From the Washington Post: “South Carolina court orders Baby Veronica returned to adoptive parents”
Here’s the quick overview: Veronica’s father signed away his parental rights, thinking that Veronica’s mother was going to get custody. When he found out Veronica was going to be adopted, he began proceedings to obtain custody.
Veronica was four months old at the time. He took custody when she was 27 months old, as the court ruled the Indian Child Welfare Act preempts state law.
She has lived with him now for eighteen months. The foster parents continued to appeal. Their website is called “Save Veronica.” Here’s a clip:
Matt and Melanie were not aware Veronica was considered an Indian child during the initial stages of their adoption. They knew she was more Hispanic and Caucasian than anything else so when they learned of her small percentage of Cherokee heritage it came as a surprise. Regardless, they remain committed to raising Veronica in a healthy, loving environment with full understanding and appreciation of all her heritages – as Veronica is a multiracial child. But there is a law in the United States that claims Indian heritage is more important than any other heritage and that tribes are allowed to determine where a child is placed regardless of the birth parents wishes.
Since Veronica has ‘one drop of Cherokee blood’ this federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act would apply to her adoption case. Ultimately, the misuse of this law required Matt and Melanie to return Veronica to her biological father even though this federal act was originally established to protect families and children – not tear them apart. More importantly, if a child’s birth family maintains no affiliation with the Indian culture or tribe to begin with, Veronica would not be raised in a setting that would reflect the “unique values of Indian culture” to begin with.
In an era when we all recognize the importance of adopted children knowing their biological and ethnic roots and maintaining a connectedness with their heritage regardless of who is raising them, as a society we need to recognize that non-Native American parents are capable of raising their children to respect all their heritages. Ultimately, however, this should be Veronica’s choice.
We think the Supreme Court plainly contemplated an expeditious resolution of this case, and we believe the facts of this case require it. There is absolutely no need to compound any suffering that Baby Girl may experience through continued litigation. As it stands, Adoptive Couple is the only party who has a petition pending for the adoption of Baby Girl, and thus, theirs is the only application that should be considered at this stage.
For these reasons, we remand this case to the Family Court for the prompt entry of an order approving and finalizing Adoptive Couple’s adoption of Baby Girl, and thereby terminating Birth Father’s parental rights, in accordance with section 63-9-750 of the South Carolina Code. Upon the entry of the Family Court’s order, custody of Baby Girl shall be transferred to Adoptive Couple. (emphasis added)