Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Supreme Court to hear American Indian adoption case

Adoptions are a time of joy for many families. Couples who were unable to conceive or who just decide that want to bring the joys of a family to a child already here fill adoption agencies. As with any man-made system there are flaws and loopholes that people take advantage of for their own purposes. These failures can have large impacts as they may negatively affect multiple families and children.

The United States Supreme Court is set to hear an adoption case involving an American Indian man and his child who was given up for adoption by her mother without his consent.

The child was born to an unwed couple who were separated. After the father allegedly decided not to pay child support the child's mother took the girl from the state and placed her for adoption. This case is further complicated by the child's status as a Native American and the interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

The Indian Child Welfare Act was put in place to prevent the policies and practices of some which resulted in large numbers of Native American children being taken for adoption and placed in none Indian homes. It is unlikely the Supreme Court will overturn an act which it has upheld on several prior occasions. That is why many legal experts wonder why the court accepted the case. The child is currently under the custody of her biological father who was awarded custody by two state courts.

Adoption in the United States is a more recognized issue as the number of fraud involved adoptions increases. Hopefully regardless of what home the child is raised the child is surrounded by a loving and caring family with the child's best interests at heart.

Source: TheAtlantic "Indian Affairs, Adoption, and Race: The Baby Veronica Case Comes to Washington" Andrew Cohen April 12, 2013

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