Friday, August 16, 2013

The "Baby Veronica" Case and the Abuse of Adoption

Amidst the conflicting claims regarding the actions and character of the parties contending for custody of almost-four year old Veronica, it is the undisputed facts that seem most significant.  Dusten Brown is Veronica’s father.  Dusten Brown has fought for Veronica from the time, when she was four months old, that he became aware that Veronica’s mother wanted to place her for adoption.  (There is much dispute about what happened during the pregnancy and in those first four months, but no substantive dispute about what happened since then.)   The adoptive parents had the opportunity to let go then, at four months, with comparatively little trauma to Veronica, but instead fought in court against Dusten, delaying  the handover of Vernonica to her father until she was 27 months old.   It is further undisputed that Dusten, along with his parents and wife, form a loving and successful family environment for Veronica, and that she has thrived with them for the last 19 months.

Whatever the law may say, ethically the result is clear:  Veronica should remain with her family.   This is true not only because it would be traumatic for her to be moved, again, although that is certainly relevant.  More fundamentally, Veronica should remain with her father and family because adoption should never be used to take children away from a loving family.

Remember when adoption was supposed to about providing families for “orphan” children, or for children from abuse or neglect so severe that, after reasonable efforts to rehabilitate and preserve the family, there was no way to make the family a reasonably safe place?     Unfortunately, adoption all too often has become about the desire of adoptive parents to parent, rather than the needs of a child for a home.   There is nothing wrong with wanting to parent a child, but everything wrong with taking someone else’s child to do so.  

The Veronica case is distinctive because of the issues surrounding tribal citizenship and the Indian Child Welfare Act, but the basic scenario of adoptive families fighting to wrest or retain children from original family members is all too commonplace.   It is very unfortunate that the law too often is structured to side with adoptive parents in these settings.   However, it is even more unfortunate that adoptive parents who have a child for a few days, weeks, or months before becoming aware that the original mother or father want the child, feel justified in fighting to keep what they deem as “their” child. 

In this case, it is particularly unjust that the adoptive couple have sought, and the South Carolina courts granted, an order taking Veronica from her father and family, without even a best interests hearing.   It is ironic that the adoptive parents make the argument that the transfer should be done quickly for Veronica’s sake, when in terms of Veronica’s best interests there is no indication that the transfer should take place at all.   Indeed, if the adoptive couple had wanted to minimize Veronica’s trauma they would have returned the child to her father as soon as he sought it, when she was four months old.   This case has become a revealing illustration of the determination of adoptive parents to obtain, take, and keep children, regardless of whether those children indeed have a parent and family who love and want them. 

Others have noted a certain religious backdrop to this case, related primarily to organizations supporting the adoptive parents or involved in the adoption who claim a religious purpose or affiliation---specifically Christian.    Without claiming to evaluate those ties, my belief as a Christian is that, regardless of what the courts decide as a matter of legal right, the adoptive parents should allow Veronica to remain with her father and family.   Perhaps they can work out some access to Veronica, perhaps not:  but they should honor Veronica’s family relationships.  Indeed, one wonders whether the determination to wrest Veronica from her father could be viewed as a kind of coveting of another’s child, and if successful as a kind of child stealing:   violations of the 8th and 10th commandments. 

The Christian community—and especially the Christian adoption movement-- should see the Veronica case as an opportunity to establish several fundamental principles, without which adoption becomes exploitation and sin.   Adoption should not be used as a means to take children from their original family when that family loves and wants them, and is able to provide a positive and safe environment for them.   In regard to the tribal aspects of the case, it needs to be made clear that the Christian community has no desire to use the power of the state or law to wrest children away from their original communities for the sake of “Christianizing” them or separating them from their birth cultures, as was done so often in the past.   This case is an opportunity for the Christian adoption movement to clearly repudiate the shameful history of the use of adoption and other means to accomplish a kind of cultural genocide.   This case is also an opportunity to make clear that there is a strong priority for children to be raised, whenever possible, by their biological parents, and that therefore biological parents have priority over prospective adoptive parents.   Once these priorities are established, then adoption can be reserved for those instances when it is truly needed for the benefit of children.

In regard to the fate of Veronica herself, of course, I lack access to all of the facts.  I know nothing except what is in the public record.    I can only hope and pray that the courts and all of the parties will ultimately be guided to a just result that will truly be in Veronica’s best interests.   It has been immensely saddening, however, to see how willing so much of the media has been to ratify as normal the sense of entitlement to Veronica that the adoptive parents are expressing, and so unwilling to consider the claims of a father who has for so long sought nothing more than to raise his own daughter.   There is something amiss in our cultural concept of adoption that is begging to be corrected.

David Smolin

86 comments:

  1. This may be the wrong place for this, and I apologize, but these people need some help and advice. Maybe someone can point them in the right direction of what they need to do...

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/BringingHopeHome/

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    1. Dot Scott Charleston NAACP President wrote an article on Baby Veronica and Baby Deseray for ICTMN.

      http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/10/13/baby-veronica-baby-deseray-dont-let-them-sell-our-babies

      She said this:

      "

      If it’s true that the mothers set out to deceive or mislead the biological fathers, that is the saddest of all elements surrounding these adoptions.

      Our children are not chattels to be conveniently sold to adoptive parents who care more about what they want than what is best for the child. What gives them the right to take a minority child when a loving and adoring father wants to raise her? While contributing eggs and sperm doesn’t necessarily make a good mother or father, neither does fighting a prolonged court battle to win custody and securing a public relations to accuse the birth father of being a deadbeat dad.

      Real mothers and fathers will always do what’s best for the child, and if that child is happy with her biological parent, no one should attempt to sever that bond.

      From all accounts of both the Baby Veronica and Baby Desaray cases, I believe that there should be a thorough investigation of the birth mothers, the adoptive parents, and the attorney for the adoption agency to ensure that the civil rights of these children and their biological fathers have not been violated.

      We as a nation must protect the civil rights of children of all races. Above all, we must remember that the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King remind us that our children too are “created equal."

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  2. Thank you, David and Desiree, for this blog, and this entry.

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  3. This case is great its bringing Whites, Cherokees (and all tribes)Blacks, Asians, some who are in between, Christians, non Christians, Dems, Reps, Conservatives, Progressives all together for something that is Right and Just, and may bring light to a barbaric and the unjust sale of children.

    Its common causes and ground that can start bringing us together as one human race. While we may not agree but maybe more of us can use this common ground to find solutions where everyone can come out on top.

    (and yes I'm one of those Christian Conservative types)

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  4. Bravo... Excellent piece on this gross miscarriage of justice.

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  5. Veronica was breathing for 120 days before Dusten Brown decided to file for paternity and custody of Veronica just days before deploying in January 2010. When he returned in December 2010, he made no attempt to see Veronica. The Supreme Court ruling is very readable. http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8759635594638469519&q=Adoptive+Couple+v.+Baby+Girl&hl=en&as_sdt=2,41&as_ylo=2009

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    1. That doesn't discredit the fact that he is the father, and she belongs with her family of origin. She was not an orphan by any means who needed a forever family. She has one screaming for her. She does not belong with some strangers who feel entitled because they invested the $ and time.

