Baby Veronica case to go before Supreme Court
  • LoveLove
    Posts: 14,066Administrator, Moderator
    http://www.newson6.com/story/19857920/adoptive-parents-of-baby-veronica-sit-down-with-dr-phil

    MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - The adoptive parents of a Native American girl from Oklahoma sat down with Dr. Phil Thursday to discuss their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court and the contentious adoption case.
    The girl's father, who is from Muskogee and is a member of the Cherokee Nation, used the Indian Child Welfare Act to get custody of his two-year-old biological daughter, Veronica.

    The South Carolina couple, who adopted her and raised her since birth, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, are fighting it.

    They say having her taken away has torn their family apart.

    Dr. Phil sat down with the Capobiancos, as well as the Assistant Attorney General for the Cherokee Nation and a tribal judge, who is familiar with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

    "You want to commit cultural genocide, steal a people's children and taken them away and place them in non-Indian homes. This is what was happening before this law was enacted," said tribal judge Les Marston.



    WASHINGTON - In a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, the adoptive parents of a Native American girl are hoping the high court will hear their appeal to overturn a South Carolina court decision last year which returned their daughter to her Oklahoma father.  

    The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the 2-year-old, named Veronica, should be returned to her biological father, a member of the Cherokee tribe.  It was the court's first decision weighing state adoption law against the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.

    But in a 142-page petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys for Matt and Melanie Capobianco, the South Carolina couple who adopted Veronica, say courts in a dozen states are divided on the interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

    The attorneys want the high court to clarify whether a non-custodial parent can use the act to block an adoption undertaken legally by a non-Indian parent under state law.

    A state Family Court judge awarded custody of the child to the biological father last year and she was taken to Oklahoma.

    http://www.newson6.com/story/19354292/state-supreme-court-denies-request-to-re-hear-baby-veronica-custody-case

    CHARLESTON, South Carolina - The South Carolina Supreme Court denied a request for rehearing the custody case of the adoptive parents of a three-year-old Cherokee Nation girl.
    Last month, that state's highest court ruled in favor of the Indian Child Welfare Act, affirming that the couple's adoptive daughter, Veronica, should remain with her biological father, Dusten Brown, of Bartlesville.

    The request for the rehearing was the last resort for Matt and Melanie Capobianco, of Charleston, South Carolina.

    Brown had initially signed away his parental rights to as he was deploying with the U.S. Army, but started fighting to get his daughter back days later.

    5/15/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Toddler's Future In Hands Of South Carolina Court

    Veronica was removed from the Capobianco's on New Year's Eve 2011, and the couple have had no contact with her since then.

    The South Carolina couple has 90 days to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it is unknown if they will choose to do so.

    Only one Indian Child Welfare Act has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1989, and in that case, the court ruled that "the tribal court had exclusive jurisdiction over a private adoption even though the mother left the reservation to give birth to twins" and preferred that a non-Native couple raise her children.


    (Eric came home from work telling me about this story that was on Dr. Phil today...)

    Matt and Melanie adopted Veronica after her birth mom handpicked them to be her parents. When Veronica’s biological father, Dusten, was notified about the adoption four months later, he decided he wanted to raise her, even though he had little involvement during the pregnancy and with the birth mother since Veronica’s birth. Dusten, who is part Cherokee Indian, was able to reclaim his daughter pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which was enacted “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.” Devastated, Matt and Melanie petitioned the United States Supreme Court to regain custody of Veronica. Should she be returned to them, or should she remain with her biological father? Dr. Phil, along with Troy Dunn, who has reunited thousands of lost loved ones on his hit TV show The Locator, delves into this controversial story. And, Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation, and Les Marston, attorney and tribal judge, explain why they believe Veronica’s father is the best person to raise her. Then, find out why Johnston, who adopted two boys who are part American Indian, says the ICWA is racist, unjust and hurts children.

    community-manager


  • LoveLove
    Posts: 14,066Administrator, Moderator
    http://drphil.com/shows/show/1895/

    Adoption Controversy: Battle over Baby Veronica
    October 18, 2012

    Matt and Melanie adopted newborn Veronica after her birth mom handpicked them to be her parents. Four months later, the baby's biological father, Dusten, was notified about the adoption and decided that he wanted to raise her, despite having little involvement during the pregnancy and with the birth mother since Veronica’s birth. After nearly two years in the court system, Dusten, who is part Cherokee Indian, was able to reclaim his daughter pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a law which was enacted 30 years ago “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families.” Should Veronica be returned to Matt and Melanie, or should she remain with her biological father? Dr. Phil, along with Troy Dunn, who has reunited thousands of lost loved ones on his hit TV show The Locator, delves into this controversial story. 

