Veronica’s Indian Child Welfare Act Adoption Story – The Facts

Matt and Melanie Capobianco – Baby Veronica’s Adoptive Parents

The story of Veronica’s adoption has captured the hearts and minds of many people around the world. This adorable, full-of-life, multi-racial little girl became the daughter of Matt and Melanie Capobianco before she was even born. From the moment they found out they were going to be her parents, they committed themselves to being the best parents they could possibly be. Their love for her was whole before the pieces were even physically put together. [Veronica's Timeline]

Texts from birth father months before Veronica’s birth

Her birth mother had been abandoned by the birth father after he made it clear, he wanted to sign away his rights (see text messages). He made no meaningful attempts to contact her and made it clear he had no interest in fathering his child. This left Veronica’s birth mother in a position forced to make an extremely difficult and selfless decision. She hand-picked the Capobiancos to raise her daughter in order to ensure Baby Veronica had the best life possible – full of unconditional love and opportunities given to her by family, friends and a close-knit community.

Veronica with her birth mother Christy

Christy, Veronica’s birth mother, and the Capobiancos agreed to an open adoption. If Christy was trying to hide anything she certainly wouldn’t have wanted an open adoption. Think about it…if she was trying to circumvent the birth father, she would have given up the baby and walked away. Clearly, that was not the case.

Upon meeting for the first time, Christy and the Capobiancos felt they expanded their own families and remain close to this very day. The adoption was going perfectly and then Veronica’s birth father changed his mind. A complex, stressful custody battle ensued even though he had signed the waiver stating he wouldn’t contest the adoption and by state law would have relinquished his rights.

Months go by as the case goes through our legal system, then on New Year’s Eve 2011, the one person that failed Veronica the most came to Charleston picked her up and drove her more than 1,000 miles away from the only family she had ever known. Based on state law across the country this birth father would have lost all rights to disrupt this adoption. Even though he agreed not to contest the adoption when Veronica was four months old, when he “changed” his mind the Indian Child Welfare Act gave him extra rights. He used his membership within the Cherokee Nation to remove Veronica from her family.

It’s important to know that when the birth father petitioned the state of Oklahoma for custody, he himself didn’t classify himself as Native American. It wasn’t until several months later, he amended the paperwork to reflect he had Native American heritage and the Cherokee Nation intervened.*

*Source: Public records and petition to US Supreme Court

While news spread about Veronica being ripped from the only family she had ever known, lies began to spread as well. To ensure everyone understands the facts surrounding Veronica’s adoption, we have compiled the following information.


Highlighted Media Coverage

View all media coverage surrounding Veronica’s Indian Child Welfare Act custody battle