In a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the adoptive parents of a Native American girl are hoping the high court will hear their appeal to overturn a South Carolina court decision last year which returned their daughter to her Oklahoma father.
The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the 2-year-old, named Veronica, should be returned to her biological father, a member of the Cherokee tribe. It was the court's first decision weighing state adoption law against the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
But in a 142-page petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys for Matt and Melanie Capobianco, the South Carolina couple who adopted Veronica, say courts in a dozen states are divided on the interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
The attorneys want the high court to clarify whether a non-custodial parent can use the act to block an adoption undertaken legally by a non-Indian parent under state law.
A state Family Court judge awarded custody of the child to the biological father last year and she was taken to Oklahoma.