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    2. Well have you stopped to consider for those 120 days he was in the service of HIS COUNTRY? And not overly aware that this was happening, Moldano by her own account concealed the Adoption and concealed facts about the child and the adoption to the authorities. All of which was perpetrated by a scum of the earth (opinion) lawyer who poses as a Christian, and profiteers on the selling of children. (look is up he's currently in the middle of adopting out a Shawnee baby also from Ok)

      A public service announcement for you complete idiots, if you want to spew a fact back it up and make sure it can be supported.

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    3. If he was serving his country for her first120 days, where was he the rest of the time? How come he didn't even request to see her at all until his deposition when she was 22 months old? Common sense tells me he was told by his attorney to ask for visitation. He can't possibly be that stupid to not think to ask to see his child prior to 22 months. He simply just didn't care.

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    4. and you know these bogus claims to be FACT, or are you just pushing your adoption agenda because you too have some vested interest in yet another family needlessly being separated? If so, you are a part of the PROBLEM, not the solution.

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    5. My understanding is that the C's would not allow visitation and rejected any attempt to communicate. They treated him like dirt and thought he would go away if they pretended he didn't exist. Didn't work out so well for them.

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    6. If one has ever been in a war zone, then the fact that Brown did not communicate or fight the adoption industry is not difficult to understand. The fact that a competent father, a veteran of our nation, and a man manipulated and misled is wanting to parent...seems all the facts that matter. Veronica's father wants her. Period. If the C's loved her in the unselfish way they claim, they would humble themselves and cease all legal actions against Veronica's family.

      Adoption is for orphans. Real orphans. Children without families. Veronica has a family and they want her.

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    7. He was right in Oklahoma from the time she was born on September 15, 2009 until he deployed on January 18, 2010. Coincidentally, just as he was leaving the country, the Cherokee tribe started claiming that he wanted custody. Funny that he didn't even visit until then. That is his sworn testimony.

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    8. It is strange how much conviction you have when it comes to these details. But it doesn't make any sense. Why would a father contest the adoption and than not want to see the child? WHy would he spend money on the lawyer, if he didn't really want his daughter? Why would the father not want the child, but when the court granted him temporary custody immediately take the child and raise her for 19 months and face 5 years in prison for not giving her up? I think you just want to believe the Capobiancos.I don't know what really happened any more than you do, I am just using logic. What you are saying doesn't make sense. Sorry, but it seems much more plausible that the Capobiancos are lying about Dusten not wanting to see his daughter. And it wasn't the tribe , it was Dusten contesting the adoption. At first he didn't even know his only option was to use ICWA.Disturbingly it's completely legal to take the child away from Oklahoma to South Carolina without informing the father, unless the child is Native American.The tribe got involved because at that time it seamed the only option. In the meantime it came out that Capobiancos broke the law in other ways, so the Browns will be able to contest it in these grounds.

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    9. Veronica's father did not contest the adoption for 120 days because he was not told of the adoption for 120 days. The day after he found out that his daughter was not with her mother, he hired a lawyer and intervened. Funny how the adoptive couple had had Veronica since birth but waited until days before her dad was to be deployed to the Middle East before they bothered to inform him.

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    10. The judge determined the c's refused him ccess to his Child. Please read Judge Malphrus's ruling. She determined he was a thwarted father.

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    11. Unfortunately Jessica Munday's people at Trio Solution have been spreading many of these lies. One of them is Bradley Caricofe a Systems Administrator at Trio Solutions, Jessica Munday's firm in Mt Pleasant, SC. Brad Caricofe supports movements like Munday;s the Coalition for the protection of Indian Children to destroy Indian sovereignty. Brad has waged a vicious campaign against Dusten Brown by continuously posting comments on Charleston's P&C like:

      Brown made no attempt to inquire about the well being of the child for 120 after her birth. During that time the Capobiancos, who never abandoned her or had doubts about parenting, became emotionally attached to the child... 8/25/13

      Matt Capobianco is the child's birth father and was there to cut the baby girl's umbilical cord. Brown is the biological father who knew the due date yet made no inquiry into the well being of the child or mother until 120 days later. Where were all these "protestors" when Brown harmed the child emotionally with his insane transfer of custody? I don't think these folks are very intelligent.... 8/21/13

      Funny that Bradley exposed Dusten's criminal record but never said anything about his own as Bradley H Caricofe on Instant Checkmate. Maybe Bradley was delinquent for child support!

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    12. Bradley Caricofe has no arrest record and has only been married once...to his current wife. You are not smart.

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  6. Any couple that would so consistently and doggedly place their wants ahead of the best interests of this child--or any child--should not be a parent in the first place. Parenthood is about nurturing and raising a child to adulthood as best we can; parenthood should never be about exploiting and causing grief to a child in order to suit an adult need or agenda.

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    1. Wait; you mean you'd never hire/allow Troy the Locator to stalk the child's pre-school in hopes of getting the money shot for his documentary? I thought that was a wonderful example of where the Cap's minds are (outer space)

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  7. As an adoptive parent, knowing all of the checks and balances in place to ensure a child put up for adoption is truely not going to be supported by biological family, something is wrong with how this case is being described. You can not, not want a child, and then several months later decide you want the child and remove it from the adoptive family. The fact that the courts allowed the child to be removed for her adoptive home is appauling. The fact that this father changes his mind does not give him parental rights, after the fact. Sorry, I have no simpathy for this father, but all the simpathy for this poor girl who the courts are jecking around because they are back pedeling on due processes that are in place. I would hate to think that two years after I have had my daugthers home with me the courts would turn around and send them back to their father, just because he says he wants to take care of them now.

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    1. Had the Capobianco's had any sense of ethics or morality, they could have saved themselves two years of heartache and stopped attempting to adopt Veronica when they knew they'd only gotten Veronica from an unethical agency and a bmother with a mission ($). I have no sympathy for these entitled, media mongers.

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    2. The adoption was not finalized until last month. When the "C"'s had Veronica, they knew that her father wanted her. They were aware that he was not properly notified of the adoption and that he did not agree to it. But the entire time, they hung onto his daughter and denyed him the opportunity to parent his own child. All the pain and heartache in this case, they have created. By not returning her to her father at 4 months old, they are responsible for the difficulties that Veronica experenced when transitioning to her father at 27 months. By pulling her away from her family now, they will be responsible for her difficulties in transtitioning again. One day, Veronica will be read all this on the internet herself and there is a chance that she will never forgive the "C"s for it.

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    3. Exactly. If this is a "nightmare" for them, it is of their own making. And as alleged Christians, they're breaking at least one commandment: "You shall not covet... anything that belongs to your neighbor."- Exodus 20:17

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    4. Anonymous- first poster- the fact that you can't spell your way out of a paper bag ironically says much about your reasoning ability too. there may have been checks and balances in your situation, but many circuitbreakers failed in this one: read the facts- from lying on paperwork to hiring bogus "experts".

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  8. www.saveveronica.org #bringveronicahome

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    1. She is home-with her REAL Dad. She doesn't need a pretend one.

