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Custody Fight Over Cherokee Girl Not Done, Despite Supreme Court Ruling

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Veronica stays with her dad in Oklahoma, for now. Dusten Brown said he's disappointed with the ruling and knows the fight is not over. Veronica stays with her dad in Oklahoma, for now. Dusten Brown said he's disappointed with the ruling and knows the fight is not over.
The adoptive parents are figuring out what new paperwork to file and hope to fast track the adoption through the state Supreme Court. The adoptive parents are figuring out what new paperwork to file and hope to fast track the adoption through the state Supreme Court.
Melanie and Matt adopted Veronica from the biological mother the day she was born. Melanie and Matt adopted Veronica from the biological mother the day she was born.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The future of a little Cherokee girl is uncertain, for the moment. Her adoptive parents and her biological father have been fighting over custody of her and Tuesday, the nation's highest court issued a ruling.

While the adoptive family calls it a win, the 3-year-old girl remains with her biological father.

This was a close decision. It came down to a 5-4 ruling. Basically, the justices said they respect the Indian Child Welfare Act, but that federal law does not apply to this case.

Veronica has two loving sets of parents: Dusten Brown and his wife in Oklahoma and the Capobiancos of South Carolina. The question is, which couple gets to take her home for good?

"We miss her a lot, a ton, as any parent would miss their child. So, it's been very hard," said Melanie Capobianco.

6/25/2013 Related Story: Supreme Court Sides With Adoptive Parents In Oklahoma's 'Baby Veronica' Case

Melanie and Matt took custody of Veronica from the biological mother the day she was born.

The biological parents had broken up, but after having the child for 27 months, Brown regained custody through a federal law. The South Carolina Supreme Court cited the Indian Child Welfare Act, then the US Supreme Court overturned that decision.

"We're really excited about that, and we're looking forward to seeing her again soon when we have the opportunity to do so," Melanie said.

But the court did not order a change in custody. It sent the case back to South Carolina for more proceedings and said Brown needs to pick another argument.

The court says the law was meant to help Indian parents keep custody of their children, but Brown never had custody, so the law doesn't apply. The justices also said Brown abandoned his unborn child and didn't support the mother.

"[It] goes back to an old fashion custody battle," said Cherokee Chief Bill John Baker.

Baker said the law is vital to the survival of Indians, and the tribe is deeply disappointed the case was not fully resolved.

"Everything this family has gone through the past few years just to keep his biological child, his baby girl, is more overwhelming than any of us can imagine," he said.

Read the Supreme Court opinion

The Cherokee Nation's lead attorney still questions whether the adoption was lawfully initiated in the first place.

She said text messages between biological parents aren't consent and the adoption papers shouldn't count, because Brown didn't realize what he was signing. She also questions why Veronica's blood quantum was listed in the ruling, because the tribe doesn't measure blood--you're Cherokee or you aren't.

Veronica stays with her dad in Oklahoma, for now.

Dusten Brown said he's disappointed with the ruling and knows the fight is not over.

The adoptive parents are figuring out what new paperwork to file and hope to fast track the adoption through the state Supreme Court.

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