The biological father of baby Veronica is speaking out after a historic ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court. An Oklahoma child and Native American rights were at the center of the issue.
Native American biological father Dusten Brown insists the best place for little Veronica is with him in Oklahoma. But, last week's ruling did not do him any favors in this custody tug-of-war.
"The only people that could really give you your history, your ancestry is your family," Brown said.
Brown argues baby Veronica will never truly be in touch with her roots living with adoptive parents in South Carolina. The parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, raised the little girl for the first 27 months of her life until Brown won the right to his daughter.
"The child belongs with me," Brown said. "That's my daughter. I love her. She belongs with me."
Veronica was placed for adoption while Brown was overseas in the military. Brown signed over custody. The mother allowed the adoption to happen, but a federal law protecting Native American interests allowed Brown to take Veronica from the Capobiancos .
Now, Supreme Court justices say the federal law in question does not apply, arguing Brown can't give up his daughter and ask for her back in the eleventh hour.
"It was just devastating to hear what they decided on," Brown said.
The decision sends the case back to South Carolina. It is being described as a huge victory for the Capobiancos. The couple now has to go back to family court to finalize the adoption, which, if contested, could take months to resolve.
"[It] feels like my heart is getting ripped out again," Brown said.
Brown says now that he has his daughter, he is "fighting for every bit of it" … for Veronica to stay in Oklahoma.
At issue in the case is the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. It was designed to prevent Native American children from being taken away from their families and heritage.