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Matt and Melanie Capobianco, adoptive parents of 'Baby Veronica', speak out on custody battle
10:56 AM, Aug 9, 2013
2:29 PM, Aug 9, 2013
CHARLESTON, S.C. - The adoptive parents of "Baby Veronica" say they're hopeful the return of their daughter goes smoothly and doesn't traumatize the toddler.
Matt and Melanie Capobianco appeared on the "Today" show Friday morning to discuss the now years-long fight for Veronica.
The couple expected to have Veronica back in their custody by now after the South Carolina Supreme Court finalized the adoption and put in place a transfer plan for the girl, who has spent a year and a half with her biological father, Dusten Brown, living in Oklahoma.
The custody fight began after Brown signed over his parental rights to Veronica's biological mother, who then placed Veronica with the Capobiancos. Brown says he didn't know Veronica's biological mother was putting their child up for adoption.
At the center of the case was the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law that gives tribes and relatives a say in decisions affecting children with Native American heritage.
Brown is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
Citing the law, a South Carolina court ordered the Capobiancos to turn Veronica over to Brown; however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled ICWA does not apply to this case because Brown was a non-custodial parent.
The ruling made way for the lower court to finalize the adoption.
Baby Veronica turns 4 in September and the Capobiancos say they haven't seen her in 19 months, though they raised her from birth until they were ordered to hand Veronica over to Brown.
They say they want to make sure Veronica has an easy transition when she returns.
"We want it to go smooth, avoid any trauma," they said during their "Today" show appearance. "They gave us an hour and a half. We're given five days. That was the plan. We never got to see her, talk to her. She didn't know what happened to us. We don't plan to do that with her."