Photo: ABC News 4 Charleston
The Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a custody battle that could potentially impact families that adopt Native American children.A South Carolina couple asked the high court to hear the case after a 1978 law forced them to hand their 27-month-old daughter, Veronica, over to the American Indian father she never knew, according to The New York Times.
That law, the Indian Welfare Child Act, requires special procedures for adoptions involving American Indian children. It was passed to make sure Native American children wouldn’t be systematically removed from their homes and placed with white people, as they had been in the past.
In the case involving baby Veronica, a non-Indian mother gave the child up after the girl’s father, Dusten Brown, told her in a text message he didn’t want the child, The Times reported.
However, Brown then used the Indian Welfare Child Act to challenge Veronica’s adoption by a non-Indian South Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco. Brown claims the adoption was flawed under the 1978 law because of alleged efforts to conceal her Native American heritage, according to The Times.
The Supreme Court will decide whether a non-custodial parent can use the 1978 law to block an adoption initiated by a parent who’s not Native American.
In July 2012, the South Carolina sided with Brown, doing so with a “heavy heart” and calling the Capobiancos ideal parents who provided the toddler with a loving family.
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