Yesterday, South Carolina’s Supreme Court issued their ruling regarding the Baby Veronica case. In a 3-2 vote, they voted to send the case back down to family court with instructions to finalize Baby Veronica’s adoption with her adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco. Baby Veronica will be four on September 15th.
Although Veronica’s Native American birth father Dusten Brown and his parents had each filed adoption petitions, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of the non-Indian Capobiancos, saying “There is absolutely no need to compound any suffering that Baby Girl may experience through continued litigation. As it stands, Adoptive Couple is the only party who has a petition pending for the adoption of Baby Girl, and thus, theirs is the only application that should be considered at this stage.”
Veronica’s birth mother Christina Maldonado had indicated that she would nullify her adoption consent if the Capobiancos did not receive the final adoption placement. Maldonado and the couple had shared an open adoption relationship for the first 27 months of Veronica’s life before she went to live with Brown 18 months ago. Any parties that want the court to rehear the case have five days to make that request.
The Washington Post quoted the justices in saying:
“The majority orders the immediate transfer of the child, no longer an infant or toddler, upon the filing of the family court’s adoption order, without regard to whether such an abrupt transfer would be in the child’s best interest,” the two justices wrote. “This is a situation where the decisions that are in the best interests of this child, given all that has happened in her short life, must be sorted out in the lower court(s).”
We certainly hope that the best interests of Veronica are considered during the hopefully delicate transition from Oklahoma with Brown to South Carolina with the Capobiancos. We also hope that an official open adoption agreement can be agreed upon for the adoptive couple and each of Veronica’s birth parents.
To read further on the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling, visit the following articles:
- Baby Veronica adoption allowed (SCOTUS Blog)
- SC Supreme Court awards custody of child in American Indian adoption dispute to state couple (Washington Post)
- South Carolina court orders Baby Veronica returned to adoptive parents (Washington Post)
On Tuesday, American Adoptions hosted ICWA expert and adoption attorney Jay McCarthy to educate our staff. We deeply appreciate his expertise on this topic.
To read more about ICWA and how American Adoptions handles ICWA adoption cases, visit our website to read The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Adoption.