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  9. The foster family at the time knew this case had been handled wrong, the father was NEVER notified his daughter was removed from Oklahoma and the mother had gone behind his back to deny him the right to raise his child. The mother created this situation by 'having a plan', refusing support and contact from Dusten, and even refusing his right to be present at her birth. Facts are facts. Mother's 'text messages' were never used in court, the courts found father NEVER willingly gave up his rights, and the child deserves to remain with Dusten and family.

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  10. Thank you for this post, but it appears that nothing will stop the Capobiancos because somehow they have become convinced they are "right." They completely ignore the idea that an individual has the right to grow up among her own kind, whenever possible.

    We've been writing bot this case over at First Mother Forum.

    From Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion:
    "The Court's opinion, it seems to me, needlessly demeans the rights of parenthood. It has been the constant practice of the common law to respect the entitlement of those who bring a child into the world to raise that child. We do not inquire whether leaving a child with his parents is 'in the best interest of the child.' It sometimes is not; he would be better of raised by someone else. But parents have their rights, no less than children do. This father wants to raise his daughter, and the statute amply protects his right to so do. There is no reason in law or policy to dilute that protection."

    Dusten Brown continues to fight for his daughter; the Capobiancos dig in deeper

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  11. "Unknown" is patently incorrect. Mr. Brown was not notified of the adoption proceedings until his daughter was 4 months old and then immediately began to fight for her. He was awarded custody in both the lower South Carolina court (but the adopters did not give her to him then - as they appealed) and the South Carolina Supreme Court.

    Anonymous (7:46am 8/17) would be surprised to learn that there are insufficient checks and balances in the adoption process. In fact, in many adoptions it is quite corrupt. Google Terry Achane, John Wyatt, Anthony Lingle... As you Google them, you will come across more and more fathers whose children were stolen - not only by deceptive partners (the mothers of the children), but by corrupt adoption agencies & lawyers, and even state laws designed to exclude fathers. This is sadly far more common than most people realize. In the case of Veronica, Mother warned the adoption agency that Father (whom she had never told about her adoption plans) would not approve of the adoption...everyone, from the outset, KNEW that Father would never consent to this adoption...but they were all willing to deceive him and set up roadblocks to make it difficult for him to learn about the adoption and to contest it - some for money, and some because they didn't care if the father of the child wanted her, they felt some kind of "right" to her.

    Finally, as is pointed out in this post, the father of this child is fit, loving and willing to parent his daughter - and that should be it. As also pointed out, adoption should be for the purpose of providing a home and family for a needy child - not a child for a needy infertile couple.

    While I am so sad to see what is happening to Veronica, I am very glad to see attention being given to the case because the deception and outright fraud involved in it on behalf of the adopters, natural mother, adoption agency & lawyers is far more common than we realize and reform is greatly needed.

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    1. I could not have said it better. The plan was to deceive the father; steal his child...and the infertile couple blinded by their own needs to obtain a child. Putting themselves first. Yet...there are many children currently unwanted, needing a family...

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    2. Years ago, I purchased a new car. It was late at night and the dealership was closing before they got any answers on financing, so they sent me home in the car with the promise that I could come back in the next day or so and sign the paperwork. Well, they called and made an appointment for me to go in two days later. To my shock, the terms we had been talking were vastly different from what I ended up signing, to the tune of an extra $100 a month. But by then I'd disposed of my former car and fallen in love with the new one. Private adoptions arranged before the child is born is based on this exact same premise. Couples and moms are matched and the couple is encouraged to be in the delivery room - much has been made about Mr. C. cutting Veronica's cord. It's all a very emotional time, very much bonding going on. And by the birth mother's admission in Veronica's case, the father was excluded from the birth. She went into labor a week early, never told him, and checked into the hospital under instructions to not admit to any callers she was there (at the advice of the attorneys?). The Capobiancos wanted an infant and voila, they were granted an infant AND the birth experience to boot. They were informed somewhere in this process (apparently after they were already invested emotionally) that the adoption was risky. Whether they wanted to approach the father up front and get his permission without the use of deception and misleading I don't know. But the attorney in the case certainly knew to do so would put the adoption in jeopardy so he advised against it. The one person with absolutely ZERO emotional connection to the case (but a lucrative investment financially in terms of fees and payments) advised the procedures and caused the events that placed this child as both the rope and the prize in a tug of war. And from other things I've read, this is his standard operating procedure. He is not altruistically finding homes for needy children with couples who want to open their hearts. He is playing on the high emotions of those involved with one hand and holding out his other hand to collect his fees. It was on him to secure a child and he did. That he did not ensure both parents were okay with the adoption prior to the baby's birth was deliberate and calculated. And HE is the one who needs to be investigated here. You are quite right - no one knows exactly what happened to break this couple up, no one knows what led Mr. Brown to show apparent disinterest in the child - no one REALLY knows exactly how much disinterest he truly showed since, in this he said/she said case even that is not agreed upon. But no one can dispute that he is her father, he loves her, he wanted her when his then fiance told him he was going to be a father again, and he has fought for her for the past 44 months, has raised her in a fit and loving way for the past 20+ months. This child never needed to be adopted. And I'm convinced Mr. Godwin knew that.

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  12. Parents are committed to their children from the beginning and love their children before they are born. Parents do not waver. Veronica's biological mother loved her enough to ensure she would be brought up in a loving and stable family that could provide for her after the biological father told her he was giving up his "rites" (rights). The biological mother should be commended for the selfless, loving decision she made. Veronica has a family in SC. She has a Mommy, Daddy, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and lots of friends. When Veronica was in SC, she also had a relationship with her birth mother and her siblings. She was thriving with her family that loved her before she was born. Her SC family has never wavered. Veronica's world came crashing down when there was a mistake of law and Mr. Brown (the one that changed his mind) drove her away from the only family she had ever known when she was 2 1/2 years old. That was legal, but it was not ethical. This case has been fully litigated and the courts have determined that Veronica should be with her parents in SC. It is legal and it is ethical. Mr. Brown has decided to snub our legal system because the courts did not rule in his favor. That behavior is appalling and disgusting. Veronica's parents in SC are committed and have always been committed to Veronica's best interest. They are committed to having all that love Veronica be in her life. She would never have that opportunity with Mr. Brown. I pray that Veronica will have peace and stability in the near future with the family that has never wavered and has always put her best interest first. I hope you will be home soon, sweet girl! www.saveveronica.org #babyveronica

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    1. Veronica's birthmother did not make a selfless decision; she made a calculating decision...she traded Veronica to the Capobianco's for car payments, miscellaneous expenses, and cash - all while using Oklahoma public aid to pay for her medical expenses. She has two other children of whom she does not have custody. Dusten was a stumbling block in the path of her way to "financial freedom"; hence the pains she took to place a "no contact" order while at the hospital and the information she falsified on documents to bypass ICWA. The Capobiancos were well aware from the beginning that Veronica's father contested the adoption; they just didn't care. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/08/12/selling-christy-maldonado-150831

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    2. The C's and the birthmother created this situation by lying about the Dusten's name and birthday to the Cherokee Nation, then the birthmother hid from Dusten for months and would not come to the door when he tried to visit. This culminated in the lies and deception during the birth in the hospital when the mother checked in under a fake name. The C's were party to all of this. They knew then this was an unethical adoption. Considering the fact that they were rejected to adopt in their own home stat, I doubt they cared. They all did everything they could to purposely deceive Dusten and yet you find them the Heros andDusten the bad guy?! Nice morals.
      And if you are all about "ethics". Please explain to us how Veronica's so-called adoption was finalized with an expired home study? How is that ethical?

