As they vowed to do, Matt and Melanie Capobianco traveled to Oklahoma to fight for their adopted three-year-old in person. Gov. Mary Fallon will not extradite the birth father, Cherokee Native Dusten Brown, until he gets a Sept. 12 hearing in his home county.
Brown has not complied with South Carolina court orders, which followed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the adoption should proceed.
Read more about the events leading to today.
Speaking from Tulsa, Melanie Capobianco says they are working in Oklahoma with the three-year-old’s birth mother, who chose them for the adoption. She said Christie Maldonado had been threatened and “her reputation smeared.”
“As soon as we arrived, we requested a visit with our daughter. As a mother, my heart broke when our request was denied, even told a visit with her daughter is not in her best interest,” Capobianco said in a press conference streamed online.
“We are certainly not looking to do anything to upset anyone, certainly not public officials or law enforcement. We don’t want to scare our daughter in some kind of confrontation,”added Matt Capobianco.
The couple has accepted the volunteer help of an adoption facilitator from Oklahoma, Troy Dunn, who offered to speak alone with Brown.
“If we are truly wanting to do what is best for Veronica, then let’s start talking about that and stop all of this endless battling over ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act), tribal authority and so forth,” Dunn told reporters.
Dunn offered to negotiate alone with Dusten Brown.
“To discuss the several paths forward which I believe will bring this whole matter to a successful conclusion. No lawyers from either side, no tribal representation, no friends, no neighbors, just you and Dusten, no strings attached.”
Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker issued a response statement:
“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. We respectfully ask the Capobiancos to allow that due process. 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.”