By Jueseppi B.
From SAVE VERONICA.org:
On Dec. 31, 2011, Veronica was removed from her home in Charleston, South Carolina where she was a happy, thriving 2 1/2 year old little girl. The reason for her removal? The misapplication of the controversial Indian Child Welfare Act. Veronica is a multiracial child, predominantly Hispanic and Caucasian and approximately 1 percent Cherokee. Her birth father, who would have otherwise had no rights under state law, used this federal law to block Veronica’s adoption.
Veronica was removed from her family, friends and community without any transition period. She was home one day and gone the next. Immediately following her abrupt transfer, a groundswell of supporters surrounded Veronica and her adoptive family – a grassroots campaign named Save Veronica was born with a mission to ensure Veronica was returned back to her rightful parents, the parents chosen for her by her birth mother. Her family and birth mother have not been allowed to see or speak to her in 19 months.
More than 30,000 courageous individuals came together to stand up for Veronica’s rights –we became her voice. Despite the odds, after months of raising awareness and standing behind Veronica, her birth mother and her adoptive family, Veronica’s case found its way to the steps of the United States Supreme Court on April 17, 2013.
On June 25, 2013, on behalf of the court, Justice Samuel Alito issued a ruling confirming that, just as we had said all along, theIndian Child Welfare Act did not apply to Veronica’s adoption and reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court’s prior order. Despite the odds, we had won at the U.S. Supreme Court! Moreover, Justice Alito expeditiously remanded the case back to the state Supreme Court, a rare occurrence that has happened only twice in the last 15 years.
Upon receipt of their orders from the U.S. Supreme Court, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered that Veronica’s adoption be finalized and she be returned to her family and home in Charleston. Chief Justice Jean Toal reiterated the court’s ruling by denying all petitions for a rehearing, sending the case immediately to Charleston County Family Court to determine a transition plan centered around Veronica’s best interests. Finally, on July 31, the family court presented Matt and Melanie with their adoption decree and ordered a thoughtful transition plan.
We are so grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court, S.C. Supreme Court and Charleston County Family Court agree Veronica should be allowed to come home to her family. Let them find it in their hearts to return her in a way that respects her needs, despite their feelings of loss.”
Save Veronica has made great progress in helping bring Veronica home. The reality is she’s not home yet. Now that Matt and Melanie are officially Veronica’s parents, we ask everyone to please pray for a healthy, safe return – a return that is sensitive to Veronica’s needs. Keep everyone involved in your thoughts in the coming days as we look forward to seeing Veronica reunited with her family, friends and community.
STATEMENT FROM CAPOBIANCOS – 8/12/13 (re: requesting help from federal authorities)
STATEMENT FROM ATTORNEYS – 8/11/13 (re: arrest warrant for Dusten Brown)
RESPONSE TO CHEROKEE NATION’S STATEMENT – 8/10/13 (re: arrest warrant for Dusten Brown)
For breaking news and updates on this case, follow Save Veronica Rose on Facebook.
The commentary/opinions are fully my own.
Lets start with why a caucasian couple thinks they have a right to a child of The Cherokee Nation over her biological father? An Iraqi War Veteran no less?
By David Ferguson
An Iraq War veteran who says he mistakenly signed away his parental rights is trying to keep custody of his 3-year-old daughter.According to CBS News, Army National Guardsman Dusten Brown believed that he was signing over custody to his daughter’s mother when he sent a text message and signed a parental rights agreement on his way to Iraq in 2009.
Instead, both he and the mother lost all custody rights and the baby girl was taken home from the hospital for adoption by a South Carolina couple named Matt and Melanie Capobianco. When Brown found out about the adoption, he invoked the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, a law designed to keep Native American families from being separated by the government. Brown is of Native American descent, a member of the Cherokee Nation.
“That’s my daughter. I’m not wanting to abandon her,” he told CBS. “I want to be right there along the whole time, watch her grow up, make her decisions and everything. Never once did I want to just give her away.”
Now baby Veronica is living with Brown and his wife in Oklahoma. For two years, she lived with the Capobiancos until a South Carolina court awarded Brown custody of his daughter in 2011.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled five-to-four that the 1978 law does not apply in this case. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the Court’s decision that Brown “abandoned the Indian child before birth and never had custody of the child.”
Brown told CBS, “I mean, they could think what they want, say what they want. But I never abandoned my child.”
