Sunday, July 15, 2012

"Baby Veronica" Case Headed for Capitol Hill

From the New York Daily News:
The case started in 2009, when a couple from James Island, S.C., a suburb of Charleston, adopted "Baby Veronica" from an Oklahoma woman.

Citing the baby's Cherokee heritage, the biological father filed a lawsuit under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law that was intended to help keep Indian children with their tribes.

The man won a court order to have the child returned to Oklahoma. She left her South Carolina home on Dec. 31, 2011, to live with him in Nowata.
The adoptive parents have asked the state Supreme Court to return Veronica to South Carolina, but the court has not ruled yet.

* * *

The Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families, which includes members of the "Save Baby Veronica" campaign, will lobby for changes to the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.

"The very intent of the law is being compromised by how it's being used," the coalition says. "This federal law was originally established to protect families and Indian children -- not destroy them."

* * *

The Cherokee Nation has intervened in the "Baby Veronica" battle, but with a gag order in place, officials can't comment on the case specifically.

Generally speaking, however, the Indian Child Welfare Act does a lot of good, said Chrissi Ross Nimmo, the tribe's assistant attorney general, who represented the Cherokee Nation in the Baby Veronica proceedings.

The coalition wants to change the law in ways that would make it easier for non-Indian families to adopt Indian children.

"This defeats the entire purpose" of the legislation, Nimmo said.

1 comment:

christyk said...

When I first heard of this case I thought, wow, its nice that native parents have the opportunity to change their mind, but the law should be extended to allow all parents a chance to change their mind within the year.

Yet I know other people argue that even the four months this father took to initiate proceedings was too long.

What do you think on that? I realize your children spent some time in an institution before they came to you, but how long should parents have to reclaim their children? Or after how long with the adoptive parents should it be totally irreversable?

I wonder also, reading your other post about the potential for more than two parents, whether in the future situations like this will be resolved by saying that the adoptive parents have taken over the mother's claim to the child, but that the father, since he contested it, still should have his rights and the child should move back and forth between parents like children of a divorce often do.