Though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Baby Veronica case I am not sure how widely publicized it is outside of Oklahoma and South Carolina, where the parties involved live. It is something I am seeing daily in the papers and the more I read I just feel so sad for this child in the midst of a tug-o-war.
For those of you unfamiliar with the case I will attempt to briefly hit on the details… First, it is a case in which an unwed pregnant Oklahoma woman made the decision to place her baby up for adoption. She selected a South Carolina couple to adopt her baby and the biological father, who is of Native American descent, terminated his rights as a parent.
Upon the birth of the child, known as Baby Veronica, the couple pursued legal adoption and raised her for the first two years of her life. However, during that time period the biological father fought through the court system for his parental rights to be reinstated, arguing that he had only signed over his rights to the birth mom and had no knowledge that she intended to adopt the baby out.
After much legal wrangling, it was decided in a South Carolina court that because of the Indian Child Welfare Act giving tribes the right to intervene in the adoption of Indian children that the biological dad should indeed be given custody. So on New Year Eve 2011, Baby Veronica was taken from the only parents she knew and returned to Oklahoma to live with her biological dad, where she has now been for approximately 18 months.
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling sending the case back to South Carolina to be reconsidered, in which they did and awarded custody back to the adoptive parents. Currently the child remains with her dad, who is now really the only parent she cognitively knows and has bonded with. All the while the fighting continues; both parties desperately wanting their little girl.
All this back and forth reminds me of the story found in 1 Kings of the Bible in which King Solomon had to rule about who another child rightfully belonged to. In this case, two women had babies but one woman’s child died shortly thereafter. While everyone slept it was said she kidnapped the other baby claiming him to be hers, leaving the deceased child for the other mother to find.
After arguing which child belonged to whom, they took the debate to the king. Solomon’s response,
“Bring me a sword.” And when they had he said to the women, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.”
The mother who’s child it really was couldn’t bear the thought of this action killing her son so she pleaded for the child to be given to the other woman instead. But that woman would have rather the boy been killed than watch with envy the joy and blessing this mother would experience in raising her child while she was left alone in her depression and grief over the death of her own child. At this Wise Solomon knew exactly who the true mother was and gave her son back to her.
Now I don’t presume to know the right legal answer in this complicated current battle. And I can’t imagine the anger and injustice both parental sides are feeling. But I also can’t imagine the hurt, confusion, future guilt and issues that Baby Veronica will suffer because of it. At this point and because of her age now, what is truly for HER best life-long well-being must become paramount in considering who will parent her.
I pray that no matter what, she will know the love of Jesus as her Heavenly Father. As the only One who will never leave her. I pray for spiritual and emotional protection over her as she grows older and may struggle in her identity. I pray that she can rest knowing that for her, as is true for all of us, finding our security and identity in Him is the only place we will find peace.
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