June 2015


Thank you for taking a moment to read our summer newsletter.  


This quarter we touch on the new Bureau of Indian Affairs guidelines for implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act as well as the American Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys Conference coming to Denver in May 2016.  


We also share the amazing story of Nella, born in Mexico but raised in Colorado since she was three months old. Additionally we highlight some of the presentations Grob & Eirich will be giving during the summer months, as well as feature one of our newer adoption agency partners, Adopt Triad Consultants.


Seth is looking forward to a summer of cycling. In early June he completed riding the Elephant Rock century ride with his oldest daughter. She heads to  Duke University in August to study molecular biology. As a junior in high school, Seth's younger daughter will be focusing on mock trial and soccer. Seth and his wife will celebrate their respective 50th birthdays with a bicycling trip to Vermont to see the colorful fall foliage in October.


Tim also plans to enjoy a summer of cycling both on road and off. All three children are riding two-wheelers; even the 3-year-old is on a Strider (no pedals). The summer will be filled with urban gardening, tending the bees and chickens, and making homemade probiotic drinks.


As always, please let us know if we can assist you in any way. Referrals are so very appreciated. Have a wonderful summer.




Seth Grob and Tim Eirich


New Guidelines for Implementing the Indian Child Welfare Act BIA
The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was enacted by Congress in 1978 to protect children of American Indian and Alaskan Native heritage from the "often unwarranted" removal from their families, and subsequent placement in foster or adoptive homes.


The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published Guidelines for State Courts in Indian Child Custody Proceedings in 1979 which have been used to interpret and implement the ICWA ever since. The guidelines are not binding or mandatory, but are persuasive.


In February of this year, the BIA created updated guidelines that are significantly different than the original guidelines.


"The new guidelines are very controversial and are an overt attempt to erase 30 years of legal precedent," said Tim Eirich. "The new guidelines contradict existing law in many states and explicitly advise courts not to consider an individual child's best interests. It's troubling on many levels."


The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys responded with a press release and webinar, and hosted public meetings in April and May. Read more

"The guidelines are going to complicate litigation going forward," Tim said. "Any time a court is faced with a directive, for example, to not consider a child's individual best interests, that directive has the potential to put that child at risk for harm."


"It is critical that adoption agencies and prospective adoptive parents involve an attorney well versed in the ICWA if there is any reason to believe that the child is an Indian child," stated Seth Grob. "Failure to comply with the ICWA can be fatal to a proposed designated adoption." At Grob & Eirich, "we have extensive experience in both voluntary and involuntary adoption proceedings involving Native American children, and have been successful in both working with tribes and litigating against tribes to achieve a birth parent's desired goal of adoption with a non Native American family."


conferenceAdoption and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys Conference Comes to Denver


The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys will hold their annual conference at the Brown Palace Hotel May 4-7, 2016. Seth Grob is a member of the board of trustees and will co-chair the event.


The conference brings together more than 350 fellows of the Academy for continuing education sessions to improve the practice of law in adoption and reproductive technology cases.  


Famed film composer and Colorado native Nick Urata of DeVotchKa will perform. Pamela Weng and friends will also be performing. Pamela Weng has recorded and produced two CDs, Earthtones and Earthtones II


Limited sponsorship opportunities and 25 exhibitor spaces are available on a first come basis, as well as presentation opportunities. To learn more about these opportunities, contact Seth Grob at (303) 679-8266 or seth@grobeirich.com.




NellaAdoption and Immigration Expertise Create Path to a Brighter Future

"I have a little girl and I don't want her. I don't want a brat to spoil my life. Godmother, if you want her you need to come get her or I will give her away to someone else."


It was the first time Vera* heard about 3-month-old Nella from her goddaughter and niece. The mother gave birth to Nella in Mexico and crossed the border with her. They were now in Utah.


Vera and her husband, Jesus, already had four children of their own; the youngest was 8 years old. They discussed taking Nella, and before long, Vera and her sister were on their way to pick up the infant.


When they arrived, Nella was handed over with just a t-shirt and a diaper. "I'm positive. Take her. I have to move on with my life," said the mother. And then she was gone. Vera and Jesus never heard from her again. That was fifteen years ago.


Vera and Jesus raised Nella as their own, never telling her the story of her birth mother. Over the years, Jesus tried many ways to get in touch with his niece without any success. Vera kept her same phone number for all that time, but Nella's mother never called.


When Nella started elementary school, a birth certificate was requested. Vera said she had turned it in, and school officials never asked again. When Nella visited the doctor, Vera showed her school ID. In junior high, Nella's paperwork transferred from the elementary school. Even when she started high school and her birth certificate was asked for again, Vera said she would need to request a new one since the original was lost by the elementary school.


No one ever followed up, until Nella was 13 years old and caught by a police officer for being out past curfew. "That was when I really faced it," said Vera. "The officer said she needed an ID, and the school ID wasn't sufficient. I knew we needed to do something."


