Father Of 'Baby Veronica' Talks About Supreme Court Decision

Tuesday, July 2nd 2013, 9:05 pm

By: Craig Day

The dad of the little girl at the heart of a controversial adoption case, stretching from Oklahoma to South Carolina, is talking publicly for the first time.

Three-year-old Veronica Brown was raised, for the first two years of her life, by a South Carolina couple, who intended to adopt her.

But Veronica's biological dad, here in Oklahoma, won custody.

Now, the Supreme Court has weighed in, leaving the case in limbo, with Veronica caught in the middle.

"Feels like my heart is getting ripped out again," said Dusten Brown.

At 3-years-old, and more interested in driving her motorized car around her yard in Nowata, Veronica Brown doesn't have any understanding about the road her life could take.

It weighs heavily on her dad, Dusten Brown.

"My biggest fear is they'll take her away from me again," Brown said.

6/25/2013 Related Story: Supreme Court Rules Indian Child Welfare Act Does Not Apply In Adoption Case

Veronica lived her first two years with a South Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who intended to adopt her.

Brown successfully gained custody of Veronica in a South Carolina courtroom, using the Indian Child Welfare Act, which basically is intended to keep Native American Children with Indian families. Brown is Cherokee.

"The child belongs with me, that's my daughter. I love her. She belongs with me," Brown said.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law doesn't apply in this case and sent it back to South Carolina for further discussion, which is disappointing to Brown.

"I figured that this would be the last time that they would be ruling or anything, and it would be in my favor, and let me be the father I'm supposed to be with my child," Brown said.

The justices said Brown didn't provide financial support for Veronica's birth mother during or after pregnancy. But, Brown said that's not the whole story.

"For her to just basically ignore the phone calls and ignore me coming up to the door--I tried to support her, but she didn't want it. How can I support someone that is refusing it?" Brown said.

The high court also said Brown relinquished his parental rights.

But Brown said he thought he was signing full custody for Veronica's biological mother, since he was days away from deploying to Iraq, not giving up his parental rights. Brown said he then faced the struggle of straightening out the issue, while overseas.

The South Carolina Supreme Court is now moving the case to the top of its priority list and is expected to address the case Friday.

"I can pray and hope the judges rule that this is where she belongs," Brown said.

The likely option, now, is that the case will be sent back to South Carolina's family court for discussion. If that happens, information about proceedings in the case will likely be sealed, which is standard in adoption cases.


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