In the wake of Dusten Brown’s forced relinquishment of his biological daughter Veronica to Matt and Melanie Capobianco of South Carolina, birth mothers, adoptive parents and adoptees have shared their heartache with media and flooded the Internet with blogs and open letters. They express grief, compassion, encouragement for Brown to continue fighting and insight into how Veronica will adapt and react when she learns about and understands the battle over her custody.
Indian Country Today Media Network highlights a few excerpts from various articles and blog posts that offer a glimpse of the powerful and emotional reactions of both Indian and non-Indian birth parents and adoptive parents, as well as adoptees.
An Open Letter to the Capobiancos From an Adoptive Parent
“…Adoption should be about finding families for children who need them. It should never be about taking children from families who want them. It is about one set of parents loving the child enough to do what is in their best interest, and unfortunately, that is not you. It is in Baby V's best interest to remain with her father and it has always been in her best interest since he contested the adoption at 4 months old. And there are thousands of legitimately available children in this world who need a family and don't already have one able to care for them.
“Someday Baby V will begin to question her adoption. The need for it, what happened to both her parents (and it may be far sooner than you think- I have one who has talked about her birth family pretty much since she could talk) She will have memories of living with her father and extended family. She is going find out (as soon as she is old enough to Google) that you fought a battle to take her from her father and that he fought a battle to keep her. Who do think is going to play the villain in this script?…”
An Open Letter to Dusten Brown
From Cutcha Risling Baldy, Hupa, Karuk, Yurok, a scholar, instructor, and PhD candidate in Native American Studies at UC Davis
“…Write Veronica letters every single day and post them. Compile them and publish them. She will find them. Dear Veronica, I love you. She will read them. Dear Veronica, I fought for you because I am your father. No, wait, I FIGHT (continue to) for you because I am your father. She will see you fight. Don't apologize for who you are, don't apologize for anything. Continue to fight this good fight. There are many who will stand with you. You were never in this fight alone, though you had to fight it without many of your supporters standing next to you. But we were there. We will continue to be there. And we will continue to fight….”
Adoptee Trace A. DeMeyer posted the below on Splitfeathers, a blog for American Indian adoptees who are called Lost Children, Lost Birds, Lost Ones and Split Feathers.
“We know this case is not about Veronica's best interest. It's about money and Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency who brokered the sale. It's about lawyers and their fees. It's about dismantling and repealing the Indian Child Welfare Act so that more people can adopt Native children. It's about opening the gates so more "Christian" families can assimilate and adopt Native children. It's not new, it's been going on for over a century.
“We know Veronica is VERY confused since the transfer on Monday. She's disoriented. She thinks she's on a vacation with the adopters. That will end in South Carolina or where ever they choose to live. Veronica will be enrolled in daycare then pre-school. Matt and Melanie will always tell her she was "chosen" to be their child. They will explain to her she's not going back to Dusten; they will tell her, "You are home." Traumatized, over time Veronica will disappear into the fog of despair and disbelief. Symptoms of grief will come in stages. Every. single. day. …
“…Veronica is very strong, a fighter, a Cherokee citizen. She will find her dad again like I did.”
Splitfeathers posted this photo of Veronica’s transfer to the Capobiancos:
In the Reuters article ‘Baby Veronica’ Adoption Case Re-opens Wounds for Native Americans\**, Indian adoptees weigh in:**
Veronica's plight has refocused attention on a practice—once government-sanctioned, but now condemned—of placing Native American children with families outside their culture. Some who were adopted this way decades ago, such as Anecia O'Carroll, 51, said they have never fully recovered from the experience.
'It is a tremendous wound of loss – culturally, spiritually,' O'Carroll said of growing up outside her tribe.
Like many other Native children of her generation, O'Carroll said she was placed with a white family, away from her Alaska Alutiiq tribe. She later found her birth mother, who described being coerced into giving up her baby in the early 1960s.
'She cried and cried, and looked at me, and she thought my skin looked like honey," O'Carroll, 51, recounted her mother telling her years later. "The last thing she said to me was 'I wish you a rainbow life,' and then she let me go.'"
"When she turns a teenager, she's going to come looking," said Diane Tells His Name, a California Lakota who said her adoptive parents raised her to believe she was white.