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    3. [ Parents do not waver. ]

      Oh please. Your pedestal you constantly put Matt and Melanie on is ridiculous and only proves how blind you are. Matt and Melanie are not perfect saint saviors. Did you know that Matt has almost a half-dozen speeding citations/fines? That Melanie has been foreclosed on twice? That she has pending litigation with someone else in South Carolina? That she has a couple speeding violations as well as a DUI and an underage drinking arrest? What makes them so much better than Dusten and Robin?

      The fact you have to constantly build them up as perfect and selfless when there are all these facts to the contrary once again shows your ignorance to the truth.

      Parents are human. We struggle. We sometimes make errors. Especially young parents. That does not mean that we are not worthy of our children.

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    4. Parents waver every day. It is difficult to be a parent in this world. Its like y'all are reading from cue cards. Even highly abusive parents are given opportunities to mend their behaviors and 'be there' for their children. Dusten Brown's comment was made and then taken out of context.

      Is what he said, in anger, 4 years ago more significant than what he has done since his child was 4 months old? And that is to fight for the right to be her parent. NO ONE disputes he is an excellent parent.

      The Capobiancos want people to drink the purple Koolaid rather than think for themselves with their own hearts and minds. They are not and never were this child's parents. They were pre-adoptive until last week. She never should have left the state of Oklahoma and no one should be required to give up their child in this manner.

      Quite frankly, they are bananas. Their attorney broke the law and they have perpetrated everything from character assassination of Veronica's biological father to racism with their constant claims she is only one percent Cherokee (all irrelevant since she is a full citizen of the Cherokee nation - no fractions). Even if they had a legitimate claim, the fact they are willing to attack the people who gave Veronica her DNA demonstrates how much this is about winning and how little it is about what is best for the child. Disgusting. They've made spectacles of themselves and Karma is a stern master.

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  13. Excellent writing, Prof. Smolin, and sadly, so true.

    I just want to point out a correction that I hope you can make in this piece. It also supports your argument even further.

    In most places where you mention "adoptive" parents, alluding to Mr. and Mrs. Capobianco, I believe you mean "prospective adoptive" parents. Legally they were not her adoptive parents for the entire time she lived with them nor during the legal proceedings in SCOTUS or SCSC. It is more disconcerting that PROSPECTIVE adoptive parents would be preferred over the child's fit, willing, loving biological family.

    Thank you for writing.

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  14. David, thank you for your thoughtful comments about the opportunity this sad case presents to the 'culture of adoption'.

    One important note about the facts is that the ICWA was almost coincidental here. Without Dusten's tribal membership, none of us would know that yet again an adoption agency had led a mother to think that she could place her baby for adoption without getting consent from the child's father. Told a couple that wanted a baby about her child, and asked for their trust and money--only to use tricks that exploit SC paternal notification provisions to obtain what looked like Dusten's agreement to the adoption.

    More broadly, this seems to happen every day and only the cases in which the father is a tribal member, or married to the mother, come to light.

    What are adoption agencies like Nightlight Christian afraid would happen if they only placed children whose original parents had given their consent to the adoption?

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  15. As an Oklahoman and an adoptee, the Baby Veronica case has weighed heavy on my heart. Your writing brings hope that the adoption community will rise up and effect change. Thank you for your voice.

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  16. For those who know more about this case than I do, is there ANYONE, any professional who has a relationship with Veronica and is helping to determine what is best for HER? I have not read anywhere about a guardian ad litem or any less biased person who might be on HER side, not the Brown's side or the Copabianco's side...a person with the least amount of bias possible.

    What people can't and don't understand is the power that biology holds. Setting aside the cultural importance of this case for a moment (and it does have relevance), the biological relationship between Veronica and her Dad is so overlooked. People who experience biological relationship in families don't know what it's like to live without it, how much a part of your being and identity it is.

    As someone who lost her biological ties and then got them back, this is a difficult thing for me to explain, well, impossible.

    But if biology is not important then it should not matter which baby a family takes home from the hospital. If biology is not important then let's shut down Ancestry.com. We have no idea how important these biological ties are to us.

    It is very, very difficult to me how people cannot understand that Veronica will grow up and be an adult...this may well compromise her life...I am not overstating this. I pray for this sweet, innocent child each and every day. Because it's all about her and not at all about HER. Not enough therapy in the world to help her heal if she loses her family in my very humble opinion.

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    1. Julie,
      Veronica has a lawyer to protect HER best interests.

      Unfortunately, I think the legal nightmare and media circus (recent arrest and Troy Dunn charade) are designed to detract the public away from a real discussion about HER best interests and the larger framework of injustices and human rights abuses in adoption and the profiteering as a result.

      This case would be very simple if we just considered that adoption is for safeguard for children who need a family when their original families are unable, unwilling, or unfit to provide a safe environment for their children.

      But the media and the government seem to want to complicate this case as much as possible.

      Julie, I also agree with you about the biology aspect that some people just don't seem to understand or be willing to listen to. Lately, I have come across more and more excellent written work by adopted people, and especially in response to Veronica's case. Here are some that might interest you:

      http://www.thelostdaughters.com/2013/07/with-sad-hearts-lost-daughters-welcome.html
      http://www.thelostdaughters.com/2013/08/baby-veronica-what-adoption-does-to.html
      Neither Peach Nor There - Trail of Tears
      and there are several others

      I also say, let's shut down Ancestry.com, or make it free for adopted people (or better yet, make sure adoption, if done is ethical and necessary, except no money would be made). I heard that Ancestry.com was founded by Paul B. Allen, a mormon who supports and is supported by the adoption industry. I am tired of people exploiting adopted people as children and again as adults.

      And you're not alone in being affected by Veronica's case. It is disturbing.

      www.keepveronicahome.com
      www.facebook.com/StandingOurGroundForVeronicaBrown
      www.nicwa.org/BabyVeronica

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    2. This is so true. I was denied information about my paternal grandmother my entire life and only recently ever saw a picture of her. My son is doing research on her family and believes they were likely Roma. I have often told people it felt like being 'adopted' because my father died when I was 20 and never spoke of his family to me. Now, we are trying to put the pieces together. I am fortunate to have had access to my Irish family - that mean a lot. My point is that not having access to one grandparent has meant never knowing who I look like (it turns out just like her) or what heritage gave me black hair and a dark complexion. So, times that time 1,000 and you can begin to understand how important it is for kids to know their origins and have meaningful access to family and heritage. It is like sailing without the ability to anchor.

