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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Veronica's Birth Mother Drops Bid to Overturn ICWA in South Carolina


YouTube/Cynthia T.
Veronica with her dad Dusten Brown in Nowata, Oklahoma

4/7/14
Indian Country Today Media Network has confirmed that the legal team for Christinna Maldonado, the birth mother of “Baby Veronica,” has quietly dropped its class action suit, which sought to overturn portions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, contending it is “race-based” legislation.

RELATED: Some Disturbing Facts About Baby Veronica's Birth Mother

The case, Maldonado et al v. Holder, in which the United States and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma were also named as defendants, had been filed last July during the height of the legal firestorm in which Matt and Melanie Capobianco of James Island, South Carolina, were seeking custody of a Cherokee child they had named Veronica.

The United States Supreme Court had ruled in June 2013 that Veronica’s biological father, Dusten Brown, could not sue under ICWA because he did not have “continued” custody of the girl. The case made headlines around the world, though the little girl was eventually returned to live with the adoptive couple in South Carolina in September of last year.

Maldonado had initially remained quiet during the legal proceedings, but eventually joined the class action suit which included a dozen other women in filing the litigation in federal court in South Carolina. Their suit sought to declare the “Indian preference” under section 1915 of ICWA “unconstitutional,” because it “violated their civil rights to choose fit, stable adoptive parents for their birth children,” according to one of their attorneys.

But on January 27, the plaintiffs in the case quietly filed a voluntary motion for dismissal with the court, putting an end to one of the longest, most expensive and emotional custody cases in U.S. History.

“We are pleased Ms. Maldonado and the unnamed plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the suit,” said Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation. “We never believed the suit had any merit and we were prepared to actively defend the suit had we ever been served.”
In the meantime, the Cherokee Nation and the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Adoptive Couple continue to await the decision on the demand fees totaling over copy million in Nowata County Court in Oklahoma. Previously, they had publicized their work on behalf of the Capobiancos as “pro bono,” but sought compensation a week after the pre-schooler was returned to South Carolina. Their previous suit for fees in South Carolina totaled some $500,000, but was dropped late last year.

Since that time, the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes, along with another class action of parents in South Dakota, have sued the state in federal court over multiple violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

RELATED: South Dakota Tribes Charge State With ICWA Violations
Swept Away: South Dakota's Native Children Denied Due Process in Custody Cases
Swept Away, Part 2: Suing South Dakota to Protect Native Children

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/07/veronicas-birth-mother-drops-bid-overturn-icwa-south-carolina-154354

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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where were you adopted?

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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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The procedure is simple: Just fill out the form HERE.

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ADOPTION TRUTH

As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.

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