Toddler's birthday celebrated as custody battle continues - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Toddler's birthday celebrated as custody battle continues

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Birthday celebration for Veronica (WCIV) Birthday celebration for Veronica (WCIV)

By Ava Wilhite
awilhite@abcnews4.com

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A Charleston couple and their lawyers are preparing an appeal for the custody of the little girl known as baby Veronica.

The appeal will be made to the U.S. Supreme Court after the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the return of Veronica to her biological father.  Today, friends and family gathered at an Isle of Palms park to celebrate baby Veronica's birthday.

Veronica is the adoptive daughter of James Island couple Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who were ordered by courts to give her back nine months ago.

"I know it's a hard day for them. It's a bittersweet day she's three, but yet she's not with them. I just wanted to come out here today and support them and let them know that were thinking about them and praying for them.  I'm hoping this is the only birthday they ever miss for Veronica and she'll be home soon," said family supporter Cynthia Laio.

Last December the Capobianco's were forced to hand over the daughter they raised since birth to her biological father because of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which protects the custodial rights of parents who are members of Native American tribes. The Capobianco's first took Veronica's case to the South Carolina Supreme Court in April and in late July a majority vote was returned denying the couple custody.

"It was crushing brutal. I really had high hopes. Just the fact that we had gotten that far was just unbelievable," said Matt Capobianco.

Now the couple is appealing for Veronica's case to be heard in Washington D.C.

"It's well over due that the U.S. Supreme Court look at how the Indian Child Welfare Act is being used and we hate for it to be on Veronica's back but she's captured the heart of the nation," said Jessica Mundy, the Capobianco's family's spokesperson. She says the couple and now thousands of supporters world wide are confident going to the Supreme Court is the best way to help bring Veronica back to Charleston.

"We're hanging on to hope and our fingers are crossed that the US supreme court will take this case," said Mundy.

The timeline is not clear when the Supreme Court will make a decision to hear the case. If they do decide to take the case, it could be some time before it's heard then ruled on.

During the waiting period the Capobianco's have taped interviews with Dr. Phil and Anderson Cooper 360 with the hope more people will become aware of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The air times for those shows have yet to be announced.

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