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IN THE MATTER OF B.B. AND G.B., MINORS; MISSISSIPPI BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS v. ORREY CURTISS HOLYFIELD

AUGUST 05, 1987

IN THE MATTER OF B.B. AND G.B., MINORS; MISSISSIPPI BAND OF CHOCTAW INDIANS
v.
ORREY CURTISS HOLYFIELD, VIVIAN JOAN HOLYFIELD, J. B., NATURAL MOTHER, AND W. J., NATURAL FATHER



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, P.J., SULLIVAN and GRIFFIN, JJ.

GRIFFIN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

I.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians appeals the judgment of the Harrison County Chancery Court overruling its motion to vacate and set aside a decree of adoption awarding the minor children," B.B. "and" G.B. ", to appellees, Orrey Curtiss Holyfield and Vivian Joan Holyfield. As error appellant assigns two propositions:

 1. The trial court should not have exercised jurisdiction over adoption proceedings which, the Band contends, were subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Court by operation of Federal law; and

 2. The trial court erred in not conforming its proceedings to the minimum federal standards under 25 U.S.C.S. 1901-1923 involving child custody proceedings for Indian children. Said standards govern Indian placements and adoptions by requiring tribal notice, due execution of parental consents, application of mandated placement priorities and adherence to tribal cultural customs.

 The chancellor therein determined that the parties to the adoption had complied fully to the extent required by law, and held accordingly in awarding adoption to the Holyfields.

 We affirm the lower court's opinion, and find not only that the chancellor exercised the proper jurisdiction over this action, but also that the lower court kept within the federal guidelines established under the Indian Child Welfare Act.

 II.

 Twin babies were born to J.B. on December 29, 1985, in Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi. The children were born out of wedlock to J.B. and W.J., the putative father, who are both full-blood Choctaw Indians. A petition for adoption was filed on January 16, 1986, by the Holyfields, who were joined in such by the natural mother. A consent to adoption form was executed by J.B. on January 10, 1986. A consent to adoption form and reaffirmation thereof were filed by W.J. on January 11, 1986, and June 13, 1986, respectively.

 The chancellor issued the decree of adoption on January 28, 1985.

 The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (" The Band ") filed a motion to vacate and set aside the final decree of adoption on March 31, 1986.

 Affidavits again reaffirming their consent to adoption forms were filed by the natural parents on May 31, 1986, and June 9, 1986. The content of these forms stated specifically that (1) the natural parents reaffirmed their consent to adoption; (2) the adoptive parents to be the Holyfields; (3) the children were born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and have at no time been on the Choctaw Indian Reservation in Neshoba County, Mississippi; and (4) it is the natural parents' desire that the children remain in Gulfport and with the Holyfields.

 On July 14, 1986, the lower court overruled the Band's motion and entered its ...


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