On Jan. 5, a new report about the baby Veronica case that has held the country's attention for the past year indicates the United States Supreme Court is now getting involved. In fact, in a turn of events, the controversial case will ultimately be decided by the highest court in the land.
By way of background, a three-year-old child called Veronica who had started life living in South Carolina after being adopted in Oklahoma has been embroiled in a custody battle between her adoptive parents and her Native American birth father.
Matt and Melanie Copobianco adopted Veronica Rose at birth when the child's biological mother gave up her rights. At that time, the couple was told that the baby's father, Dusten Brown, had also done the same.
However, when Brown was served adoption papers that, once signed, would seal the fate of baby Veronica as far as who would raise her, he chose to fight for custody of the little girl. Brown claimed that after asking the mother of the baby to marry him and being refused while he was serving in the Army in Oklahoma, he fought and ultimately won custody back from the Copobianco couple at the end of 2011.
Not to be deterred after losing the daughter they had raised for two years, Matt and Melanie never gave up. In fact, the couple appeared on Dr. Phil McGraw's syndicated television show this past fall to plead their case in front of the nation. In doing so, the pair claimed that Dusten Brown had refused to pay child support for the welfare of baby Veronica.
While that may have been the case, another problem in getting baby Veronica back is that the Indian Child Welfare of 1978 had come into play. This act came out of the concept that Native American children had reportedly been removed from their traditional homes, leaving these children without benefit of their cultural rights.
Since Dusten Brown belongs to the Cherokee Nation, his biological child is also Native American and so is entitled to be considered for protection under the aforementioned act. However, since entitlement to parenting this child has been contested on both sides, the Supreme Court has now stepped in to determine who will become baby Veronica's permanent parents, and, in doing so, will possibly set a precedent.
According to Melanie Copobianco, who spoke to a local television station in her native Charleston, "I think the Supreme Court knows that whatever the ruling is, it's going to affect many other families."
She added that there are "at least four other families in the country right now fighting similar cases...The last time the law went before the U.S. Supreme Court was in 1989, which is why... it's appropriate that this case go before the nation's highest court."
And so, as both sides wait and wonder, baby Veronica is the subject of a case headed for the U.S. Supreme Court in what become precedent setting for adoptive parents living in the United States.