The long fight for 3-year-old Veronica Capobianco may finally be over.
The bitter custody battle that began just after the little girl’s birth came to an abrupt and surprising conclusion Wednesday when the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered that the adoption initiated nearly two years ago by Matt and Melanie Capobianco be finalized. The South Carolina court sent the case back to family court to finalize the adoption placement, terminate the birth father’s parental rights and transfer custody of Veronica to the Capobiancos.
In a statement released by the Capobiancos, the couple expressed their excitement saying, “We are thrilled that after 18 long months, our daughter finally will be coming home. We look forward to seeing Veronica’s smiling face in the coming days and will do everything in our power to make her homecoming as smooth as possible. We also want to thank everyone who has supported us throughout this ordeal. Our prayers have been answered.”
See how it all began: Supreme Court rules on little girl’s fate
The fight for Veronica made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court ruled on July 25 that a federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) had been incorrectly applied to the case and sent it back to the lower court for review. ICWA had allowed Veronica’s birth father Dusten Brown, a registered member of the Cherokee Nation -- who did not have custody of her at the time -- to object to her adoption by the Capobiancos. The Capobiancos were ordered to turn Veronica over to Brown in 2011, and she's been living with him for the past 18 months.
After today’s ruling, Veronica’s birth mother Christinna Maldonado said, “I am just over the moon by this news. All I’ve ever wanted was to give Veronica a life with Matt and Melanie that I could not provide for her. It has torn at my heart to think of her ripped from their arms and what she must have been going through. I’m looking forward to seeing her again when she settles in back home with Matt and Melanie.”
In Wednesday’s ruling, the lower court agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court opinion, finding that Brown did not have standing to object to the adoption. In the words of the court, “I have no doubt that all interested parties wish to have this matter settled as quickly as possible, keeping in mind that what is ultimately at stake is the welfare of a little girl, and that of all who love her.”