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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My adoption is like the Baby Veronica case

NEWS: United States Amicus Brief in Support of Affirmance in the Baby Veronica Case

Click here to read: http://sct.narf.org/documents/adoptivecouplevbabygirl/us_amicus_brief.pdf

By Trace A. DeMeyer

It's important to Native adoptees that the history of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 be placed in the forefront in this case headed to the Supreme Court. It is more than relevant. It is necessary.
A quote from this brief states ..."The case for the ICWA's application here, where the biological father, a member of the Cherokee Nation, wishes to raise his child as a member of the nation, is even stronger."
I spoke with a reporter at NBC News a month ago, and telling him about my own adoption, how my father Earl would have kept me and raised me. The reporter at NBC said I am like an early Baby Veronica case. 
Yes, but I was adopted before the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 as many Native adoptees were. Federal law did not protect me or my father's rights back in the 1950s. The social workers did not contact my father before I was placed in a stranger adoption. Therefore I lost contact with my relatives and my culture. That is no longer acceptable, since ICWA was passed.
Do the people who wished to adopt Baby Veronica know this history? If not, they need to read the anthology TWO WORLDS and understand how adoptees feel.  Did they ever consider the child's needs above their own?


CONGRESS MADE EXPRESS STATUTORY
FINDINGS THAT “AN ALARMINGLY HIGH PERCENTAGE OF INDIAN
FAMILIES (WERE) BROKEN UP BY THE REMOVAL, OFTEN UNWARRANTED,
OF THEIR CHILDREN FROM THEM BY NONTRIBAL PUBLIC
AND PRIVATE AGENCIES,” AND THAT THE STATES “HA(D) OFTEN
FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THE ESSENTIAL TRIBAL RELATIONS OF INDIAN
PEOPLE AND THE CULTURAL AND SOCIAL STANDARDS PREVAILING
IN INDIAN COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES.” - Statement in Brief


In my research for both books, I found that Department of the Interior Solicitor Hilary C. Tompkins is an adoptee and Navajo. Tompkins is part of this brief. A story about her ran in the Navajo Times a few years ago.
 
 
 
IN ENACTING ICWA IN 1978, CONGRESS DETERMINED
THAT FEDERAL ACTION WAS NECESSARY TO ADDRESS “THE CONSEQUENCES
TO INDIAN CHILDREN, INDIAN FAMILIES, AND INDIAN
TRIBES OF ABUSIVE CHILD WELFARE PRACTICES THAT RESULTED IN
THE SEPARATION OF LARGE NUMBERS OF INDIAN CHILDREN FROM
THEIR FAMILIES AND TRIBES THROUGH ADOPTION OR FOSTER CARE
PLACEMENT, USUALLY IN NON-INDIAN HOMES.” - Statement from Brief
 
Keep good thoughts that this important case respects existing federal law and this daughter remains with her father and in her tribe. It is important. It is necessary.
 

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To Veronica Brown

Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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