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adoption

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

It was 6 a.m. Las Vegas time when Keli Tointigh awoke to her cell phone ringing.

The Chickasha resident was on vacation with her husband, John Tointigh, when an Oklahoma Department of Human Services employee asked if the couple would be willing to take in the children of one of Keli Tointigh’s cousins. The Tointighs had never applied to be foster parents.

“She said, ‘Can you call me back today and let me know?’” Keli recalls. “I was like, ‘Today?’”

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Legislature adjourned onThursday night, ending its yearly session three weeks before the constitutional deadline on May 25.  

After two special sessions left over from last year’s budget woes, a teacher protest that lasted almost two weeks and more than a year of struggling to find funds for state services, lawmakers passed a $7.6 billion dollar state budget in April, the largest in state history.  Here’s a few more of state lawmakers’ accomplishments this year.

 

Teacher Pay Raise:

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Before adjourning the 2018 Legislative Session on May 3, Oklahoma lawmakers passed a number of bills that could face legal challenges or vetoes from Gov. Mary Fallin.

 

 


Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1140, a bill allowing private adoption agencies that contract with the state to act in accordance with their “written religious or moral convictions or policies.” The bill includes language prohibiting the agencies from violating federal and state law, but it’s unlikely to evade legal challenges, according to eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley.

 

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation leaders are lauding a guideline revision that could have impacted a bitter custody case in 2013.

The BIA's new guidelines prioritize early intervention — with services designed to prevent Native children from being removed from their homes.

The new guidelines also give state courts direction on how to locate family and tribal members for placement if a Native child can no longer safely remain in his or her own home.

ok.gov

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will get some special help when she lights the state Christmas tree next month.

A couple from Noble with five adopted sibling children will help Fallin light the tree on Dec. 2 on the south steps of the State Capitol building.

Bryan and Donna Komers became foster parents through the Department of Human Services in 2013. The adoption of the five siblings was finalized in June. And Fallin says the Komers are a great example of what the holiday season is all about.

Spirit-Fire / Flickr Creative Commons

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a measure Tuesday that would allow a parent to temporarily transfer custody of their child to another person or family.

State Sen. Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City) says he modeled his bill on an Illinois law that 25 other states have adopted. It allows a parent or legal guardian to delegate any powers regarding care and custody of a child to another person for up to a year.

Dusten Brown with his daughter, Veronica, before her return to her adoptive parents in South Carolina.
Cherokee Nation

Attorneys for the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old girl caught up in a custody dispute are seeking $1 million in legal fees from the Cherokee Nation and the girl's biological father, who is a member of the tribe.

Attorneys representing Matt and Melanie Capobianco have filed paperwork seeking the legal fees incurred while fighting the lengthy custody battle over 4-year-old Veronica.

In September, Dusten Brown handed Veronica over to the Capobiancos after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted an emergency stay keeping the girl in Oklahoma.

Dusten Brown with his daughter, Veronica, before her return to her adoptive parents in South Carolina.
Cherokee Nation

The biological father of a Cherokee girl adopted by a South Carolina couple has dropped his custody claims. 

Dusten Brown and a Cherokee Nation assistant attorney general said Thursday proceedings over 4-year-old Veronica have been dropped in the Oklahoma and Cherokee court systems. Brown and the attorney asked that Matt and Melanie Capobianco of Charleston, S.C., drop a contempt complaint against Brown.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says it's declining to take jurisdiction over the adoption dispute involving a Cherokee girl and has dissolved a stay that was keeping the girl with her father in Oklahoma.

It wasn't immediately clear whether young Veronica would remain in the Cherokee Nation. The tribal court has found that Matt and Melanie Capobianco of South Carolina have no valid claim to the 4-year-old. The girl's father, Dusten Brown, claims federal law favors his keeping custody of the child, but the U.S. Supreme Court has said the Indian Child Welfare Act does not apply to the case.

The complicated and emotional case of a Native American girl who was adopted by a couple in South Carolina but has been living for more than 18 months with her biological father in Oklahoma has taken another turn.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted an emergency stay to keep a 3-year-old Cherokee girl with her biological father.

A docket listing for the state Supreme Court shows that the stay was granted Friday in the case of 3-year-old Veronica.

Her biological father, Dusten Brown, has been fighting a South Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, for custody of the girl for years.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

 A family court judge is holding another hearing concerning a South Carolina couple's adoption of a Cherokee child.

Attorneys for the girl's biological father requested the Wednesday hearing in the dispute over Matt and Melanie Capobianco's adoption of 3-year-old girl Veronica.

Last month, a judge finalized the couple's adoption. The girl has been living with her biological father in Oklahoma for more than a year. South Carolina authorities charged him with custodial interference after he failed to show up with the child at a scheduled meeting.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The father of a Cherokee Indian girl at the center of an adoption dispute has turned himself in to authorities but refused extradition to South Carolina.

Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart says Dusten Brown turned himself in about 10 a.m. and appeared before a judge but refused extradition without a governor's warrant.

Brown was charged over the weekend with custodial interference after failing to appear at a court-ordered meeting in South Carolina.

Dave Newman (newmanchu) / Flickr Creative Commons

The Charleston-area couple trying to adopt a Cherokee girl wants federal law enforcement to help them bring the child to South Carolina.

Matt and Melanie Capobianco on Monday called on the FBI to help them bring the 3-year-old named Veronica to live with them. Matt Capobianco says he'll go toOklahoma himself to retrieve Veronica if that request is denied.

A South Carolina court has finalized the couple's adoption. But Veronica has been inOklahoma since 2011, when courts said federal law favored her being raised by her biological father because of his Cherokee heritage.

A hearing is set for the biological father of a 3-year-old Cherokee girl who is the subject of an adoption dispute.

A Cherokee Nation spokeswoman says Dusten Brown is due in tribal court in Tahlequah at 9 a.m. Monday.

Spokeswoman Amanda Clinton said the hearing was requested by the attorney for Brown's daughter, Veronica. A phone call to the attorney, Angel Smith, went unanswered.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation

The case of a Native American child at the center of a custody dispute that went to the U.S. Supreme Court has another complication. Dusten Brown, the girl’s biological father, has now filed for adoption.

Brown and other relatives of three-year-old Veronica filed court papers in Oklahoma Monday to adopt the child. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica.