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Another Oklahoma Adoption Case Mirrors 'Baby Veronica' Case


By Dan Bewley,

TULSA, Oklahoma - Another Oklahoma-born child is in the middle of a custody battle with a South Carolina family.

Desirai was born in May to a Native American woman and a non-Indian father. In many ways, her case mirrors that of "Baby Veronica."

The Department of Human Services says 270 Native American children born in Oklahoma were adopted last fiscal year. Twelve of those went to families living in other states.

We've learned another Oklahoma baby with Native American lineage is in South Carolina, and her story is beginning to play out like Veronica's.

We're very familiar with little Veronica, the soon to be 4-year-old born to a Cherokee father and a non-Indian mother. Dusten Brown has been fighting to keep custody of his daughter, while Matt and Melanie Capobianco say she belongs with them in South Carolina.

There is one way in which this case differs from Veronica's. Her father is not Indian, but her mother's family is Absentee Shawnee, a federally recognized tribe with 3,500 members based in Pottawatomie County.

The attorney for Desirai's biological father said that Desirai's mother and father were never married, but their relationship ended during the seventh month of pregnancy.

The father tried to stay in touch with the mother, but was turned away, according to his attorney. It wasn't until after Desirai was born that he learned the baby had been placed for adoption.

Though the father is not Native American, Desirai's Native American grandmother is supporting the father's quest for custody.

Baby Desirai's case is more than just similar to Veronica's--it also has many of the same players.

For example, in South Carolina, Matt and Melanie Capobianco's original adoption attorney was Raymond Godwin. He also handled the adoption for the South Carolina family who has custody of Baby Desirai.

Paul Swain is the Tulsa attorney, who represents the Capobianco's in Oklahoma. He's also the attorney representing Baby Desirai's mysterious South Carolina family.

Paul Swain said he cannot comment on either case. Messages left for Raymond Godwin in South Carolina were not returned.

2013 Aug 30