“The very intent of the law is being comprised by how it’s being used,” the coalition says. “This federal law was originally established to protect families and Indian children — not destroy them.”
Among other changes, the group says they want:
•To give a birth parent only 30 days, instead of 12 months, to revoke consent for an adoption.
•To let Indian birth parents choose an adoptive family for their child, regardless of the family’s ethnic heritage.
The Cherokee Nation has intervened in the “Baby Veronica” battle. But with a gag order in place, officials can’t comment on that specific case.
Generally speaking, however, the Indian Child Welfare Act does a lot of good, said Chrissi Ross Nimmo, the tribe’s assistant attorney general who represented the Cherokee Nation in the Baby Veronica proceedings.
The coalition wants to change the law in ways that would make it easier for non-Indian families to adopt Indian children.
“This defeats the entire purpose” of the legislation, Nimmo said.
“The problems that you hear about in high-profile cases are not caused by the law itself,” Nimmo said. “The problems are caused when attorneys, adoption agencies, and courts do not follow the federal law.”