Oregon

Foster Parents Still Hoping To Keep Gabriel In Oregon

OPB | Nov. 15, 2007 9:39 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:18 a.m. | Portland, OR

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By Colin Fogarty

Governor Ted Kulongoski wadded into another legal morass this week, an issue that also involves Oregon’s connections to Mexico.

The case of Gabriel Allred has received widespread media attention since the Oregon Department of Human Services decided the  two-year-old boy should live with his grandmother and extended family in Mexico.

He’s been living with foster parents in Toledo near the coast.  Steve Brandt says he and his wife Angela are trying to keep Gabriel at the five-acre rural home that he’s known since he was four months old.

Steve Brandt: “If we were to just rip him away from all that. it doesn’t matter if it’s Mexico or Poland or California. I mean these are going to be strangers to him.  That’s still just a huge issue in the development of this little child and the problems he might face in the future because of it. It’s just the fact that he would be moved with what he knows and loves.”

But Gabriel Allred’s grandmother — Cecilia Martinez — has said she will raise the boy as her own in Mexico.

An Oregon review panel ruled that reuniting the boy with his extended family is in his best interest.  But this week a judge in Lincoln County put that order on hold for a month.

Governor Ted Kulongoski is having state attorneys map out his legal options.  The Democratic governor could announce a decision next week.

Meanwhile, Steve Brandt says he and his wife — have tried to shield the Gabriel from all the hullabaloo over his future.

Steve Brandt:  “We are honestly in it for his best interest.  You know we’re not in it just for our sake.  He’s only two years old and we are his parents.  And we’re going to stay in it until the bitter end, you know.  And we’re not going to give up.”

Gabriel’s biological father faces deportation to Mexico after being convicted of drug and sex abuse charges.  His American mother has also been convicted on drug charges and has lost custody.

On the same day that Steve and Angela Brandt challenged the state Department of Human Services in court, they also filed papers asking to adopt Gabriel.

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