Indian Child Welfare Act experts agreed that the Bright Star contract potentially misled the adoptive parents by saying the law “does not apply” in their situation.
“That is just wrong,” said Professor Fort, who also serves as director of the Indian Law Clinic at Michigan State University and authored a case law book titled American Indian Children and the Law.
She pointed to a section in the Indian Child Welfare Act that states the law does apply in adoptions of Native children. And she invoked a federal regulation published in 2016, which states that the Indian Child Welfare Act applies in any “voluntary proceeding that could prohibit the parent or Indian custodian from regaining custody of the child upon demand.”
In other words, the Indian Child Welfare Act applies in voluntary adoption cases when a Native birth mother gives up her parental rights. It’s unclear from the September Bright Star contract whether the birth mother agreed to give up her parental rights after the birth of her child.
This is the gentleman who is also now indicted for trafficking Marshallese women and selling their babies.