Tonight on AC360: Baby Veronica's story
Photo credit: Capobianco Family Photos
February 21st, 2012
07:10 PM ET

Tonight on AC360: Baby Veronica's story

The adoptive parents of two-year-old Veronica are appealing a judge's decision that forced them to give their daughter to her biological father. The father initially agreed to the adoption, but changed his mind months later. Under South Carolina law, Matt and Melanie Capobianco whould have remained the child's legal parents, but a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act changed that. Watch AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET for Randi Kaye's full report on the custody battle.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Lauryl Sulfate

    From reading other articles about this, it seems that the natural father was not even informed of the pregnancy/birth until 4 months after she was born. I do not know what the "right" thing to do here is, but I think that it's not really fair to villify someone for wanting to keep and raise their own child. (Which is what the dominant narrative here seems to be.) What would you do if it was your child? Of course, from the outside, it is very easy to say that the baby should stay with her adoptive family, but if you were that dad, would you be able to let go? Parental emotions run so strong...that is evident on both sides of this case.

    If anything, the lesson that can be drawn from cases such as this is that adoption is not the panacea for unplanned pregnancies that many conservative talking heads would like it to be.

    February 23, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  2. kara

    This is much more complicated than that. He signed over his rights and then two weeks later changed his mind. It has been in the courts since then. It is our system that has caused this child additional grief. This should have been decided when she was 4 months old and she would have been a normal toddler enjoying the only family she remembered no matter which one it was. As much as they wanted the child it seems to me that as long as her father was not a danger to her they should have let go and moved on.

    February 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  3. Sue

    Thank you for telling Veronica Rose's story. Please make sure that people understand that the best interests of the child should always be first. Help bring her back to the only parents and home she has ever known. Thank you.

    February 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  4. Sue Ellis

    I was addopted....Leave her where she is !!

    February 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  5. Stacie Hoover

    Thank you for reporting on this sad story! I can't believe the ICWA was misused so horribly in this case (as well as many others). This innocent little girl has rights and she should not have to pay the price because her biological father "changed his mind"! I hope more people become aware of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and speak up demanding change! It's a racist, outdated law that needs to be changed so it helps children instead of hurting them. I pray this little girl gets to go home to her adoptive parents very soon.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • erin7

      The ICWA was not misused. The PAPs were aware of it, they didn't do the correct research to find out that the child was Indian.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  6. Jennifer

    Ripping a child away from the the only parents she has ever known is NOT in the best interest of the child. My heart goes out to the adoptive parents and I am praying that they get their precious daughter back.

    February 22, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • erin7

      So if you fight for your child with the law on your side, but the courts take 2 years to rule, you should give up your child? If the court took 6 months, should you give up your child? The biological parents can't control the court schedule, and I don't know of any parents who would walk away from their child because the family court could take days or years to rule.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  7. James Bordonaro

    Ms. Areva Martin may not have correctly stated the law in Kansas concerning interpretation of the Indian Child Welfare Act. I believe she was not aware that our state supreme court overturned the decision she was relying on in a case called A.J.S. (In Kansas appellate opinions the children are identified only by their initials).

    February 22, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  8. Rai

    This is why people are adopting from places like China, Honduras, and Africa. Adoption is enough of an emotional rollercoaster as it is, without having to wonder if a few months or even a few years down the road, some mamby-pamby judge is going to take your child from you. And unless she or he is being abused in some manner, how can it be in the best interest of the child to wrench them away from the only home they know? It's too much about what the adults want.

    February 22, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  9. julie bateson

    Unbelievable, not only has the biological father traumatized that small child, he's caused extreme emotional pain to her parents and the rest of the little girls family who have known her and loved her for two years what are the law makers of the USA thinking?

    February 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • erin7

      The lawmakers were clear. The family court caused the delay. The lawmakers said this is a requirement of all adoptions in this country. Thousands of adoptions have gone through since that law was passed without a problem. The pre-adoptive parents were aware of the requirement and did not meet the requirement. They did not do what they were supposed to do under adoption laws, then asked the family court to ignore the law. The family court said no, but the big problem was that it took the court 2 years to rule.

      February 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  10. Frank

    From the report the father changed his mind when the child was 4 months old. Children don't bond until 6 13 months old. From being a foster parent and an adoptive parent, there is a lot of information about that. But this couple wanted to keep this child away from the father for an extra two years. It seems more to their doing that this tragety had to occur.
    The father had NOT separated from the child, nor were parental rights terminated. The child should have been placed in the father's care at 4 months. This is one time that the child will win in the long run. This child will be with a loving parent, grandparents, and community. At 2 this child will get over it. That has been proven with past cases of this type.

    February 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • deb

      I am sorry Frank, but you need to do further research. IF you look into the current research on bonding, development at this age, trauma, and memory, you will find it very unlikely that Veronica will ever "get over" this event. There is so much clear and convincing eveidence as to the effects of caregiver disruption on all aspects of the developing child's mind. And none of it is positive. It is very frightening. Children cannot be moved around like luggage, and while they may appear to be "adjusting" the long term consequences are tragic.

      February 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
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