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  17. If anyone would like to see a criminal investigation on both the agency that handled the case, as well as on Veronica's birthmother who accepted thousands of dollars in cash and gifts from the Capobiancos, yet used public aid to pay her medical expenses, please consider signing:
    http://www.change.org/petitions/state-of-oklahoma-and-u-s-department-of-justice-eric-holder-investigate-the-adoption-of-veronica-brown

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  18. It's refreshing to hear a Christian perspective that acknowledges the history of the abuse of Christianity of indigenous peoples. European and American domination of American Indians (and all indigenous peoples) was rooted in a pseudo-logic based on the dogmatic principle that they needed to be "brought to Christ." The entire system of federal Indian law is based on this concept; the doctrine of (Christian) discovery is the bedrock principle from which all Indian law flows.

    It is a mistake to think this adoption case is not about "the Christian community hav[ing] no desire to use the power of the state or law to wrest children away from their original communities for the sake of “Christianizing” them or separating them from their birth cultures, as was done so often in the past." Maybe for you and your particular community, Mr. Smolin, this is true. But we are talking about systems that are based on a model of domination (which uses the Christian ideology of the religious inferiority of Native peoples as its justification), now institutionalized into the fabric of society and law, always operating as the background narrative. This is the bigger and much more contentious issue of Baby Veronica, from a Native perspective. How this ends up will have serious reverberations for the future of not only ICWA but will reflect how the American "system" continues to exercise domination over Native nations, and the degree to which it claims to respect their political autonomy (i.e. "sovereignty") within a system of institutional domination.

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    1. Thank you for your very interesting reply, which I think makes some excellent points. As to the point you raised about my "mistake" as to what the case is about---perhaps I did not speak clearly and therefore my point was misunderstood. My point is that the church and Christian adoption movement need to speak up AGAINST these forms of domination NOW, and use the occasion of this high profile case to clearly repudiate the prior practices of using the state or law to take children from communities for the sake of "Christianizing" them. I was not implying that the church has already successfully acknowledged and repudiated this past---most are not aware of it. I also understand your point that regardless of present subjective intent, systems have been built upon the model of domination. Of course in that instance the systems need to change. ICWA of course was designed as a partial response to this history, and that makes it even more unfortunate that the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the law in a way that limits its effectiveness---a topic I did not address in this blog post, but hope to address in the future.

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    2. Excellent and thoughtful reply, I am glad for your words, so true.

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  19. The only thing that will put a dent in this is to prosecute agencies and attorneys for unethical and illegal behavior. At the tail end of the Baby Scoop Era, attorneys were disbarred and imprisoned for unethical and illegal "adoptions". Some safeguards were put in place but the fierce competition for womb-wet infants has created a significant financial incentive to circumvent those safeguards. We can't let them get away with this. When are these agencies going to be subject to RICO? There is certainly a "pattern".

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  20. From an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court by two childrens rights organizations and two attorneys who have fought for childrens rights for decades. "...Birth Father could not object to Adoptive Couple's adoption under South Carolina law because he had abandoned her and her mother." and "The vast majority of states...extended substantive parental rights only to unwed fathers who had demonstrated an actual commitment to parenting and a capacity to assume custody of tehir child, nont merely a desire to block the mother's placement decisions." Eventually, he stepped up to parent, but not in time for him to be legally a parent. He was erroneously given physical custody of Veronica due to ICWA, which SCOTUS ruled doesn't apply in this case. And THEN he refused to follow the law. It's vital that Veronica go home to her adoptive parents, or biological parents could try to get back their kids from stable, loving adoptive homes. That would be terrible for children, and terrible for adoption. There are too many kids who need homes!

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    1. Have you considered that unwed fathers are discriminated against under the law? Why does the law require biological fathers to jump through so many hoops to protect a child from being adopted? The law should ENFORCE that all fathers (legal or putative) be served with adoption papers, not allow a loophole by using Putative Father Registries as a way to bypass father's rights.

      The attorneys who represented the Caps and the Mother were unethical and did everything in their power to get around the ICWA (by misspelling Dusten's name and listing his incorrect birth date). They should be disbarred and Nightlife shut down.

      The Prospective APs entitlement attitude that a child that was "placed" with them is really theirs before a final adoption decree is misguided. And the media storm they created is a way to detract from that basic fact. Four months in, they should have returned Veronica. Period.

      The law did not do justice in this case when the adoption was finalized.

      Father's rights need to be re-evaluated. In every other lawsuit in the country, people are SERVED legal documents before they lose rights. But not putative fathers! They don't count because if they did, attorneys and agencies would be losing money big time in the adoption industry.

      It's wrong and very sad for Veronica and other children who are loved and wanted by their fathers.

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    2. " It's vital that Veronica go home to her adoptive parents, or biological parents could try to get back their kids from stable, loving adoptive homes. That would be terrible for children, and terrible for adoption. There are too many kids who need homes! "

      Oh noes! We can't have biological parents keeping their children! What will the adopters do then? Adopt from foster care? Oh...wait...you do know that there is a shortage of infants to adopt and that hundreds of thousands of children whose parents rights have already been terminated are ready and waiting to be adopted?

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    3. Each adoption should be considered on its individual merits. Giving Veronica back to the adoptive couple simply so no other natural parents can try to get their children back would be, I believe, USING Veronica to that end, and not at all considering HER best interests here.

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    4. The only involvement Nightlight had was to obtain a background report:
      http://www.nightlight.org/2013/09/nightlights-position-openness-domestic-adoption/

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  21. Unknown, your comment "There are too many kids who need homes! " is exactly why Veronica should stay where she is. Adoption is for children who need homes, not for children who have a loving and capable family willing and able to care for them.

    So far all the supporters of sending Veronica back to her prospective adoptive parents have cited numerous legal reason why she should be sent back. I have yet to hear from them how it would be in her best interests to do so? that seems to have fallen off the radar of all the rabid, 'we need to protect adoption' supporters. Supporters who are more than willing to allow an innocent child to be torn from her family, siblings and the life she knows to protect the institution of adoption. To me, it smacks so much of the "don't talk about the abuse suffered at the hands of priests, nuns etc" to protect the institution of the church. I find it so sad when protecting an institution means destroying a child.

    Biology does trump. Sorry to say that but as an adoptee and an adoptive parent, I say that very loudly. If it didn't then why is so much care taken to ensure that the right child goes home with the right parent after birth? If just being a loving family were enough, then we could just send any child home with the 1st available mother to take it and it wouldn't matter to anyone. But it does. It seems that only the adoption world tries to deny the importance of biology in a family, usually because of their own insecurities.

    Yes, biological parents might try to take their children back. that would mean then that agencies and prospective adoptive parents would make sure that the letter of the law was followed in any adoption, it hopefully would mean a change in laws so both mother and father would have time to consider the implications of their actions, it would mean strengthening laws to protect fathers rights. All good things in my book.

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    1. This can't be said enough: If we can never reverse an adoption because of the best interests of the child for stability--there is no leverage to make agencies stop lying to their clients. And if we want to avoid awful cases like this, agencies have to get hit in the head with some type of sanction. I like the RICO suggestion upthread.

