Legal Battle Between Adoptive ...

Legal Battle Between Adoptive Parents and Father of Girl Illustrates Complexity of Adoption

Adoption can be a contentious area involving different courts across the country, as was recently illustrated by a long running case in which a South Carolina couple's legal fight to adopt a young girl went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Recently the Associated Press (AP) reported on how the couple had finalized their adoption of a girl of Cherokee heritage from her biological father, following a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Matt and Melanie Capobianco had been seeking to adopt 4-year-old Veronica since her birth. Associated Press reported on how they raised the girl for two years. Veronica moved to Oklahoma in 2011 following a ruling by a South Carolina court that stated federal law favored her being raised by her father Dusten Brown, a member of the Cherokee nation.

AP reported the legal battle may still not be over. Several American Indian groups have filed federal lawsuits.

The Daily Mail reported the Capobiancos arranged a private adoption of Veronica with her birth mother, who is Hispanic, before the child's birth in September 2009.

Brown was not married to Veronica's biological mother. He signed away his parental rights but later said he did not know about the planned adoption, the Daily Mail stated.


Brown had fought the adoption under the Indian Child Welfare Act, which aims to prevent the breakup of Indian families, and was granted custody of Veronica by a South Carolina court in 2011.

In June, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the act did not apply "in part because Brown had not provided support to the birth mother or the child," reported the Daily Mail. The South Carolina courts finalized the adoption of Veronica who is now 4, in July, and Oklahoma courts ordered the transfer of Veronica back to her adoptive parents.


Although few adoption cases are as high profile as this one, adoption is a potentially complex and emotive process, by its nature.

Depending on your preferences and the wishes of the birth mother, you can either make an open or closed adoption. Some families like to keep the entire process as private and anonymous as possible, exchanging no information or only written statements, while others like to get to know the birth mother. In some cases biological parents will even allow the adoptive parents to be present in the hospital. It is also possible to allow the biological mother to have visitation and contact after the child is born.

See our Columbia, SC adoption attorney's advice on open and closed adoptions. When you are planning to adopt, it's highly advisable to retain legal representation to help you avoid unnecessary complications and to allow you to make informed decisions throughout the entire process. You can find the help you need for a private adoption by talking to the attorneys at Masella Law Firm, P.A. Call us at 803.748.9990.

Categories: Divorce

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