    The Locator

    Troy Dunn, who's responsible for reuniting thousands of lost loved ones on his hit TV show The Locator, brought Matt and Melanie's story to Dr. Phil. “I grew up in a family that has three generations of adoption,” Troy shares, adding that he has a personal connection to this case. “My little brother, Travis — whom my parents adopted when I was in high school — he is partially Native American, and when he came home from the hospital, my mom was told by some others that it’s very possible that the tribe may come for him,” he reveals. “She was so freaked out by this, she kept a suitcase packed for years, by the back door, ready to run if that happened.”

    Heart-Wrenching Nightmare

    “The Child Welfare Act is destroying families,” says Matt. “Veronica’s our daughter." He and Melanie were in the delivery room for Veronica’s birth, and Matt cut the umbilical cord. “I just can’t put it into words how incredible it felt to have a little girl.”

    Melanie says that Veronica’s birth mother selected her and Matt to raise Veronica. “We learned that she and the birth father had broken up, and we were told he wanted to sign his parental rights away and was not interested in parenting,” Melanie explains. “When we found out that Veronica’s birth father was filing for custody, we were shocked. At one point, we got some amended paperwork that said he was Cherokee and a letter from the Cherokee Nation saying she was Cherokee. By that time, she was 6 months old. The Cherokee Nation came to court to represent the birth father.” 

    “They never wanted to speak to us. They just wanted to take Veronica,” Matt adds. “I was very angry and upset. What do you do when somebody takes your child from you? You’re going to fight and do whatever you have to do to protect your child.”

    Matt and Melanie were forced to hand over 2-year-old Veronica to her biological father, with 24-hours' notice. Devastated, Matt and Melanie say they’ll never stop fighting for Veronica. Recently, the Supreme Court of South Carolina rejected their request to re-hear their case, so now they plan to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Fighting on Behalf of the Cherokee Nation

    Chrissi Nimmo, assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation, explains why the Cherokee tribe got involved in Veronica's case. “The law gives the tribe a right to intervene and be a party in the case, in addition to the parents, because one of the concepts of the law is that the tribe has an interest in protecting its children,” she says. She points out that Veronica’s mother and father were engaged to be married but the mother broke off the engagement and cut off contact. “[The father] had no idea that this child had been placed for adoption, until he was served with papers when she was 4 months old. He immediately intervened and began fighting for custody of her.” 

    Chrissi explains how ICWA works. And, Troy questions if the law supersedes a mother’s rights.

    "I Think it's a Racist Law"

    In 2000, Johnston and his wife pursued adoption through the foster care system and learned that 4-year-old Anthony and 5-year-old Chris needed a home. “When the boys were found, they were up in an abandoned apartment. There was no running water. There was no electricity. The mother, supposedly, we were told, left to go get breakfast, and then she didn’t come back,” Johnston recalls. 

    Chris, now 17, remembers that he and Anthony were homeless for a period of time. Anthony, 16, adds that they used gallon paint buckets as toilets. 

    “About four months into their placement in our home, we were told by a social worker that a relative was seeking custody, and she had reported that the boys were part Native American. Their mother was 1/8 Native American, so that made them 1/16 Native American,” Johnston explains. “We had been told that we were the greatest foster parents in the world for these kids, until it was discovered they were 6 percent Native American. Their needs didn’t change overnight. Their love for us, their attachment to us — none of that changed overnight. The only thing that changed overnight was the knowledge that they had 6 percent Indian blood in them, and to me, that did not constitute a valid reason for saying that we are no longer fit to raise them. I think it’s an unjust law. I think it’s a racist law, because we were white, and the kids were considered Indian ... If the tribe cared so much about my children, they would have prevented them from being homeless in the first place. They would have rescued them from off the streets. They wouldn’t have allowed them to be sleeping in somebody’s backyard or left with strangers in an abandoned apartment. But they only became involved in their lives once they were in a home and thriving." 

    Johnston joins Dr. Phil onstage, and Chris and Anthony sit in the audience. Attorney and Tribal Judge, Les Marston, who has spent 35 years representing Indian tribes and practicing Indian federal law also joins Dr. Phil onstage. 
    Johnston and Les get in a heated confrontation as they discuss the use of ICWA. Dr. Phil breaks up the arguing. “What I hear you saying is, ‘It’s what’s best for the tribe and not what’s best for the child.’”
     
    Attorney and child rights advocate Areva Martin, and chairperson and attorney for the American Academy of Adoption Jay McCarthy weigh in on the situation. “It’s just a really troubling case.”

