Couple planning "open adoption" for Veronica, spokeswoman says
Veronica with Matt and Melanie Capobianco. (Source: Provided)
Veronica with Melanie Capobianco in Oklahoma. (Source: Provided)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Hours after the Capobiancos said they sympathized with the Brown family's plight, their friend and family spokeswoman told Anderson Cooper the James Island couple will persist with an open adoption for their 4-year-old adopted girl, Veronica.
When the CNN correspondent asked Jessica Munday if Dusten Brown would be seeing his biological daughter again, the Capobianco representative called the arrangement an open adoption and said Matt and Melanie would keep it that way. Munday said the Capobiancos did not want to alienate Veronica by denying them time with her birthfather.
Brown turned his daughter over to the Capobiancos around 7:30 p.m. Monday, several hours after the Oklahoma Supreme Court voted 6-3 to lift a stay on an order which was keeping Veronica under his care.
The Capobiancos released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying they sympathize with the Brown family, and are "overjoyed to bring Veronica home." Munday reaffirmed that sentiment during her Tuesday night interview on CNN.
"We are grateful that the visits we've enjoyed with our daughter allowed us to reconnect as a family and ease her transition home," the Capobiancos said in a statement.
Munday told CNN that Veronica recognized Matt and Melanie and there was no doubt she remembered them. The couple said they are shifting their focus to getting their life back to normal, and asked for privacy during the process.
Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree said Veronica was peacefully and voluntarily transferred to her adoptive parents after Brown cooperated with the order. Hembree said Brown packed two bags for her and said goodbye as Veronica was taken from their home by a Cherokee Nation attorney and transported to a nearby location where the Capobiancos were waiting.
Hembree said the nation was "deeply, deeply saddened by the events of today, but we will not lose hope. Veronica Brown will always be a Cherokee citizen, and although she may have left the Cherokee Nation, she will never leave our hearts."
"We hope the Capobiancos honor their word that Dusten will be allowed to remain an important part of Veronica's life. We also look forward to her visiting the Cherokee Nation for many years to come, for she is always welcome. Veronica is a very special child who touched the hearts of many, and she will be sorely missed."
The Capobiancos are on their way back to the Lowcountry, but Sheriff Al Cannon said he did not expect the Capobiancos to arrive home Tuesday. The family is being escorted by three law enforcement officials: two Charleston County sheriff's deputies and one SLED agent. Cannon also said it was unlikely that law enforcement would remain with the Capobiancos for the entire duration of their journey.
The decision of Oklahoma's high court to lift the emergency stay followed several days of mediation hearings between the two sides, but no agreement was reached during those negotiations.
The Capobiancos expressed relief at the court's decision. A statement from their spokeswoman, Jessica Munday, reads:
With today's decision of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Capobianco family's long legal nightmare has finally come to an end. Matt and Melanie cannot wait to bring Veronica home and begin the healing process as a reunited family.
Governor Nikki Haley also expressed her relief at the ruling:
After years of legal struggles and uncertainty, Governor Haley is extremely happy and thankful to know that baby Veronica has finally been returned to her parents and will be coming back to her home in South Carolina. The governor and the first gentleman wish Matt, Melanie, and Veronica many years of love, happiness, and memories.
Brown belongs to the Cherokee Nation. He won custody under the Indian Child Welfare Act when Veronica was two and living with the Capobiancos.
The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that law didn't apply, and the Capobiancos were finalized as her adoptive parents this summer, but Brown continued to fight the ruling, until Monday.
Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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