Charleston, South Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, were forced to turn over their 2-year-old adopted daughter to her biological father. The custody battle began just after Veronica Capobianco turned 4 months old. The Capobiancos had tried in-vitro fertilization seven times unsuccessfully. They turned to an adoption attorney and finally found a birth mother in Oklahoma in 2009. Four months after the couple adopted Veronica, they received a call from their attorney that Veronica’s biological father, a 30-year-old man named Dusten Brown, had filed for paternity and custody. Several months later, the Cherokee Nation became involved in the case with a claim that the adoption failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act, a 1978 law. The law prevents Indian families from “breaking up.” Dusten Brown enrolled as a member of the Cherokee Nation, making Veronica an “Indian child” and the adoption qualifying as a “breakup of the Indian family.” The Capobiancos lost a family court battle and was ordered to return the child to Dusten Brow by December 28, 2011. The emergency petition filed at the Appellate Court in South Carolina also proved fruitless for the Capobiancos. On December 31, 2011, at approximately 5 p.m., the Capobianco’s turned over their daughter to Brown. The Capobiancos plan to appeal the decision to S.C. Supreme Court. Full article.

Under New York law, if you are adopted, or if you placed a child for adoption, or if you are the biological sibling of an adopted person, you may wish to learn more about your birth family. The New York State Health Department’s Adoption Registry facilitate that information. Three kinds of information are available: non – identifying, identifying and medical.

Non – identifying Information: If you are adopted or if you are the biological sibling of an adopted person, you can get non – identifying information about your birth parents even if they do not register with the Adoption Registry or consent to sharing. This includes their general appearance, religion, ethnicity, race, education, occupation, etc; and the name of the agency that arranged the adoption, and the facts and circumstances relating to the nature and cause of the adoption.
Identifying Information: If all are registered and all have given their final consents, adoptees and their birth parents, or adoptees and their biological siblings can share their current names and addresses. If only one parent signed the surrender agreement or consented to the adoption, then the registration of the other parent is not needed for the exchange of identifying information between the adoptee and the registered birth parent.
Medical Information: Birth parents can give medical and psychological information to the Registry any time after the adoption. If the adoptee is already registered, the information will be shared with him or her. If the adoptee is not registered, the information will be kept until the adoptee registers. The information is important to adoptees because it can indicate if they have a higher risk of some diseases. Medical information updates must be certified by a licensed health care provider.

For more information please visit the NY Department of Health website.

The attorneys at Leeds, Morelli & Brown, P.C. are experienced in all domestic relations matters, and have represented families in Nassau and Suffolk counties, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island. For any questions concerning domestic relations matters, contact an attorney at the Leeds Brown Law, P.C. law firm for a free consultation at 1-888-556-2529.