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Baby Veronica Case Has Painful Relevance For Colorado Woman

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While Lucas met the girl's disability needs, the aunt and uncle met her Native American cultural needs. While Lucas met the girl's disability needs, the aunt and uncle met her Native American cultural needs.
Lucas said she feels for both families involved in the Baby Veronica case, but said Veronica's treatment is the biggest injustice. Lucas said she feels for both families involved in the Baby Veronica case, but said Veronica's treatment is the biggest injustice.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A woman who lost an adoption case because of the Indian Child Welfare Act is reaching out to Baby Veronica's adoptive parents.

She's been watching the emotional tug-of-war over Veronica and shared with News On 6 how the federal law changed her life forever.

Carrie Lucas lives in Colorado. Her adoption of a foster child was rejected when she went to finalize it, but she says the court made the right decision.

"Brings back those feelings of pain," Lucas said.

She said she feels for both families involved in the Baby Veronica case, but said Veronica's treatment is the biggest injustice.

8/6/2013 Related Story: South Carolina Judge Orders Immediate Transfer Of Baby Veronica

"We treat children like chattel, and they're not given the full rights that they need," she said.

Lucas was denied adoption in Colorado due to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

"It was emotionally devastating. It was physically exhausting. We had been in and out of trial for months," Lucas said.

In 2001, Lucas fostered a 6-year-old Indian girl. The biological parents had their rights terminated, so the girl went to live with her aunt and uncle, and they eventually placed her in foster care.

When Lucas filed for adoption, the aunt and uncle challenged it.

Lucas said the Rosebud Sioux tribe also intervened because the Department of Human Services didn't provide them proper notification.

While Lucas met the girl's disability needs, the aunt and uncle met her Native American cultural needs.

"That was a balancing act the court had to make. The court was very clear, had he been able to order continuing contact with her biological family, she would have stayed with me," Lucas said.

The court sided with the aunt and uncle. Lucas said goodbye just before the girl's 8th birthday, and years later, has come to agree with the decision.

"That child is now 19 years old and off to college this fall. She really has done very well," Lucas said.

Lucas has reached out to the Capobiancos, but she thinks the courts got it wrong in that case.

"This little girl is being ripped from the family she knows now without having any hearing or any due process as to what's in her best interest at this time," she said.

Lucas said adoption laws should be changed to allow judges to order continuing visitation for both sides, because many states don't have those provisions.

Her adoption experience is what made her go into juvenile law, she said. Lucas said she wrestles with adoption laws that need change and respecting Native American heritage on a daily basis in her Denver practice.

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