    Dr. Phil's Final Thoughts

    “I certainly think the mature thing to do would be to have you guys have visitation and time with her.”

    Adoption Update

    In 2005, Bonnie and Shannon appeared on the show, while engaged in a custody battle for their adopted son, also involving the Indian Child Welfare Act. They report that in 2006, they were granted the adoption of their son, and the boy is now 11 years old. 

    community-manager


  • SassySassy
    Posts: 4,488Member
    This boils my blood! They didn't steal her! Her mother gave her to parents she figured would raise her well! He ripped her away from the only family she ever knew! That isn't fair to the baby!
  • undercoverbanana
    Posts: 12,609Member
    that's ridiculous. there's supposed to be a child advocate in custody cases. where is that baby's advocate????
    i'm nekkid.
  • MorganD
    Posts: 3,436Member
    Okay, I have nothing against anyone of a different race, but the Cherokee nation used their race to take that little girl from her parents. It's like they'll doing anything to buck the system, and why? We're all Americans. Sure, they were here first, but that's in the past and you'd think we'd have learned to live with each other by now. This is disgusting and it makes me very angry!!
  • Katescrazymom
    Posts: 2,839Member
    Those poor parents (the adoptive ones) and that poor baby. I can see the bio father getting some sort of visitation, but a good dad wouldn't rip her away from the only family she knew.
  • Marionettevie
    Posts: 2,729Member
    .... if what is being implied is true that the birth mother broke off the engagement, and didnt tell him about his daughter until the girl was 4months old i think he has EVERY right to take that child. she is his after all. the way things have been handled seem to me to be a little off....

    if he gave up his rights and then reneged then he shouldnt be able to take her from her adoptive parents.
  • He knew the girl had been born. He wanted nothing to do with the child until he saw adoption papers when she was 4 months old. THEN he pursued it. Where was he during those 4 months? He didn't want her then, and then she is ripped away from the only parents she knew. Obviously NOT in the best interest of the poor child.
    Get me a damn beer.
  • BassmomBassmom
    Posts: 474Member

    .... if what is being implied is true that the birth mother broke off the engagement, and didnt tell him about his daughter until the girl was 4months old i think he has EVERY right to take that child. she is his after all. the way things have been handled seem to me to be a little off....

    if he gave up his rights and then reneged then he shouldnt be able to take her from her adoptive parents.


    I agree completely. He obviously was not consulted with prior to finalizing the adoption. Four months later he finds out and rightfully so, wants his daughter back! I do feel bad for the adoptive parents here but this adoption was not done correctly. Had he actually signed over his rights, i dont think that some tribal act would be enough to overturn an adoption. And shes only 2 when this happened, she wont remember this. I think this was a botched adoption and the adoptive parents should blame them, not the courts or this act.
  • loveitloveit
    Posts: 1,738Member
    What a dick! That is infuriating!
  • BassmomBassmom
    Posts: 474Member
    I meant to say the adoptive parents should blame the adoption agency.
  • meandmy243meandmy243
    Posts: 9,474Member
    When I was working for cps one of my jobs was filing out these icwa papers and sending it off to the tribes. Parents would claim native rights to 4-8 tribes and I would have to make the packets ... only about 20% of the time the tribes would claim a child. And only one infant was claimed and picked up.
    let them eat cake! because id rather have pie!!!
  • beachmommybeachmommy
    Posts: 3,760Member
    I am on the side of the father. She is his daughter and if he is fighting this hard for her- whether it not he was involved in the pregnancy- the courts need to hear his side and allow him to have his parental rights executed.

    I feel bad for the adoptive parents - I do. But it just isn't right to say "sorry - your child has been given away and since the system didn't work fast enough to pull her from the adoptive parents home prior to her turning 2, you are out of luck".

    My nephew was placed in foster care after his mother lost custody due to drugs. My brother was unavailable. So the little boy was put in foster care when he was 10 months old. When we, the family, fought for him, I kept hearing from CPS " but he has been in the foster home for 6 months already- the foster parents is all he knows- don't you think it would be best for him to stay there?"

    No. Bull shit. He belongs with his family full of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents that love him and ache for him every day. He was returned to us 2 weeks after his 2nd birthday. He is turning 3 next month and he never asks about his foster parents. Or his mom, for that matter.
    My beach is still Sandy....
  • SalllyWingo
    Posts: 1,557Member
    This story terrifies me.
  • momofeveryonemomofeveryone
    Posts: 1,917Member

    soooo mom gets no say? why dont they track down this mom and have her testify.

    i want a nap. and some chocolate. who's with me?!
  • beambeam
    Posts: 1,579Member
    I'm with the bio-dad on this one. I am with the bio-parents at any time and for any country (Cuba if you any of you remember) as long as the said parents are not hard-core drug-abusing pedophiles or the likes.

