Andy Butler, of Rathdrum, pauses while trying to hold back her emotions as she discusses the details of her foster child of more than four years, Dee, who is in the process of being placed with extended biological family members. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Taryn Thompson)
Dee Dee's things are as she left them. Dress-up clothes spill out of a cardboard playhouse in one room. Toys and baby dolls and all things pink are scattered on the floor of her bedroom, where Disney princesses are tattooed on the walls. For the past 4 1/2 years, Dee Dee's home has been in Rathdrum with Andy Butler, a Post Falls elementary teacher and foster parent. Butler said Dee Dee, now 5, was taken without warning on March 21 to be placed with biological relatives under the Indian Child Welfare Act. The federal law, passed in 1978, requires social workers in cases involving Native American children to involve the child's family and Indian tribe in making decisions, and place the children with Native American relatives when possible. Now, Dee Dee is moving into the home of her maternal uncle, Joe Tavares, and his wife, Marla. The Tavareses already have custody of Dee Dee's younger brother. While one family is being reunited, Butler is suffering a heartbreaking loss/Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.