"That blood, I'm telling you, is so strong. It's racing through there like a buffalo," she said. "She'll want to come back home."
From The Los Angeles Times\**:**
“…In general we are in shock, we are upset, we are mad,” wrote Hammond, 43, a Cincinnati-area business analyst who grew up with adoptive parents and feels she has suffered lasting effects from not knowing anyone to whom she was genetically related. “We feel we have failed her. We didn't fight hard enough for her.”
“I don’t have a problem with adoption when it is done ethically,” Hammond said. “But it should be the option of last resort. Adoption is about finding homes for children who need one. It's not about children who already have a home. It’s the moral and ethical obligation of any prospective adoptive couple to stop if the natural family is going to fight you for that child. You are doing a disservice to that child if you try to keep them away from their family.”
“What will they tell her? ‘Oh, look – we fought so hard for you, we tried to have your dad thrown in jail?’” said Hammond. “If I were to find out that my father had fought for me and my adoptive parents had fought him back, I would turn on them in a heartbeat. There is no way to whitewash this one. As soon as the kid can Google, it’s over.”
Author Lorraine (full name not provided) posted the a blog entitled “Baby Veronica: Now the media bias for the Capobiancos begins” on the FirstMotherForum.com:
Veronica with her father Dusten Brown and his wife Robin at their home in Nowata, Oklahoma.
IN ADOPTION, MONEY TALKS. ALWAYS HAS, ALWAYS WILL.
“…A father wants to raise his daughter, his daughter is obviously doing fine being raised by him, but a grasping couple are allowed to get away with this illegal adoption–illegal because even proper procedure was not followed in the very first instance. Some people have questioned why the girl's biological mother, Christy Maldonado, would not let Brown raise their daughter. I think the answer lies in the fact that the Capobiancos were allowed to "help her out" financially, which is a euphemism for buying a baby. As I said yesterday, this comes as close to a legal baby-selling as I have ever seen.
What is heartless is that column's like Estrich's have no compassion at all for the individual who will be raised with genetic strangers, with whom the likelihood of sharing traits and sensibilities is no greater than chance. I'm not making that up; social scientists who look at these things have concluded thus. Writes Carol Tavris: "…when children resemble their parents and grandparents temperamentally, it is because they share certain genes with these relatives, not experiences.
“Because the Capobiancos ‘won,’ a little girl loses.—lorraine”
Cassi, a birth mother coerced to put her child up for adoption at 16, posted the following on Adoption-truth.com:
“We have failed a sweet, innocent little girl. Failed her in the worst of ways.
And I say we for all of us. A society. A nation. Our media. Lawmakers and judges. Every single one holds heavy on their shoulders the blame for what happened to Veronica. She is a four year old, innocent victim who has just paid the worst price, her family destroyed so she could be used to satisfy the desires of an infertile couple.
As she suffers the terrible loss of her family, her heritage, her culture, others celebrate such a disgusting tragedy for this little girl. They congratulate themselves with proud slaps to the back for fighting so hard for Veronica to lose everything so the Capobiancos could have their every selfish desire fulfilled.
They praise those like Troy Dunn and Dr. Phil for using Veronica to advance their own careers. Celebrate and promote the continued deception of Veronica’s First Mother, because it justifies their belief that the Capobianco’s “deserved” Veronica more than her own family. That they “earned” the right to be her parents.
As a society, a nation, we accept such twisted beliefs. Our media, even today in the reality of all Veronica has lost, continues to portray a story of lies and half-truths. Never daring, never having the courage, to go the heart of what has happened, will continue to happen to so many children, if something isn’t done. If we don’t finally stand up and demand change.
… Every time I feel the urge to walk away, I will think of her wrapped securely in her daddy’s arms. Of her beautiful smiles when surrounded by her family. Of the amazing life she was granted when she was allowed to be with her family. Allowed to just be another little girl, growing up, growing strong, under the care and protection of those who loved her.
And I will remember the hell she had forced on her. A hell not only supported, but encouraged and prayed for by so many. I will remember her terrible loss. The destruction of her family for the selfish desires of others.
I can never change how terribly she was failed. But I sure as hell can fight with everything I have to try and protect other children from being forced to live through the same hell. I can fight for Veronica and because of her.…”