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'Baby Veronica' Handed Over To Adoptive Parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM
  • 167 Replies

 

OKLAHOMA CITY — A South Carolina couple who vowed last month to not leave Oklahoma unless they went home with a 4-year-old Cherokee girl they have been trying to adopt since her birth were given custody of the girl Monday night after the Oklahoma Supreme Court said it didn't have jurisdiction over the child.

"She's safely in her parents' arms," said Jessica Munday, a spokeswoman for Matt and Melanie Capobianco, of Charleston, S.C.

Cherokee Nation spokeswoman Amanda Clinton confirmed that Veronica was handed over to the Capobiancos hours after the Oklahoma Supreme Court dissolved a temporary court order leaving the child with her father and his family. Until the Monday night transfer, the Cherokee Nation had insisted the girl would remain with the tribe.

The Capobiancos and the girl's biological father, Dusten Brown, had fought for years over custody of the girl. The dispute has raised questions about jurisdictions, tribal sovereignty and a federal law meant to help keep Native American tribes together.

Veronica, whose biological father is a member of the Cherokee Nation and whose biological mother in not Native American, had lived with the Capobiancos from birth until she was 27 months old, when Brown was awarded custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act. But a U.S. Supreme Court decision later went against Brown, and a South Carolina court finalized the Capobiancos' adoption of the girl earlier this year. Brown had then turned to Oklahoma's courts.

It wasn't known if there were any conditions attached to the Capobiancos gaining custody, including whether Brown would be allowed to visit the girl. An attorney for Brown did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree released a statement late Monday describing the scene as Veronica's custody was transferred. He said it was emotional but "peaceful and dignified." He said Brown and his wife packed clothes and toys for Veronica before a tribal attorney drove her a short distance to where the Capobiancos were waiting.

"Dusten Brown was just as brave today as we he was when he fought for our country in Iraq," Hembree said. "Although this is not something any parent should ever have to do, we could not be more proud of the dignity and courage with which he carried himself."

Hembree added that Veronica will always be a Cherokee citizen and that he hoped "the Capobiancos honor their word that Dusten will be allowed to remain an important part of Veronica's life."

Munday said she was not sure when Capobiancos planned to return to South Carolina with Veronica, but said she felt they were now free to do that at any time. She said Veronica has spent some time with the couple recently and did remember them.

"It was smooth. There wasn't any danger. ... Hopefully everyone can focus on healing now," said Munday, a friend of the family.

When the Oklahoma justices bowed out, it left in place a South Carolina court order validating the Capobiancos' adoption and a Cherokee Nation tribal court directive that said the girl could remain with family members of Brown while he was undergoing National Guard training.

'Baby Veronica' Handed Over To Adoptive Parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco

 

The Oklahoma Supreme Court had halted the girl's transfer to the Capobiancos while it considered the case. The court did not explain its decision to lift its stay Monday.

After the girl's transfer to the Capobiancos, the National Indian Child Welfare Association put out a statement saying it was saddened by the events.

"The legal system has failed this child and American Indians as well. Our prayers are with everyone concerned, but most of all with Veronica," said Terry Cross, the group's executive director.

Veronica's birth mother was pregnant when she put the girl up for adoption, and the Capobiancos took custody of Veronica shortly after birth.

Brown and his family claim the Indian Child Welfare Act mandates that the child be raised within the Cherokee Nation. The law was passed in 1978 with the intent of reducing the high rates of Native American children being adopted by non-Native American families.

A South Carolina court cited the law when awarding Veronica to Brown in 2011, but the U.S. Supreme Court this year said the law did not apply because he had been absent from the child's life.

Brown also is facing extradition to South Carolina to face a charge of custodial interference for refusing to hand over the girl.

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM
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Replies (1-10):
SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:48 AM

 How long did he have her? The article said, Baby Veronica spent some time with the couple, and did remember them. This is a horrible situation for everyone involved. Especially the child. Saw this on TV this morning, and there can still be some legal options for the father through the Cherokee nation.

Mommy383
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this
When did the father find out about his daughter? Did the mother lie to get the adoption to go through?
sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM
1 mom liked this

 She spent almost equal time with both

27 months with her adoptive family and about 2 years with her bio dad

 

Quoting SEEKEROFSHELLS:

 How long did he have her? The article said, Baby Veronica spent some time with the couple, and did remember them. This is a horrible situation for everyone involved. Especially the child. Saw this on TV this morning, and there can still be some legal options for the father through the Cherokee nation.

 

sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:57 AM

 The Father signed over all rights to his daughter when she was born

after he found out the Mom was placing the baby for adoption he tried to stop it. he couldn't because he signed over all his rights.

Eventually he went to court and invoked the tribal law, and went to the court system that way.

Quoting Mommy383:

When did the father find out about his daughter? Did the mother lie to get the adoption to go through?

 

WheelerWife
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:01 PM

I thought I read that the mother deceived him into thinking that she'd lost the baby, or never told him she was pregnant because they had broken up. 

Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 The Father signed over all rights to his daughter when she was born

after he found out the Mom was placing the baby for adoption he tried to stop it. he couldn't because he signed over all his rights.

Eventually he went to court and invoked the tribal law, and went to the court system that way.

Quoting Mommy383:

When did the father find out about his daughter? Did the mother lie to get the adoption to go through?

 



Mommy383
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 The Father signed over all rights to his daughter when she was born


after he found out the Mom was placing the baby for adoption he tried to stop it. he couldn't because he signed over all his rights.


Eventually he went to court and invoked the tribal law, and went to the court system that way.


Quoting Mommy383:When did the father find out about his daughter? Did the mother lie to get the adoption to go through?


 





Oh. Well then he signed his rights over so she belongs with the adoptive parents.
Wicked.Jester
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:05 PM
1 mom liked this

All I can think is this poor child.  I have adopted children who had no stability in their lives and were transfered from care giver to care giver in these formative years.  

The impact is devastating and my son has been in therapy for seven years, and continues to have issues.

pansyprincess
by Silver Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

I thought that he was deployed and thought he was signing over rights having to do with his absence ... but later found out she gave the baby up.  I haven't been following this ... so I'm not sure how true that is.

bunnyxlover
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:07 PM

So the little girls father wanted her and the courts said no and took here away? sounds pretty messed up

meriana
by Gold Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM
2 moms liked this

From what I read, he didn't realize he was signing over all of his parental rights. The mom wasn't honest about it from the start.

This makes me so angry but then I feel the child should have stayed with her father since he wants her and is able to provide for her. I've always had the impression of the adoptive parents that the child was/is like a possession, bought and paid for. No matter what they've agreed to, I'd be surprised if they allow contact with the father and there's nothing that can force them to.

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