      Nothing can justify refusing to return a child whose first parents didn't consent to the placement. However, I'd suspect that PAPs are not typically in a position to make sure the law is followed regarding relinquishment. Agencies' lobbyists wrote those laws, and agencies take money from people who want a child on the pretext that they take care of all the legalities.

      Believe me, adoption agencies are very persuasive in stating that all the children they refer are going to be free for adoption, not informing first fathers, and telling APs that everything is fine, just pay the fee.

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    2. I read on one of the forums about this case that there are states which give the bio parents time to change their mind.I believe this is the best solution, even if sometimes disappointing to the adoptive parents.

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    1. I have family in Canada, but am American. Thanks for your comments!

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  24. There is NO dispute that Dusten Brown abandoned his child, by both OK and SC law. He failed to provide any support before or after her birth. Also not disputed is the fact that avoiding support is the reason he signed his parental rights away. What is up for debate is whether he understood what signing meant (you assume he didn't but have no evidence of this) and whether the biological mom intentionally kept him from the child (you assume she did but have no evidence of this). Your assumptions and your limited and erroneous understanding of the history of adoption lead you to paint the Capobianco's and bio-mom as conspirators in a great plan to dupe poor Dusten. This is why bloggers can't get hired as journalists. Check your facts. Since human culture has been documented adoption has occurred as a mean of, yes, providing security to orphaned children, but more frequently as a means of helping childless couples to have a family. See the Holy Bible for examples. See oral and written histories of every Polynesian culture, for examples. This adoptive process is as natural as the day is long, and not, as you imply, the selfish practice of modern white people (who, like the middle-class Capobianco's, sacrifice much to be able to afford the bizarre costs associated with today's process.) Indeed this natural adoptive practice still occurs in many indigenous cultures and it is as loving and selfless as biological parenting is. The Capobianco's bonded with their longed-for and loved child and have behaved as any parents would to keep her with them and safe when a stranger (yes, blood or no, Dusten was a stranger to Veronica) tried to claim her. Adoptive parents are, and always have been, REAL parents whose bond with their children is precisely the same as a biological parent who has loved and supported a child since before birth. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that biological parents are "better" or even "better suited" parents than adoptive parents are. Your bias against the Capobianco's and Christy Maldonado results in part from your ignorance of adoption and your assumptions about events unknown to you (fueled by claims and heresay promoted by the self-serving interests of the Cherokee Nation.) For facts, see: Saveveronica.org ALOHA.

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    1. you miss the point that as an Indian child (something which is was and will forever be true notwithstanding Dusten's not being defined as a parent under SCOTUS)- the C's et al, had to inform the tribe AND fill out the ICPC form honestly, the did neither. if that had happened V, never would have been able to leave the state and Dusten could have objected immediately instead of 4 months later when he found out. even if as you say, Dusten "wanted to bail", the tribe was entitled to have jurisdiction and placement preferences would have applied-- bio family, another Cherokee family, then another Indian family. without this lying shenanigan- the C's never could have taken Veronica out of the state.
      also you talk about adoptive parents as bonded to Veronica- you fail to understand the converse-- which is all things equal (and they were not- Dusten is honest, the C's are not) but assuming in your fairytale world they were equally capable as parents, children prefer to be raised by a fit loving bio parent, indeed it is their right as recognized by the REST OF THE WORLD.

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    2. Nightlight Christian Adoptions has been the subject of at least two investigative articles by The Charleston Post and Courier where they looked at Nightlight in Greenville and attorney Raymond Godwin. Just go to http://www.postandcourier.com/ and search Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Raymond's wife Laura Beauvais-Godwin heads the Nightlight offices in Greenville SC. Both Nightlight and Godwin's law offices share the same building address at 1527 Wade Hampton Blvd in Greenville, SC.

      For all you Dusten-bashing people, here's what the articles said: "But the larger issue, according to skeptics, is the allegation that some birth mothers, agencies and attorneys conceal adoptions and prevent birth fathers from asserting parental rights."

      "Once these agencies and lawyers get the birth mother on the hook ... they tell these birth moms not to answer any calls from the dads," said Shannon Jones, a Charleston attorney.... "Of course, then they argue the dad is a deadbeat."

      Oh, and the rest of the propaganda was manufactured by Cruella di Vil (aka Jessica Munday) and her PR hacks at Trio Solutions.

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  25. I am adopted. I just do not understand the concept that seems to have taken forefront here, that biology is better. Biology's role in creating a child is but a second of time. Often a baby is created with no intent to do so, no intent to become a parent, no commitment to the mantle of parenthood, no understanding of the level of sacrifice. Those who adopt do so with full knowledge, education, understanding, and are put through a long and rigorous process to determine their willingness. Lesser people would fail the process.

    Dusten Brown made a choice. Not when Veronica was four months old. But when Christy was four or five months pregnant and he refused to support her even though he would years later testify he had the money to do so, just not the desire to. He made that choice over and over when he failed to make any meaningful attempts to contact her. To participate. To find out when the baby was born. To ever be there for that child. To hold her, touch her, even lay eyes on her. You guys need to read up on this, he did not even try to contact her in any way. He tells a different story now, but under oath, he admitted all these things. In the eyes of the law and indeed, in the eyes of anyone with a second of sense, he abandoned that child.

    So excuse me if I don't see for one second why anyone is judging Christy for providing for her baby. Why on EARTH anyone is judging these people for providing a home for a baby who DID NOT HAVE ONE. They did not come and steal this baby from her Daddy, her "daddy" was nowhere around.

    My parents are not "adoptive parents." They are the REAL ones. I feel for the C's. I truly do. But my analysis isn't on their behalf. It is for Veronica's. She deserves, EVERY child deserves, parents who wanted them, who put them first, who never fail them, who never agree to give up their rights, who never shirk their responsibilities. Dusten Brown claimed the protection of a law that was never meant to protect him. This the only reason he ever got back to Oklahoma with that baby. And I don't know why in the world any of you are willing to give him the absolute full faith that he won't do it again. It's not about the C's. It's about this beautiful girl who deserves to have the strongest home she can, from the people who never gave up on her. Including her birth mother, and her REAL PARENTS.

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    1. My birth parents and adoptive parents are both REAL. Veronica deserves to stay with her birth father, grandparents and to have her continued Indian heritage. Just because your REAL PARENTS are put on a pedestal does not mean the Caps are on the same pedestal. They are human just like Dusten and his family. So tired of seeing Aparents pitted against Bio parents as BETTER. It is a myth!

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    2. Your facts are a little skewered-- Dusten attempted to support her but when she decided she wanted out, she was coached to reject his support. Dusten behaved immaturely and was licking his wounds from rejection when he should have been pushing for communication to find out how they were going to co-parent the child. I think he probably thought he would be in the army a lot and the mom would be with the daughter most of the time but as you can see, he switched from the Army to the National Guard to have more time to parent and has taken impeccable care of that little girl.

