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.
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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."
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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.
Still hoping for change
2 months ago