Capobiancos discuss custody battle, return to James Island on Dr. Phil

LOS ANGELES (WCIV) - The adoptive couple at the center of a years-long custody battle will talk about winning that fight on an episode of Dr. Phil Tuesday.

Matt and Melanie Capobianco told Troy Dunn that 4-year-old Veronica is adjusting well to life in the Lowcountry, a place she called home for the first two years of her life.

This marks the second interview the couple has done with Dunn on the Dr. Phil show, which is set to air at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Based on a two-minute excerpt from the interview, the Capobiancos said they had maintained contact with Dusten Brown, Veronica's biological father, and wanted him to play an active role in her life.

"We were going in gentle and we didn't want to be too forward or overwhelming for her," said Matt Capobianco, discussing Veronica's transition from Oklahoma to James Island. "It was a very gradual process."

The Capobiancos said some of the details Veronica remembered about her life with them before being handed over to Brown in 2011 "were insane." They said she knew she would remember some things about her old life, but they were surprised by what she could recall.

"We're just trying to get back to normal," said Melanie Capobianco.

Dunn described the transition as pretty close to a happy ending.

The interview airs about a month after the Lowcountry couple regained custody of their adopted daughter, a period of time that almost no information has come from the James Island home.

After returning home, the couple asked for privacy and declined any interviews with local media.

Brown has issued only one statement. In a tearful press conference, Veronica's biological father said he was giving up the legal fight to keep custody, saying it was in her best interests to start a normal life.

"Never ever doubt for one second how much I love you or how much I fought for you," he said through sobs. "My home will always be your home."

The press conference closed a four-year chapter in the lives of the Capobiancos, the Browns and Veronica that led them through Supreme Courts in two states and Washington, D.C., as well as a host of district and family courts.

The fight for custody of Veronica began shortly after her birth in 2009, when the Capobiancos worked out a private adoption with Brown's ex-fiancee, Christinna Maldonado.

Brown has argued that he was tricked into giving away his parental rights, but a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling decided that due to the Indian Child Welfare Act, Veronica belonged with Brown and the Cherokee Nation.

In December 2011, Brown took custody of then-2-year-old Veronica.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled over the summer that South Carolina's high court incorrectly applied ICWA to the case and ordered it to reconsider the case without taking into account the federal law.

The South Carolina Supreme Court sided with the Capobiancos and sent the case back to Charleston family court with the recommendation to finalize the adoption.

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