New Developments in the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl Ongoing Adoption Case

There have been major developments is the Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl (Veronica) case since it was remanded to the South Carolina Supreme Court. On July 17, 2013 the South Carolina Court ordered the Family Law Court to proceed with the adoption of Veronica by the adoptive parents. The South Carolina Court order bars the Family Law Court from holding any further proceedings to determine what is in the “best interest” of the Veronica and that the Family Law Court is not to entertain any further objections filed by the parties opposing the adoption. This ruling seems to clear the path for the adoptive couple to adopt Veronica. The Cherokee Tribe and Dusten Brown, Veronica’s biological father, have petitioned the South Carolina Court to reconsider its order and remand the case to the Family Law Court for a hearing on the “best interest” of Veronica given the changed circumstances of the case.

In addition to filing a petition for reconsideration with the South Carolina Court, Dusten Brown and his wife filed for adoption of Veronica in Oklahoma state court and Dusten’s wife and his parents also filed for adoption in the Cherokee Nation’s Tribal Court. On July 23, 2013 the Tribal Court issued an order granting Dusten’s wife and his parents joint custody of Veronica. The Tribal Court’s order was necessary due to the fact that Dusten has been mandated to attend National Guard training as of July 22, 2013.

Also in response to the South Carolina Court’s order, the Native American Rights Fund, the National Congress of American Indians and the National Indian Child Welfare Association have vowed to assist the Brown family and the Cherokee Nation in protecting Veronica’s civil rights. NARF, Executive Director John Echohawk confirmed, “… I have instructed my legal staff to work with local counsel in South Carolina and Oklahoma to determine our best legal recourse through the federal courts to protect the rights of Baby Veronica. In this case, we strongly believe that federal civil rights laws are being violated….”

California Indian Legal Services will continue to keep you updated on the developments in the Baby Girl case.