"But all this time I wasn't waiting, and I had inquired with other attorneys," Vera explained. "They said nothing could be done in the States. I would have to go to Mexico, adopt her there, and then bring her back to the U.S. But I couldn't take her to Mexico. What if I had to leave her there?"


"Finally one of the attorneys recommended Mr. Seth," said Vera. "I went to see him and that was when the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. He was so kind and peaceful. He transmits a lot of peace. Not promises because he can't make promises, but I felt comfort that there is a possibility. It wasn't the doubt I felt with other attorneys."


But to move forward, Nella would have to consent to the proceedings, which meant she would need to be told about her birth mother and the story on how she had come to live with Vera and Jesus.


"It was the most difficult thing," said Vera. "She had a lot of questions and cried a lot, but I said 'I took you in with open arms and no matter what anyone says, you are my child. The Lord brought you to me.'"


The extended family. Nella is second from left. Jesus and Vera are sixth and seventh from left. 


Seth began work on the case and first successfully secured permanent legal guardianship for Vera and Jesus. Then Seth, on behalf of Nella, applied for and was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS is a federal law that assists in obtaining a permanent visa for undocumented children who have been subjected to abuse, neglect and abandonment by a parent, and whose best interest is not to return to their country of origin. Nella now has a green card allowing her to legally live and work in the United States.


"There are legal pathways available to these kids, and many lawyers don't know about them," said Seth Grob. "At Grob & Eirich, we are unique in that we have joint expertise in adoption and immigration. We will always staff these cases with two attorneys, one an expert in adoption law and the other in immigration law. Our immigration expert, Katie Glynn, was also involved in this case and brought a lot of experience and knowledge to this situation."


Now Vera and Jesus want to adopt Nella. An adoption suit has now been filed and is pending in the Colorado District Court. If the adoption is completed before Nella turns 16, she will be able to obtain citizenship two years after the adoption.


"It was important that Nella obtained legal status while she was a minor," said Seth. "Without it, she would forever be subject to deportation to a country she didn't know. She would not be able to get gainful employment, pay in state tuition for college, or utilize any public benefits."


"I am very pleased with the work Mr. Seth has done," said Vera. "I would definitely recommend him. It's not easy, believe me, but if there was a case similar to this, I would say don't give up. Not all the attorneys have all the knowledge, but Mr. Seth does."


* All names in this story have been changed.


Grob & Eirich Presentations
On April 27, Katie Glynn of Grob & Eirich co-presented with Abbie Johnson of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), to child welfare professionals and judges at the Colorado Convening on Children, Youth, and Families in Beaver Creek.  Their presentation focused on  "The Intersection of Colorado State Child Welfare Law and Federal Immigration Law."


On May 5, Katie Glynn presented with others for an Immigrant Legal Resource Center webinar on "Strategies for Suppressing Evidence and Terminating Removal Proceedings for Child Clients."


On May 7, Seth Grob was interviewed by Denver's ABC News regarding the cryopreserved embryo dispute involving Sofia Vergaras. The interview aired in eight states. The interview can be seen on YouTube.  


On June 2, Tim Eirich and Katie Glynn presented with the Honorable Brett Woods of the Denver Juvenile Court at the Domestic Relations Best Practice Court Institute for Judges, Magistrates, Facilitators and Sherlocks in Denver on "Special Immigrant Juvenile Status."


On June 3, Tim Eirich shared his insights with the Colorado State Foster Parent Association in Breckenridge, Colorado, on "Rights of Foster Parents and Relatives in Dependency & Neglect Cases" as well as "Adoption Subsidies for Special Needs Children." 


On June 5, Tim Eirich and Seth Grob presented to judges, magistrates and clerks of the 1st Judicial District on Contested Adoption Cases and Best Practices in Relinquishment Cases in Golden, Colorado. 


On July 27-29, Tim Eirich will serve as a facilitator and member of the planning committee for the Colorado Dependency & Neglect Judicial Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  Tim will present to the judges and magistrates on "Intervention By Relatives and Foster Parents." 


Adopt Triad Consultants
We highlight one of the many valuable partners we work with in each newsletter

The mission of the Adopt Triad Consultants is to find loving families and safe homes for orphaned children and to provide the best consulting services available to birth parents prior and post placement.


"We pride ourselves on working with military families," said Linda Gansler, executive director. "They move all the time, and their situations can be more difficult. Additionally our employees are all adoptive moms, and we have a birth mom on staff. We are very proud of that."


Grob & Eirch is one of the firms Triad works with for law services. "Tim is fabulous," said Linda. "He got a court date in El Paso quicker than I have ever seen, and he is so available. With other attorneys I have to fight to get information. But if I'm freaking out about a case, Tim even calls me on Sundays."


Adopt Triad Consultants is starting a new education program called Triad Institute. "It's post adoption education for any family who has adopted, has older children and is having trouble adjusting," said Linda. "We stay away from private therapy and instead focus on parents who need tools to bring their new family together."


For more information about Adopt Triad Consultants, please visit: www.adopttriad.org   


Grob & Eirich, LLC
12596 W. Bayaud Ave, Suite 390
Lakewood, CO 80228