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Canadian boy trapped in U.S. foster care system
Published Monday, April 19, 2010 5:27PM MDT
For nearly two years, the parents of a 12-year-old boy from Calgary have been trying to get him out of foster care in the United States.
Noah Kirkman has been a ward of Oregon state since police picked him up in Oakridge in 2008.
His crime? According to his mother, Noah wasn't wearing a bike helmet.
Lisa Kirkman says her son was on a vacation with his step-father, and her husband of 10 years.
Noah had his birth certificate, passport, and a note saying his father had permission to care for him.
When the boy was stopped and questioned by police, he wasn't able to fully explain what he was doing in Oregon and who he was with.
Noah suffers from ADHD and anxiety disorders. His mother says he sometimes doesn't deal well with difficult situations.
He was apprehended and placed into care in September 2008 on the charge of child abandonment.
Lisa Kirkman has a file with Canadian Social Services from when she accessed the system to get resources for Noah.
Kirkman also has a criminal record from her days campaigning for medical use of marijuana. She was sentenced to 10 hours of community service.
Her husband never formally adopted Noah but civil liberties lawyer Stephen Jenuth says that shouldn't matter.
"We have a lot of different relationships these days where the step-parents haven't adopted but they have responsibilities."
The issue has come up in the House of Commons and Calgary West MP Rob Anders is working on the case. But he says he doesn't think Canadian or American politicians will have much sway with a U.S. judge.
Meanwhile, Noah, who is Jewish, has been placed in the care of several Christian foster homes in Oregon and his mother is afraid she will never see him again.
"I'll never stop fighting for him," she says. "Never stop trying to get him home."
A Facebook site has been set up to help get Noah home. Click here to access the site (you must have a Facebook account).