The Supreme Court has handed the case back to a South Carolina court to rule on. For now, Veronica’s fate hangs in the balance between staying with her father or going back to the couple who raised her for two years.
Thank you The Raw Story.
‘Baby Veronica‘ dad released from custody after turning self in
Published on Aug 12, 2013
The biological father of a young girl in the middle of a bitter custody dispute with the child’s adoptive parents was taken into custody by local authorities in Oklahoma on Monday morning after turning himself in.Iraq war veteran Dusten Brown was wanted for failing to show up to transfer custody of his 3-year-old daughter, Veronica, back to her adoptive parents within 72 hours as ordered by the court.Brown was taken into custody by the Cherokee Nation marshals service on Monday morning and released at 11:11 a.m. local time on a $10,000 “fugitive from justice” bond.
The baby’s whereabouts remain unconfirmed.A five-day transition had been planned to help the child, known as “baby Veronica,” adjust to the transfer back to her adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobiancos in South Carolina, but “nobody showed,” Matt Capobianco told TODAY on Aug. 9.
The Capobiancos raised Veronica for the first two years of her life before a South Carolina court awarded custody to Brown in 2011, citing a federal law that seeks to keep Native American children with their birth parents. The Capobiancos fought to regain custody all the way to the Supreme Court, which overthrew the South Carolina court’s decision earlier this month by ruling that the federal statute did not apply in this case.
Why Adopted People Support Baby Veronica Brown living with her Father Dusten
New round in custody battle over ‘Baby Veronica’ CBS News
Published on Jul 23, 2013
(CBS News) NEW YORK — Dusten Brown has raised his biological daughter, 3-year-old Veronica, for the past year and a half. We met Veronica and Brown outside Tulsa, Okla., earlier this month.
Everybody just needs to realize that she’s happy. She’s very happy here with us,” Brown told us at the time.
Brown surrendered his parental rights before Veronica was born. Her unmarried biological mother then gave permission for her to be adopted by Matt and Melanie Capobianco.
The Capobiancos raised her for the first two years of her life, but Brown objected to the adoption. A Cherokee Indian, he cited a federal law protecting Native American children from being separated from their families and tribes.
“The only people that could really give you the – your history of your ancestors is your family,” Brown said.
AP/ August 14, 2013 Updated at 5:36 p.m. ET
TULSA, OKLA. A South Carolina couple seeking to adopt a young Cherokee girl took their fight to Oklahoma on Wednesday, hoping to visit the child who previously lived with them for 27 months and seek a compromise with her biological family that would return Veronica to their home.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco believe they have done everything necessary to regain custody of the girl, who is about to turn 4. The U.S. Supreme Court said in June that provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which would favor the girl’s father, didn’t apply in the case, and a South Carolina court awarded the couple custody on July 31.
The ongoing dispute has raised questions about jurisdictions, tribal sovereignty and the federal law meant to help keep Native American tribes together.
“We made the trip to Oklahoma to get our daughter,” Matt Capobianco said at a news conference in downtown Tulsa on Wednesday. “Veronica will be coming home, but if there is going to be some thoughtful solution that continues to involve all who love her, then this is the time.”
The girl, under a Cherokee Nation court order, has been with the family of Dusten Brown, her biological father. The tribe’s chief urged patience.
“The Capobiancos have requested the Cherokee Nation and Dusten Brown to follow the South Carolina court’s order, but they forget that Dusten Brown has the same rights to have his arguments heard before our Oklahoma courts and Cherokee Nation Tribal Court,” Chief Bill John Baker said. “The Cherokee people throughout time have stood our ground and for the rights of our people, and this is no different. We will continue to stand by Dusten and his biological daughter, Veronica, and for what is right.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin urged the families to get together and talk — eventhreatening Brown with extradition to South Carolina on a charge of custodial interference if he was “unwilling to cooperate.”
Veronica was born in late 2009. Brown initially did not press his parental rights — the girl’s mother is not Native American — but when he discovered Veronica was going to be adopted, he objected and said the ICWA favored the girl living with him and growing up learning tribal traditions.
The Capobiancos and their supporters said Wednesday a compromise is in order.
“We don’t seek victory. What we seek is peace for our daughter,” Melanie Capobianco said.
Troy Dunn, a family representative, said he was willing to meet with Brown to discuss arrangements.
