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A San Antonio Attorney looks at Adoption Reform.

With Russia’s recent ban on international adoptions to Americans, many couples have looked to local agencies to pursue their family growth. Though they are convenient, and free from the restrictions and inconveniences of international procedures, they are not without complications altogether, says any San Antonio attorney familiar with these family law cases. One South Carolina couple has found this out over the past two years. The Capobiancos were attempting to finalize and solidify their parental guardianship over a baby girl named Veronica, when her biological father who had been absent since her birth suddenly re-entered the picture, and wanted the baby girl back.

Kristina Otterstrom, an attorney at our firm, notes that this is not an unusual circumstance, most of the time with good counsel terms can be set and met mutually, however, complications can arise. That’s exactly what happened for the Capobiancos. Veronica’s birth father is a member of the Cherokee Indian Tribe in a capacity that makes Veronica a relatively small percentage (but a percentage nonetheless) Cherokee herself. Prior to the 1970’s no special restrictions were made for adopted children of Native American heritage; however as the rate for adoptions began to rise, Native American children were being adopted into families that did not instill nor nurture their traditional heritage.

This was brought to national attention and it was quickly recognized that a lack of heritage would not only deteriorate a child’s connection to their history but would effectively dilapidate tribal relations and continuity. Therefore, plans to enforce, monitor and regulate such adoptions were put into place; giving Native American children a higher chance of remaining with cultural values, through the Indian Child Welfare Act. Following suit, such programs such as the Indian Placement Program, enacted by the Latter Day Saints in Utah, which detached thousands of children from their native tribes, received criticism and an ultimate demise as LDS family values greatly contrasted with those of Tribal customs in Utah. San Antonio lawyers note that contrasts in family values are most often the result of issue arising in family law cases, this just happened to be on a much higher legal level. This ICWA was a major foundation for the custody battle between Veronica’s biological father and the adoptive parents. The foundation was eventually overruled in a 5-4 decision, based on multiple factors including the biological father’s former abandonment on the child.

The couple will pursue adoption proceedings but for now the case is ultimately turned over to the hands of South Carolina’s ruling. A lawyer in San Antonio can help with your family law case. It’s highly advised that even during the simplest adoption in Texas, a San Antonio attorney should be present to oversee legal proceedings. As the recent store indicates, laws surrounding adoption are subject to interpretation and change. If you would like the counsel of a lawyer in San Antonio who is familiar with adoption proceedings, contact our office at (210) 503-2800 or e-mail

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