Law | National

Cover Story: Non-Indian couple not giving up on ICWA dispute

"Matt and Melanie Capobianco spent their adopted daughter Veronica's third birthday 1,200 miles away from her. They wrote their wishes for her on purple balloons and released them into the sky. The day before, the local newspaper ran a story quoting the lawyer for Veronica's biological father, who said the girl no longer recognized the Capobiancos in photos. The couple says they find that hard to believe.

But so much of the past 10 months seems barely imaginable. The Capobiancos are private people, but the story of how they lost custody of their adopted daughter to her biological father has run in publications around the country and on national television, including CNN and Fox News. Their story will air on Dr. Phil's show later this fall. Melanie's cousin, a Merchant Mariner, even saw them on military television on his way to Singapore.

"We keep telling ourselves, it's not about us, it's about Veronica," Matt says.

Veronica's biological family worries that the media exposure puts the girl at risk, emotionally and physically. However, Melanie, a developmental psychologist, worries how the move away from the only parents she has ever known will affect their adopted daughter. Veronica spent her entire life in a home on James Island, a five-minute drive from Folly Beach. Then, one night, she made the long drive to Oklahoma with a father she had never met."

Get the Story:
Broken Home (The Charleston City Paper 9/26)

South Carolina Supreme Court Decision:
Adoptive Couple v. Cherokee Nation (July 26, 2012)

Related Stories:
Column: Lawyer switches sides for Indian Child Welfare Act case (09/05)
Court won't rehear ICWA case involving Cherokee Nation father (8/30)
Opinion: ICWA punishes child returned to her Cherokee father (8/28)
Opinion: Media slanted against ICWA in South Carolina case (8/23)
Couple wants rehearing in ICWA case of Cherokee Nation girl (8/14)
Court supports return of child to Cherokee father under ICWA (7/26)
Terry Cross: Compliance with Indian Child Welfare Act needed (7/25)
New group lobbies Congress to change Indian Child Welfare Act (7/11)
Couple in ICWA case says Cherokee child is more 'Latino' (04/19)
South Carolina court hears ICWA case for Cherokee child (4/17)
Former Sen. Abourezk clarifies comment about ICWA case (01/24)
South Carolina Supreme Court pushed to take up ICWA case (01/18)
Cherokee Nation seeks gag order in ICWA dispute making news (1/5)
Cherokee Nation man wins custody of daughter in ICWA case (1/3)

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