      And just like with the mother of his first child, he figured he would have access whenever he wanted and I think, in an immature way, he thought Christy would come back to him- perhaps he figured by not giving her funds she would be forced to marry him-- but notwithstanding this stupidity and jerky move- he didn't not intend to abandon his child. If he had intended to abandon the child, why couldn't Christy have said she planned to adopt out the child- why wasn't he served with papers immediately- BECAUSE SHE KNEW HE WOULD OBJECT. Even if you want to say that his early jerkiness should deprive him from being a parent, the bigger sin was the lying on the paperwork which would have prevented V from EVER leaving Oklahoma- there was subterfuge and fraud...and as an Indian child she was ENTITLED to be adopted out by family or other Cherokee or other Indians (IN THAT ORDER) before being adopted by strangers.

      You guys on the other side will never get it- Veronica is entitled to be raised by a fit loving bioparent. That is HER right. SHE shouldn't be punished because of an early mistake by her father.

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  26. It is quite common that the supporters of the Capobianco's state Dusten broke laws of SC and OK by not supporting Maldonado while she was pregnant, what they fail to realize, is that though SC has a law that requires support of a pregnant woman, Oklahoma does NOT have this law. They cannot force laws from SC onto a OK situation. Further, ICWA aside, Oklahoma laws were BROKEN when the Capobianco's took Veronica from the state of Oklahoma.
    In court testimony, it was admitted that the law was not followed concerning both ICWA and removal of children from the state of Oklahoma.
    It has also been proven in court, that Dusten did INDEED offer support to Christine Maldonado, she refused and stopped all contact with him and from him.
    Christine Maldonado did not have the best interest of this child, as it has been testified to by the Capobianco's that they paid at least $40,0000.00 to Christy in money, rent, back child support SHE OWED, and living expenses. It is well known in Bartlesville she began driving a new SUV when earlier she could not afford to pay car payments on a older broken down car.
    The supporter of Capobianco's main theme is "Save Veronica!" Save her from what? Ironic this is being used since the family is not safe living in their own home, and are under protection of the Cherokee Nation Marshalls! They want to "save" her from a father that South Carolina courts found to be fit and loving? That this child will "thrive" with her father and family? What has been happening to this family is death threats, and rocks thrown through their windows, yet they claim they want to "save" her? They have been endangering her and all this little girl wants to do is to return to her home in Nowatta, Oklahoma!
    She does not remember the Capobiancos, and I have a letter from Matt himself stating they know she does not remember them, but they WANT her!
    Yes, this child who has been forced into the public, something her dad has tried to protect her from, but due to the stalking, the lies, the hate that has been thrown at the Brown family, they were forced to come out into the public and state their case!
    It needs to end. Men have rights to raise THEIR children. I do not know what others cannot understand about that. Men do make great loving and nurturing homes for their children.

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    1. Beautifully said, Sam. Thank you.

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    2. I first heard about this case on NPR last year. This is off-topic, but Sam's comments about fathers' rights made me think about the fact that, legally, Veronica's biological mother could've had an abortion without Mr. Brown consenting at all. That seems to me like a failure of the system to consider fathers' rights, and no one seems to even blink about it.

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    3. Actually, it appears Oklahoma does have a similar law. From the Oklahoma adoption code §10-7505-4.2:

      Consent to adoption is not required from a father or putative father of a minor born out of wedlock if:

      1. The minor is placed for adoption within ninety (90) days of birth, and the father or putative father fails to show he has exercised parental rights or duties towards the minor, including, but not limited to, failure to contribute to the support of the mother of the child to the extent of his financial ability during her term of pregnancy

      In any case where a father or putative father of a minor born out of wedlock claims that, prior to the receipt of notice of the hearing provided for in Sections 7505-2.1 and 7505-4.1 of this title, he had been specifically denied knowledge of the minor or denied the opportunity to exercise parental rights and duties toward the minor, such father or putative father must prove to the satisfaction of the court that he made sufficient attempt to discover if he had fathered a minor or made sufficient attempt to exercise parental rights and duties toward the minor prior to the receipt of notice

      Under Oklahoma state law, without ICWA, he likely would have lost as well.

      (South Carolina has a similar exemption for "thwarted" fathers which Dusten Brown was found not to have met the burden of proof)

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    4. Just because it's the law, does not change the reality of this case. The attorneys went around the ICWA. They did wrong. If they had done right, this case would not be even be in the media. Dusten and his family would be raising Veronica and nobody would have ever heard of them.

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    5. if the C's had not lied on paperwork- ICWA still would have prevented V from being adopted by them. SC now pretends there were no other competing adoptions- well there were in OK court (Dusten could not file in SC when his kid was back in OK!)...so under placement preferences- V should still go with her bio family first. Doesn't matter about his parental termination under either state law.
      the question ultimately will turn on jurisdiction. it is a farce that since neither the court nor the lawyers had interpreted the ICWA law to say that Dusten wasn't a parent, that he was allowed to take V back to Oklahoma AND not now allowed to adopt her (surely, trying to assert his bio parental rights would imply that if they hadn't recognized her, he intended to adopt her)....what was he supposed to do- put in adoption papers when he drove out of Charleston, just in case? It strains credulity. Once V left SC, she could no longer be subject to a new adoption petition in SC.....because, drumroll please.... SHE WAS NO LONGER in SOUTH CAROLINA.
      So after SCOTUS, Dusten and family filed adoption papers in OK, where she resided, and informed the SC as such...... Whatever happens in OKSC, the Cs will appeal that.... but will a court say, Dusten really can't adopt his own child, because he hadn't filed papers in SC before those courts gave him custody of his child whom he has been raising for 20 months.
      Again, I repeat- if the ICWA law had been clarified before all this started, Dusten would have simply filed adoption papers in SC and SC would have had to follow ICWA placement preferences and the C's would not have been entitled to Veronica anyway. (SCOTUS never ruled that placement preferences did not apply).....and of course if the lying on the forms in OK hadn't been deemed ok, SC courts never would have had jurisdiction to begin with....
      ...oh, but wait, the SC courts may not have jurisdiction now, b/c the adoption paperwork by the C's was filed BEFORE they ever got Veronica to SC and this does NOT comport with SC's own law...... ergo, the only correct decision they (the SC Supreme Court) could have made was that there were no legal adoption papers filed in their jurisdiction, but there was one filed in Nowata and either sent the case back to OK or stated that the C's needed to file one in Nowata and that SC would rule accordingly.

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  27. Thank you for this very articulated story. As an adoptive mother from the foster care system, I am appalled at the actions of the Capobiancos. And, I am appalled at the disgraceful attitude so many have against Veronica's father. The only two people who know what really happened preceding Veronica's birth, and the 4 month marker is Veronica's birth mother, and her father. Her birth mother did everything possible to hide her from him. How is he supposed to seek out and find out about her while he was serving his country? And just because he did not "support" her or even seek her out, if that is true, that doesn't take away from the fact that he is her father! The Capobianco's knew this was a legal risk adoption, they, the birth mother, and their attorney did everything possible to ensure that Dusten did not find out about this adoption. Why is that? Because some part of the birth mother must have known he would never go for it.