“Only one side has been deemed the rightful parents,” Troy Dunn said at the family’s news conference. “Possession is not nine-tenths of the law.”
A handful of protesters shouted “Keep Veronica home” and “You’re trying to break laws in Oklahoma” at the Capobiancos as they emerged from a hotel after meeting with reporters. Some held signs reading “Keep Veronica Home” and others that were written in the Cherokee language.
Under the Indian Child Welfare Act, the Cherokee Nation has a vested interest in the child and, if invoked at the right time, the law allows the tribe to take over the adoption proceedings. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica, rejecting earlier decisions in South Carolina that said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act favored her father.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has written to Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin seeking Brown’s extradition after he was charged with custodial interference after missing a court hearing this month. Fallin initially said she would consider the warrant next month, after Brown’s expected Oklahoma court appearance, but on Wednesday she tried to use the extradition papers as leverage in an effort to get the families talking.
A first step would appear to be setting up a meeting between the Capobiancos and Veronica.
“Mr. and Mrs. Capobianco deserve an opportunity to meet with their adopted daughter. They also deserve the chance to meet with Mr. Brown and put an end to this conflict,” Fallin said.
The Oklahoma governor urged a quick resolution and said, “If Mr. Brown is unwilling to cooperate with these reasonable expectations, then I will be forced to expedite his extradition request and let the issue be settled in court.”
Fallin did not set a deadline. The Capobiancos said they didn’t know how long they planned to stay in Oklahoma.
Dunn said he would meet with Brown anywhere, anytime to develop a plan to raise the child.
“There is but one solution which takes Veronica’s short-term and long-term needs into account: compromise,” Dunn said.
Thank you CBS News.
By Melissa Gray, CNN August 13, 2013
(CNN) – The biological father of a Native American child was arrested Monday after defying a court order to return the girl to her adoptive parents, the latest development in a four-year case that has spanned state lines and tested an unusual federal law.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco, a white couple from South Carolina, legally adopted Veronica at birth in September 2009. When Veronica’s father, Cherokee Nation member Dusten Brown, learned of her adoption a few months later, he asserted his custody rights under the Indian Child Welfare Act, setting off a lengthy legal fight.
A family court judge ruled in Brown’s favor in late 2011, and he took his daughter back. The Capobiancos have fought ever since to have Veronica returned.
The case has bounced from family court to the U.S. Supreme Court and back again. After South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled last month to allow the Capobiancos’ adoption to be finalized, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene, thus giving the ultimate go-ahead for the Charleston couple to regain custody of Veronica.
The girl’s transition back to the Capobiancos was supposed to begin last week. Brown, however, never showed up with his daughter.
A family court judge in South Carolina ordered the girl to be handed over immediately, saying she was being “unlawfully withheld from her lawful parents.” The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for Brown on Friday for interfering with custody.
Brown was arrested Monday in his home state of Oklahoma after turning himself in. He posted a $10,000 bond, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and Amanda Clinton, spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation District Court.
It wasn’t clear Monday evening, however, where Brown or his daughter were.
Melanie Capobianco told reporters that Veronica is being “illegally held against the wishes of her parents and the courts,” and she pleaded for her daughter’s return.
“With every passing hour, we fear more and more for her safety and well-being,” she said. “If anything should happen to our daughter while she’s being left in the hands of those who hold her captive from us, the responsibility will be shared by many.”
She added, “We pray that those who are holding Veronica will do the right thing and send Veronica home to us, please.”
Charleston County authorities said they are in touch with Oklahoma officials about extraditing Brown “as well as pursuing all available options in locating Baby Veronica.”
Brown told CNN’s Randi Kaye over the weekend that he is willing to go to jail for his daughter.
“I’m going to fight till I have no fight left in me and till they say you can’t fight no more,” Brown said. “This is my daughter. It’s not a yo-yo that I can just say, hey, I borrowed it for two years and here’s it back.”
Brown claims the Indian Child Welfare Act allows him to have parental custody of Veronica over the Capobiancos. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that Brown could not rely on the act for relief because he did not have legal or physical custody of Veronica at the time of the adoption proceedings, which the birth mother initiated without his knowledge.
Brown, who was not married to Veronica’s non-Indian mother when she was conceived, signed a legal document agreeing to put the girl up for adoption and relinquishing his parental rights in exchange for not paying child support.
