April 11, 2012
Charleston’s Veronica Capobianco, age 2, was taken from her loving adoptive home and given to her biological father, a complete stranger to her. After meeting Veronica for only thirty minutes in an attorney’s office, he drove her across the country to his home in Oklahoma.
Veronica’s biological father did not provide financial or emotional support during the biological mother’s pregnancy after the couple had broken up, and he signed documents agreeing not to contest the adoption. He further indicated that he did not wish to maintain custody of Veronica. South Carolina law is specific. A man who does not support his child during and shortly after birth loses his right to be a father.
In this case, a federal law, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, was used to give a child to a previously uninterested father. The ruling put the rights of this absent biological father and the Cherokee Nation above Veronica’s best interests.
Research is clear regarding the probable psychological and neurological damage done when a securely attached child has that essential attachment severed.
We are writing to urge that the best interest of the child be paramount in every child custody case in South Carolina every time, without exception. First, society cannot allow biological parents who’ve consented to adoption to retrieve a child after she is securely attached to her adoptive parents. Second, when a transfer of custody occurs from a loving, stable home, a transition plan directed by a licensed and appropriately trained mental health professional is essential.
Bonnie Cleaveland, PhD ABPP
Board Certified in Clinical Psychology