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Melissa A. Featherston

Custody lost by adopted parents, using 1970s federal law

Late last week, a couple lost custody of their two and a half year-old daughter. The toddler is now being forced to live in another state from her adopted parents because of a law passed decades ago called the Indian Child Welfare Act. The law was meant to help Native American children stay with their birth parents or in Native American homes whenever possible. In this case it reversed the custody of the child from her adopted parents.

The couple went through the adoption process and they say no one mentioned her Native American roots. When her biological father found out about the adoption, he contested the legality of the adoption. Now, the girl has been returned to her father who is Cherokee, and her adopted family is fighting back.

The couple says the law that uprooted her from South Carolina to Oklahoma was misinterpreted, and it wasn't meant to take the girl from them. The adopted parents say it is in the girl's best interest for her to be with them since they were there with her from cutting of the umbilical cord on. The Cherokee Nation, which is representing the biological father in this case, says the law is meant to preserve the child's heritage.

The child custody process can sometimes get complicated whether it is from adoption, dealing with fathers' rights, or during divorce. The child's best interest is often at stake, and that isn't something that should be taken lightly. Seeking out the help of an experienced Missouri Child custody attorney can help you navigate the custody process and make sure you get the outcome that is best for your situation.

Source: Fox23, "SC couple fights for custody of adopted child now in OK," Adam Paluka, Jan. 4, 2012

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