His attorneys say Brown did not understand the extent of the waiver and that the mother never indicated she intended unilaterally to give Veronica up for adoption.
CNN’s Marlena Baldacci, Christine Theodoru, Mayra Cuevas, Joe Sutton, Randi Kaye and Bill Mears contributed to this report.
From DAILY MAIL:
This is my daughter, it isn’t a yoyo’: Baby Veronica’s biological father defiantly refuses to return her to pleading adoptive parents
- Melanie and Matt Capobianco of James Island, S.C., have been trying to adopt Veronica since her birth in 2009; they raised the girl for two years
- Brown has had custody of his daughter since 2011, but the Capobiancos recently won her back
- The adoptive parents now say the girl has been kidnapped
The father of the three-year-old Cherokee girl at the center of a tug-of-war dispute turned himself in to authorities on Monday but refused extradition to South Carolina.
That’s where Veronica’s adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco live and where state authorities have finalized Veronica’s adoption and charged Brown with ‘custodial interference’ for refusing to turn over the girl.
‘This is my daughter,’ Brown said, according to Anderson Cooper 360. ‘It isn’t a yoyo I borrowed for two years.’
Dusten Brown with his daughter Veronica on Monday
Brown posted $10,000 bond and was released at 11am Monday, according to Oklahoma’s Sequoyah County Sheriff’s Office.
Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was charged over the weekend with custodial interference after failing to appear at a court-ordered meeting in South Carolina.
He’s now refused extradition without a governor’s warrant from South Carolina.
Brown’s lawyer, Robert Nigh, said his client is caught between competing jurisdictions and is ‘making every effort to do the right thing for himself and his daughter.’ Nigh refused to say where Brown is currently. He’s due in court again in 30 days.
The James Island, South Carolina parents, meanwhile, have been trying to adopt Veronica since her birth in 2009. after which they raised the girl for two years.
But Brown has had custody of his daughter since 2011, when South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled that a 1978 federal law written to ensure Native American children stay with Native American parents gave him preference over the Capobiancos.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law does not apply in this case because the biological father never had custody of Veronica and abandoned her before birth.
Veronica is in the care of her paternal grandparents and Dusten Brown’s wife, Robin Brown.
Earlier Monday, the Capobiancos called on federal law enforcement to help them bring the child to South Carolina, saying they’ll take the matter into their own hands if necessary.
‘Send someone to the location our daughter is being held and work with us to bring her home. No more delays and no more excuses,’ Matt Capobianco said during a news conference.
‘Our daughter has been kidnapped, and I expect the situation to be treated as such.’
Brown had never met his daughter and, after Veronica’s non-Indian mother rebuffed his marriage proposal, played no role during the pregnancy and paid no child support after the girl was born.
The legal proceedings began when Brown found out Veronica was going to be adopted. He objected and said the Indian Child Welfare Act favored the girl living with him and growing up learning tribal traditions.
The Capobiancos appealed the South Carolina Supreme Court’s 2011 decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it ruled in June that South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica. The state court said the Capobiancos should raise the girl.
Last week, South Carolina Family Court Judge Daniel Martin finalized the couple’s adoption, approving a transition plan detailing a gradual process for reintroducing the girl to the Capobiancos.
South Carolina authorities issued a warrant for Brown’s arrest Saturday, charging Brown with custodial interference for failing to appear with the girl for a court-ordered meeting with the Capobiancos on August 4th — a date the couple has said was set by the judge and to which Brown’s attorneys did not object.
‘I’m always going to be her daddy’: Dusten Brown and daughter Veronica met for the first time on New Year’s Eve 2011
In the middle: Veronica has been caught in an ongoing tug of war custody battle for most of her young life
Veronica, her biological father Dusten Brown, feed their geese and ducks at his home in Oklahoma where she has lived for the past 19 months
Native American tribes across the U.S. see the case as a test of tribal sovereignty which could set a precedent for other adoptions
I’m sorry but The United States Judicial system has no jurisdiction over this tribal legal case. This is a Cherokee Nation child and therefore not subject to the court system of The United States Of AmeriKKKa.
I wonder why it is caucasian AmeriKKKans seem to have a need to adopt/steal children from other countries & nations and raise the the AmeriKKKan caucasian way?
This Cherokee Nation child belongs with her Cherokee Nation father.
Thats legally, morally and culturally right.