HENDRICKS, MN -
A southwest Minnesota family is once again sharing their adoption story in front of a national audience.
In 2005, Bonnie and Shannon Hofer were involved in a custody fight over their then four-year-old son, Christian, who is Native American.
At the time Christian's mother had not terminated her parental rights and although the Hofers had taken care of him for two years, his birth mother wanted him back. That began a feud between the Hofers and the child's birth mother over a stipulation in the law.
It’s that experience that has put the Hofer’s on 'The Dr. Phil Show.'
Thursday’s topic is the Indian Child Welfare Act and a fight between tribal officials, a father, a birth mother and the adopted parents she hand-picked to raise her child, known now as 'Baby Veronica.'
The baby's father is part Cherokee and filed for paternity and custody four months after Veronica's birth. He successfully argued the case under the Indian Child Welfare Act, which is designed to preserve Native American families.
The adoptive parents have appealed their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
And in 2005, the Hofers had entered their own battle over four-year-old Christian Hofer. The child's birth mother gave the Hofers her child in 2002, but never relinquished her parental rights in front of a judge, as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act. An adoption process began as the Hofers and the birth mother, Juanita Good Bird, argued over custody. Good Bird eventually relinquished her rights.
And in the end, the parties agreed on an open adoption.
The Hofers initially were featured in a 2005 'Dr. Phil' episode about adoptions. Theirs was finalized in 2006. Their experience gives them a chance to update Dr. Phil with their story in the wake of this current case making its way to the highest judicial bench in the country.
Hear how the family is doing and what their children think now that they’re older Thursday on 'The Dr. Phil Show' at 3 p.m. central time on KELO-TV.
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