The attorney for a Charleston couple trying to adopt a 3-year-old girl of Cherokee heritage told reporters Wednesday that a Charleston County Family Court judge has finalized their adoption case.
James Fletcher Thompson, who represents Matt and Melanie Capobianco said the adoption was now complete and a plan was in place to transfer the child from the custody of her father Dusten Brown.
The hearing was closed to the public.
AUDIO: Thompson says its over (:18)
The Capobiancos have been trying to adopt 3-year-old Veronica since her birth. They raised the girl for two years, but Veronica moved to Oklahoma in 2011 after a South Carolina court ruled that the federal Indian Child Welfare Act favored her being raised by Brown, a member of the Cherokee nation.
But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that law did not apply to this particular case. Once that decision came down, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered the adoption be finalized. That ruling effectively eliminated Brown’s parental rights, as attorneys representing the Capobiancos successfully argued Brown had given up those rights before the Veronica was given up for adoption by her birth mother.
But the fight may not be over. Several Indian nations have filed civil rights lawsuits trying to stop the adoption. The Post and Courier reports that the birth father will not comply with the court order.
“The reckless order to rush Veronica’s adoption will negatively impact Native children and family preservation efforts nationwide,” said a statement from Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes (which includes the Cherokee Nation). “Most importantly, though, it will take a happy and well-adjusted child from the only family she knows: her father, sister, stepmother, extended family, tribe, community and culture.”