The adoptive parents of baby Veronica, Melanie and Matt Capobianco, appeared on the Today show this morning to talk about the latest twist in the custody battle over the three-year-old.
Baby Veronica is the biological daughter of a Cherokee man who wants to keep her. However, the Capobiancos have won a hard-fought court battle for the right to adopt her.
And father Dusten Brown was ordered to turn his daughter over to the white couple earlier this month.
But he didn’t comply. Instead, Brown cited his National Guard duty as the reason he was too busy.
Now the Capobiancos are suspicious. Matt Capobianco said, “Nobody showed. They could have asked for a different time, a different date…Now I guess we just assume that [Brown’s attorneys] knew all along he wasn’t going to show.”
The couple added that they don’t want any more trauma for the little girl. But they also have no intention of just giving up. You can see their entire video interview on the Today show website.
It’s a complicated case.
You can read a fuller description of the custody dispute here.
A very short version is that Dusten Brown was being deployed to Iraq and didn’t understand that the biological mother would give baby Veronica up for adoption. He thought she would take care of the child until he could return.
Instead, she arranged for the Capobiancos to adopt baby Veronica without Brown’s knowledge.
When he did become aware that his daughter had been taken far from his home, the Oklahoma resident fought to get her back. As a Cherokee, Brown argued that it was a violation of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act to allow a white couple to take a Cherokee child when her father wanted to keep her.
That’s when a South Carolina court removed baby Veronica from the Capobiancos and awarded her to Dusten Brown and his wife.
But the litigation over the baby Veronica adoption continued.
Earlier this summer the US Supreme Court ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act didn’t apply. As a result, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed itself and ordered the child to be returned to the Copabiancos as soon as possible.
The Cherokee Nation and other Native American groups have spoken out against the Copabianco adoption. The National Congress of American Indians statement said in part, “We are witnessing the final steps in a forced removal of a Native child from her father, her family, and her Native community.”
Dusten Brown has appealed to Oklahoma’s senators as well as to the Cherokee nation for help in keeping his daughter.
However, the Copabiancos say that the court has already given its final answer. The adoptive parents won, and now they want baby Veronica returned to their home in South Carolina.