Split South Carolina SCT Complies with ICWA and Affirms Return of Child to Cherokee Father

Here is the opinion:

Adoptive Couple v Cherokee Nation

An excerpt:

We do not take lightly the grave interests at stake in this case. However, we are constrained by the law and convinced by the facts that the transfer of custody to Father was required under the law. Adoptive Couple are ideal parents who have exhibited the ability to provide a loving family environment for Baby Girl. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we affirm the family court order. Because this case involves an Indian child, the ICWA applies and confers conclusive custodial preference to the Indian parent. All of the rest of our determinations flow from this reality. While we have the highest respect for the deeply felt opinions expressed by the dissent, we simply see this case as one in which the dictates of federal Indian law supersede state law where the adoption and custody of an Indian child is at issue. Father did not consent to Baby Girl’s adoption, and we cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt that custody by him would result in serious emotional or physical harm to Baby Girl. Thus, under the federal standard we cannot terminate Father’s parental rights. For these reasons, we affirm the family court’s denial of the adoption decree and transfer of custody to Father.

News coverage here.

5 thoughts on “Split South Carolina SCT Complies with ICWA and Affirms Return of Child to Cherokee Father

  1. steve suagee July 26, 2012 / 8:59 pm

    I just watched an extremely one-sided, ignorant story on this case from Anderson Cooper and CNN. It probably merits a response from a national organization.

  2. Hannah Smith July 27, 2012 / 10:46 am

    Its a shame that the press and apparently the S.C. Supreme Court speak about the ICWA from the point of view that the law somehow is detrimental to the overall wellbeing of this child. As if the moral choice is at odds with the legal mandate. I’m not suprised, however. We Americans are pretty egocentric when it comes to imposing our culture and what we believe “ought” to be on others. The ICWA’s purpose is to guard against the dominant cultural view of “whats best” according to the dominant culture. Looks like the law did its job. I applaud the S.C. Supreme Court for upholding the law. I invite anyone willing to lay down preconvieved notions of “whats best” to explore the wisdom of ICWA from the other side.

  3. Lisa Coppedge October 3, 2012 / 4:40 pm

    ICWA was designed to protect the inherent rights of Native Children as much as Native families. Mothers and fathers who are in relationships with Native people have to understand that ICWA is about more than their rights. It is about cultural survival. Native Children belong with Native families. End of discussion. It sound harsh but lets face it the adoption should never have been allowed when it was known that the father was Native. They knew and did it anyway. By doing that the SC courts inflicted pain on the adoptive family and the child. It will disrupt her life to switch families but if they had obeyed the Law in the first place none of that would have happened.While ICWA has its faults the simple fact is it is far better then to have it then to allow for cultural Genocide. If children are taken they have no connection to who they are and they can not ever go home in a meaningful way. If you doubt it. Ask those of us who were adopted out before ICWA and see how we feel. How lost we are and how hard our lives are because some asshole decide we belonged with white families. I love mine dearly but…it still cost me at least part of my identity and maybe even at one point part of my soul. I hope this baby girl does not pay that price.

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