIONS REPATRIATION PROGRAM AT:
1-800-665-5762 OR IN WINNIPEG 957-0037 AND ASK FOR SHIRLENE OR EVA.
Click on the leaf to see a more in depth look at the court dates
Here are some other links that you can follow to find out about adoption laws, the people involved, or other information:
National Indian Child Welfare
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Boren & Boren
Manitoba Adoption Link
Canadian Adoptee's Information Center
Native American Websites
A Canadian/American Native's Story