• Group wants adoption law enforced

    By: Janna Clark

    Updated:

    A push to enforce current adoption laws could make it more difficult for non-Native American families to adopt Native American children.

    As demonstrated with the court case surrounding the adoption of Baby Veronica, there can be difficulty in adoptions involving Native American children.

    In 2013 after years of custody battles Veronica stayed with her adoptive parents when her biological father, a Native American, dropped his pursuit of custody.

    http://www.fox23.com/news/news/breaking-news/dusten-brown-to-drop-pursuit-of-custody-for-baby-v/ndd29/

    FOX23’s Janna Clark found there are many cases like that and the Indian Child Welfare Act could make it difficult for non-Native American parents to adopt Native American children.

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs is pushing for the enforcement but some say it's not what's best for the children.

    Legal documents call her S.A.W., she’s a little girl who bonded deeply with (her) foster mother but after one year the court almost removed (her) from the only stable home she had ever known because she's 1/128 Native American.

    It took a battle in court for her to get to stay with her foster family.

    “I don't know what they're trying to accomplish,” said Becki Murphy, an attorney.

    She said it’s one of two scenarios that could happen with a Native American child adoption.

    She said either a child's placed in a non-tribal home and later a tribal family decides to adopt the child or a child is placed in a tribal home and family members later decide they want the child.

    In both situations she said children are torn away.

    “I will always object to a removal, tribal or not, if you're trying to remove a child over 6 months, if the placement is not causing them harm and willing to make it permanent. I will not object I don't care who you are,” said Murphy.

    Murphy says some tribes wait too long intervene after children have stayed in a stable home for months.

    “We should not be revisiting this 10 months, 12 months, 24 months (later.) I have a case 10 years old,” she said.

    The court looks at the Indian Child Welfare Act and to help enforce it and the Bureau of Indian Affairs put out the proposed rule. 

    They told FOX23 they didn't want to answer questions about it but we found on their website that says they want to "to protect the best interest of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families."

    “I don't believe ICWA hurts children. I believe the application by certain tribes does cause harm,” said Murphy.

    FOX23 called the Cherokee Nation and they emailed a statement that says in part:

    "Rule changes we are discussing are long overdue and our children and families can't wait any longer. They give greater guidance and clearer instructions to state courts working with tribes. - Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.”

    Both tribal and public meetings about this will take place Thursday:

    The public meeting is from 1-4pm at the

    A push to enforce current adoption laws could make it more difficult for non-Native American families to adopt Native American children.

    As demonstrated with the court case surrounding the adoption of Baby Veronica, there can be difficulty in adoptions involving Native American children.

    In 2013 after years of custody battles Veronica stayed with her adoptive parents when her biological father, a Native American, dropped his pursuit of custody.

    FOX23’s Janna Clark found there are many cases like that and the Indian Child Welfare Act could make it difficult for non-Native American parents to adopt Native American children.

    The Bureau of Indian Affairs is pushing for the enforcement but some say it's not what's best for the children.

    Legal documents call her S.A.W., she’s a little girl who bonded deeply with (her) foster mother but after one year the court almost removed (her) from the only stable home she had ever known because she's 1/128 Native American.

    It took a battle in court for her to get to stay with her foster family.

    “I don't know what they're trying to accomplish,” said Becki Murphy, an attorney.

    She said it’s one of two scenarios that could happen with a Native American child adoption.

    She said either a child's placed in a non-tribal home and later a tribal family decides to adopt the child or a child is placed in a tribal home and family members later decide they want the child.

    In both situations she said children are torn away.

    “I will always object to a removal, tribal or not, if you're trying to remove a child over 6 months, if the placement is not causing them harm and willing to make it permanent. I will not object I don't care who you are,” said Murphy.

    Murphy says some tribes wait too long intervene after children have stayed in a stable home for months.

    “We should not be revisiting this 10 months, 12 months, 24 months (later.) I have a case 10 years old,” she said.

    The court looks at the Indian Child Welfare Act and to help enforce it and the Bureau of Indian Affairs put out the proposed rule. 

    They told FOX23 they didn't want to answer questions about it but we found on their website that says they want to "to protect the best interest of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families."

    “I don't believe ICWA hurts children. I believe the application by certain tribes does cause harm,” said Murphy.

    FOX23 called the Cherokee Nation and they emailed a statement that says in part:

    "Rule changes we are discussing are long overdue and our children and families can't wait any longer. They give greater guidance and clearer instructions to state courts working with tribes. - Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden.”

    Both tribal and public meetings about this will take place Thursday:

    The public meeting is from 1-4pm at the Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills near 71st Street and Lewis. 

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