    It is one thing to give full custody of your child to their other bio parent. You can always come back and get visitation/custody later. We don't know the terms of that agreement with the birth mother. We don't have the full conversation, just a few damning texts. But it is an entirely different thing to give up your child for adoption to strangers!

    Private adoption should be obligated to the same criteria as foster care adoptions. All attempts to find the birth father and properly terminate his rights should happen before any petition to adopt is even filed!

    I pray that the right thing happens here and that this case forces changes in our laws. This isn't the 1950s when fathers were the bread winners and not much more. This is 2013 and single fathers raise their children EVERY SINGLE DAY. They deserve to have their own God Given, and Constitutionally recognized opportunities to parent their children, provided that they are safe and secure.

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    1. I am a former child welfare worker & supervisor in South Carolina. I am so upset by the railroading of Dusten Brown, particularly since the case was returned from the US supreme court.
      That the SC supreme court ordered the SC Circuit family court to terminate his parental rights concurrent with approving adoption by the Boeing couple is PROOF that there is no evidence that Brown's parental rights had been terminated by himself or any court any where. This is so different from how TPRs are handled when SCDSS has custody of a child and Dusten Brown is just as entitled to a REAL TPR hearing as anyone who loses a child due to abuse or neglect. The SC supreme court has denied that.
      In my opinion, Brown's attorney made a mistake in not fighting this case on the basis of the lack of legal TPR. There was a case in the mid-west in the 90s that is very similar in many aspects - except the applicability of ICWA - to this case. The child was returned to the bio father in that case and the precedent was established that the child of a parent who has not been legally TPRed cannot be adopted.
      This child needs to be with the biological parent who wants her, not the Boeing baby buyers.

      BTW, there is widespread disregard of ICPC. I am aware of Texas willy nilly sending children to SC to be adopted and SCDSS never knowing about it until they get reports of the child being abused/neglected by the adoptive placement.
      Private adoption COMPANIES are bad for children.

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  28. The attitude that prospective adoptive parents have toward their right to parent another's child may have been born from the law itself. Prior to 1997, Oklahoma state law gave birth mothers 30 days to change their mind after relinquishment. Many mothers thought they would automatically get their child back. Not! What really happened when they asked for their child back was another court hearing where a judge would decide what was in the child's "best interest." Some judges used the fact that the mother had signed a relinquishment and that was reason enough for her not to be fit. Why should an adoptive parent, with no familial connection to a child, be on the same playing field with a birth parent? The birth mothers were being deceived as to the result of signing a relinquishment when they were told to go ahead and sign because you have 30 days to change your mind. Thankfully, in 1997, the legislature changed the law and when a relinquishment is signed there is no a grace period. Attorneys and adoption agencies must work a little harder to deceive these young and vulnerable young parents.

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  29. since she was returned to her father and has been doing well with her bio family she should stay put. If the adopted parents cared about her well being they would stop contesting . This little girl will be full of resentment when she is older. I can't understand when our SS/CPS does everything in its power to keep kids with drug addicted and abusive parents. this is not the case here. The bio father served our country and this is the thanks we give him. I have an adopted daughter and yes she is fully my child,but there is no bio family asking for her. This case is EXACTLY a main reason why people choose not to adopt from the USA.
    about a minute ago

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  30. This story was very well written, I shared it on my Facebook page, I hope you don't mind.

    https://www.facebook.com/theCapobiancosAreKidnappers?ref=hl

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  31. Excellent post, Prof. Smolin. As a foster parent who reunified my former foster daughter with her mother, I am alarmed at how easy it is to terminate parental rights (especially those of unwed fathers) in so-called "voluntary" adoptive placements compared to the many chances given to parents whose children end up in the foster system. So many people vilify Dusten Brown for his early "transgressions," such as they may be. An adversarial relationship between the biological parents can color interpretations of exchanges between them and I am not sure Dusten Brown did anything other than be human during those early months of Veronica's life. Regardless, when the law gave Dusten Brown custody of Veronica, Veronica was gifted back her fundamental right to be raised in the origins of her identity, her biological family. To take that gift away from her by continuing to hound her family with legal maneuvers is just wrong - morally and ethically wrong. Holding that legal trump card to reclaim a child who is someone else's (your adoption was NOT final in 2011), especially when that someone else is proving himself a loving parent who is keeping his daughter safe, is hardly the thinking of someone who is considering Veronica's best interests - any family court can tell you that. I am sad that this can happen, legally, in America.

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  32. This is just another case of legalized kidnapping in America. Is Nightlight a target for RICO charges or is it a specific lawyer.

    Would it ever be successful to begin a class action suit for adult adoptees denied access to their records? Extremely frustrated by the lack of respect for first families in our culture and in the lack of protections for fathers' rights.

    Suzanne

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  33. I've not read anything about the ICPC violations in this case. Can anyone help me understand why?

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    1. I too am puzzled by that. Baby Veronica should never have left Oklahoma to begin with and I am not sure why that is now a non-issue. The South Carolina Supreme Court mentioned it in its 2011 opinion but because the case was not decided based on the ICPC violation it ended up being just that - a mention. I don't know why it isn't being brought up now.

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  35. See...just look at these comments. It would seem that those of us who are trying to focus on WHAT REALLY matters...do not speak the same language. I believe your entire post was about the reality that, "He's a saint/sinner", "She's right/wrong" arguments have zero value at this point...history is not going to change. There were screw ups on both sides...major errors in judgement. Fine. Duly noted. SO not the point in question...and that question would be this...

    Is it right to remove a very nearly four year old child from a loving home with her family(and let me tell you, if she were with the C's at this point, this would apply to them) because you "won" an argument in court and managed to get a judge to push things through without having to navigate any of the standard hurdles in the process(ie best interest hearing)?

    Answer: No. It is not right to do that to the life and world of a nearly four year old child. Period.

    It is really very simple. Which course of action actually(in real time, you know, today...because the clock did not stop on December 31st 2011) has the potential to cause Veronica harm? It certainly isn't leaving her with her family who adore her and have built a beautiful world for her for the last 20+ months. I don't care which side of the "argument" you are on...the only course of action here with any potential for harm...is removing this child from her current family home.

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  36. https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/protect-rights-american-children-and-put-stop-illegal-private-adoption-practices/hg79Slv8

    We need to put a stop to this. We need to protect our children from the new slave trade of the adoption industry. These lawyers are profiting off the broken hearts of defenseless infants, turning them into products to be sold to the highest bidder while biological parents/families have no hope of retaining them, and children who actually need to be adopted are left foundering in the system because they come from "broken homes" and are "damaged goods". These agencies don't want children. They want those perfect adorable newborns that can be molded and bonded to them so they can cry "cruelty! Think of the baby!" when people try to take them back. It's time to think of the children and start to truly put their interests first, no matter what state or court they are in the laws should protect them equally, and hold the private lawyers and the adoption agencies accountable for the damage they do to these children's lives all to make a buck.

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  37. The ICPC paperwork stated that Veronica was Hispanic. There was no mention of her being Cherokee or Native American. That is why the Cs were able to leave the state with her.

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