    When adopting always do the maximum to get the consent of both the mother and the father.

    As for surrogate mothers, in which the egg is not hers, they should have no rights to the child but again the surrogate is not technically the biological mother.

    If you donate eggs, well then you have donated them and released all rights, if you have placed a child up for adoption you have released your rights, and in this case IF the fathered had signed then he would have no rights but the fact remains, he did not.... and I feel for the adoptive parents but somehow think they should have spoken to the father and/or the nation or should have known (told) about this law... It is not as if the father was unknown or "disappeared"... the couple had been engaged.  


    Edit - oh I am now watching the video and the attorney is saying my thoughts exactly.
    A broken heart is a rite of passage and, looking back, I must have wanted one pretty badly. "Kick me," I demanded, and when somebody finally did, I burst like a cheap piñata. - DAVID SEDARIS
  • soooo mom gets no say? why dont they track down this mom and have her testify.


    @momofeveryone, she sent a statement to the Dr. Phil show that states she believes her baby would have the best life possible with the adoptive parents. She is totally on their side.

    Get me a damn beer.
  • Buggy_Boo
    Posts: 209Member
    If the biological mother has surrendered her rights then she (legally) has no role in the case and the courts won't consult her. 

    I feel badly for everyone involved in this case - especially the little girl.  I hope that they can all come to some sort of agreement that allows her to have contact/relationships with both her bio family and adoptive family.
  • undercoverbanana
    Posts: 12,609Member
    Having been a foster kid myself, I wish that the people who loved kids unreservedly got some legal 'cred. The people on the front lines that love and care for those kids who have nobody else to speak for them, and love them like they were there own while bio parents get their shit together deserve their own advocate. My foster parents weren't awesome, but they were better than my house. Mega kudos to all adoptive and foster parents. Period, the end.
    i'm nekkid.
  • BreakOutQueenBreakOutQueen
    Posts: 457Member
    Wow, this is a tough one. I see both sides. BUT, there are inconsistencies on the part of the bio parents. Seems like something doesn't jive about who knew what, the timing..

    The side that should be seen though, is the little girl's side. She has been with her adoptive parents all her life. It's her HOME. Now because the no-parents couldn't make good decisions, didn't plan/ agree, no agency confirmed the father's intent before hand, this baby is going ti be traumatized. That's the bottom line. HER well-being.
    Being 6% any race doesn't change what is best for a child! My oldest boys are 1/8 or 1/16 (cant remember) Cherokee. So does that mean the FUCKTARD of a bio father they have can use this law to rip them away from their family? Even though he hasn't seen them in 6 years, by choice? Sounds like he could play that card and twist around our divorce and custody and anything that went down in our situation, and their lives could be turned upside down. Scares the hell out of me!
    I do understand in this case, IF the bio dad was completely misled, he should have his daughter. He knew that she was going to be born at some point, and if the mother had the baby and told him nothing..he should have filed a police report. Did he? Like hey, my ex or fiance or girlfriend should have had our baby by now, I can't find her and I don't know where the baby might be. That would make it seem more plausible to me, that he intended to have and raise the child. Not four months later.
  • BlessieBlessie
    Posts: 2,108Member
    Somewhere is said the father had signed off his rights before he joined the military. What he didn't know was the mother decided to give up the baby. Not a bit of his buisness since he gave up his rights. Four months later? He could have asked to be be involved in her life, but he didn't look at what was best for the baby. I am with the adoptive parents. I would be interested to know who actually takes care of Veronica on a regular basis.
  • Marionettevie
    Posts: 2,729Member
    it said the mom said he signed his rights away. SHE said that, SHE broke off the engagement.but it doesnt say whether there was actual paperwork stating he wanted nothing to do with his child. and he got paperwork about the whole adoption while deployed.... there is only so much they can do while over seas, if he knew she was pregnant. i am still with the father if what is being assumed by those articles is true. i will say it again. the way things have been handled in this case is way off..
  • KatieRN
    Posts: 54Member

    Im also on the side of the father.  He has every right to claim his child.  I used to work for Child Protection and any time a child came into custody we HAD to ask if there was any Indian blood in the family and if there were, we HAD to notify the tribes so that they could conduct their own investigation and could take the child.

    It does suck that they had the child for 2 years and she is being reclaimed, but the dad still has rights.  There's a reason this law exists..It's because Indian children WERE being STOLEN and adopted out.