In the case of baby Veronica, The Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted her biological father temporary custody. The 3-year-old girl will remain with Dusten Brown pending further arguments from both attorneys.
The Capobianco adoption has gained nationwide attention. Veronica’s biological mother arranged the adoption while she was pregnant. Matt and Melanie Capobianco agreed to adopt the child, welcoming her into their family.
Dusten Brown contends that he never consented to the adoption. As reported by Oyez.org, baby Veronica’s birth mother falsified information on the application, making it impossible to inform Brown about the adoption.
Veronica’s birth mother further falsified the documents, listing her daughter as Hispanic rather than Native American.
The birth mother argued that she discussed the situation with Brown via text message. She contends that Brown sent her a text stating that he would relinquish his parental rights.
Brown did not consider the text message a legally binding contract. He filed a lawsuit contesting the Capobianco adoption.
As reported by Boston.com, the judge sided with Brown, citing the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act. The act prohibits non-Native families from fostering or adopting Native American children.
The Capobiancos reluctantly returned baby Veronica to her father. However, they were not willing to give up on the adoption.
In their appeal, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the decision, acknowledging the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act.
The Capobiancos took their appeal to the US Supreme Court. In 2012, the US Supreme Court sided with the adoptive parents, ruling that the ICWA did not apply in the Capobianco adoption.
The Judges explained that the birth mother was a non-Native, and Brown never established a relationship with Veronica. They ruled that the child’s custody should be decided according to South Carolina state law, not the law of the Cherokee Nation.
The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed their previous decision, ordering Brown to return Veronica to the Capobiancos. The exchange was scheduled for August 4.
Brown refused to surrender his daughter. As reported by CBS News, he was charged with custodial interference.
Dusten Brown filed an appeal with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The ultimate decision now lies with the Oklahoma Supreme Court. For now, the Capobianco adoption has stalled. Baby Veronica will remain with her father until the matter is decided by the court.