Indian Child Welfare Act
11:10 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Native American Adoption Case Gets New Complication

The case of a Native American child at the center of a custody dispute that went to the U.S. Supreme Court has another complication. Dusten Brown, the girl’s biological father, has now filed for adoption.

The seal of the Cherokee Nation
Credit Cherokee Nation

Brown and other relatives of three-year-old Veronica filed court papers in Oklahoma Monday to adopt the child. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month South Carolina courts should decide who gets to adopt Veronica.

South Carolina courts originally said the federal Indian Child Welfare Act favored her living with her Cherokee father. Brown took custody in 2011, moving Veronica to Oklahoma.

Matt and Melanie Capobianco of James Island, SC, who raised Veronica for the first 27 months of her life, appealed that decision. The Post and Courier newspaper of Charleston, reports their attorney saying the filing for adoption in Oklahoma will further delay South Carolina proceedings.

The Cherokee Nation has said it will support the Brown family in its pursuit of custody.

Court filings show that Brown’s parents have also asked the Cherokee Nation Court to give them the chance to adopt the child under the ICWA. The couple is already a certified placement family for the tribe.

Veronica’s mother, Christinna Maldonado, has said she still wants the Capobianco’s to raise her daughter.