The travesty of this case is that the state court in South Carolina ever saw fit to remove Veronica from the only parents she had ever known in favor of a man whose behavior in no way entitled him the honor of being someone's dad. Now she faces the possibility of being moved again.
It's understandable — perhaps even laudable — that the Cherokee Nation and other tribes want to preserve their heritage. Of course they prefer children of Indian descent to be raised in families with tribal ties so they can learn and appreciate their ancestry. Many families, regardless of ethnicity, want their children to have strong knowledge of and ties to their family history. But here's the bigger question: At what cost?
There's a mismatch between the number of American Indian children needing adoption and the population of American Indians. That's true in other minority races. Such children waiting for an ancestry match may never see the “gotcha day” so many children and families long for. Is the small hope they face for the match paramount to the need for a loving family, no matter the ethnicity? Loving parents should trump all.
Policy, especially when it comes to child welfare, never accounts for all the what-ifs and nuances. How many times have we seen a rule, policy or law trump the best interest of the child with tragic or devastating consequences?
Veronica's story isn't over because the South Carolina court could still decide to give custody to another family member of the father or someone else of American Indian heritage. The court should decide that “Baby Girl” Veronica has already paid a too-high price for the sins of her father and return her once and for all to the home of her two loving parents.