Matt and Melanie Capobianco told the “Dr. Phil” television program that 4-year-old Veronica is adjusting well to her return to James Island after a bruising cross-country custody battle.
The adoptive couple, who have refused interviews with local media, recently spoke with Troy Dunn, a self-proclaimed “reunion facilitator” and former television host who had previously appeared with the couple on the “Dr. Phil” show.
That interview is scheduled to air locally today at 4 p.m. on WCBD-TV Channel 2.
During the interview, the couple discuss Veronica’s return to James Island last month and the role they want her biological father, Dusten Brown, to play in her life, according to an episode summary posted on the show’s web site.
“All the people who love her, all of her family members, will be in contact with her,” Melanie Capobianco is quoted as saying in the episode synopsis.
A video excerpt posted on the show’s web site has highlights of the interview. Veronica is not seen in the video.
The Capobiancos have avoided the limelight and declined interviews with local media since returning home earlier this month from Oklahoma, where she had been living with Brown. At the time, Melanie Capobianco told The Post and Courier that she and her husband had no intention of discussing the case or giving interviews about Veronica.
“We’re just trying to get back to normal — or at least a new normal,” she said.
The battle over Veronica stretched halfway across the country, lasted nearly four years and took the two sides all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Matt Capobianco told Dunn that it was “incredible” for him to hold Veronica again after a 19-month separation. “We were kind of going in gentle and we didn’t want to be too forward or overwhelming, so it was a very gradual process,” he said in a video excerpt posted on the “Dr. Phil” website.
In the video, Dunn said a lot of people questioned how much Veronica would remember of the couple after such a long time apart, but Matt Capobianco said they were amazed by how many details she recalled of them and their home.
“She remembered a lot of things,” he said on the tape. “We knew she was going to remember a lot, but some of the detail she remembered was just insane.”
The couple told Dunn there has been ongoing communication between Veronica and her biological parents.
“It’s been positive, and we’re feeling really good about it,” Melanie Capobianco told Dunn.
She also took time during the interview to thank their attorneys and supporters across the country, adding that “we’re home and Veronica is doing great.”
Veronica had lived with the couple for the first 27 months of her life before Brown gained custody in December 2011 using the Indian Child Welfare Act. Brown and Veronica are members of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma.
The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled in June that the ICWA didn’t apply to him because he hadn’t been in his ex-fiancee’s life when she was pregnant.
A South Carolina judge finalized the adoption in July and brushed aside all challenges, such as a request for an inquiry into Veronica’s best interests.
But Brown initially refused to relinquish his daughter, resulting in South Carolina authorities pushing to have him arrested and extradited. He was jailed twice in Oklahoma but each time was granted bail while he challenged attempts to haul him to the Palmetto State.
The Capobiancos traveled to Oklahoma and spent weeks there attending court hearings and fighting to get Veronica back.
Dunn, former host of the WE reality series “The Locator,” also traveled to Oklahoma and tried to act as a middleman between the James Island couple and the birth father.
After his request to meet with Brown went unanswered in mid-August, Dunn and his camera crew drove to the home where Brown was staying. Cherokee Nation marshals intercepted his vehicle on the tribal property. The law officers relayed a message Dunn scribbled on his business card, but Brown declined his offer to meet.
One Cherokee Nation official dubbed Dunn’s maneuver a dangerous publicity stunt.
Brown ultimately relinquished Veronica on Sept. 23, just hours after the Oklahoma Supreme Court allowed the South Carolina adoption decree to be enforced there.
The Capobiancos quickly left Oklahoma in the company of two Charleston County sheriff’s deputies and a State Law Enforcement Division agent.
On Oct. 10, Brown officially dropped his legal fight to retain custody of his daughter, saying “it was no longer fair for Veronica to be in the middle of the battle.” But he expressed hope he would still have a role to play in Veronica’s life.