The Washington Post
Baby Veronica, now nearly four, will be taken from her natural father and returned to the couple who want to adopt her, Matt and Melinda Copabionco of South Carolina, following a 3-2 decision today by the South Carolina Supreme Court. Her natural mother, according to her attorney, is "over the moon."
This comes only weeks after a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that held that Dusten Brown, and his daughter, Veronica—both citizens of the Cherokee Nation—were essentially not protected under the Indian Child Welfare Act. After that ruling, Brown attempted to adopt his own daughter in Oklahoma, where he has been living with her for the last 18
months, since the high court didn’t recognize his rights as a parent. Oklahoma declined to hear the petition, claiming that South Carolina retained exclusive jurisdiction of the case, since that was where the potential adoptive parents resided.
'WITHOUT REGARD' TO THE CHILD'S BEST INTEREST
The South Carolina court agreed Wednesday to terminate Brown’s parental rights, ruling against him and Cherokee Nation. The ruling means that Matt and Melanie Copabianco, the white couple that sought to adopt Veronica, will now regain custody and finalize the adoption. In a dissenting opinion, two of the justices, Costa M. Pleicones and Donald W. Beatty, pointed out that although the child was placed with the Copabiancos, she went to her adoptive father while still a baby. They protested that the majority’s order of immediate transfer of Baby Veronica to the Capobiancos had been done “without regard to whether such an abrupt transfer would be in the child’s best interest.” Given “all that has happened in her short life,” those two justices said, the family court should be allowed to take the time to sort out what might be best for the little girl.
Brown has five days to petition for a rehearing, though his legal avenues are unclear. I cannot understand the morality of a couple who would pursue an adoption that takes a child from a father who wishes to raise her. He has proven many times over his desire to be a good father to his own daughter. But fathers have a hard time getting respect in the court of public opinion today when so many couples wish to adopt. I cannot understand people who are so grasping for a child that they would prevent her from growing up with her own people. They are the guilty ones here.
If ever there was a clear example of how adoption-oriented our culture has become, this is it. While Brown's legal maneuvering to retain the right to raise his daughter came into question, people on the side of the couple who wish to raise her were virulent in their attacks on Brown. Just a few days ago, I got into a verbal tussel with none other than Troy Dunn, who posted a comment on his Facebook page, hoping that the prospective adopters win this case and get "their" daughter back. Since Dunn has made a career out of reuniting families separated apart by adoption, I was stunned and said so on his "official" page. He reacted angrily, and called Brown a "deadbeat dad." It is true that Brown did not attempt to raise his daughter when he thought her mother was going to, but stepped up to the plate immediately when he learned that the girl would be given up for adoption. Brown has since married, and has been raising her daughter for the last year and half while fighting to retain legal custody of her. Dusten Brown is in no way a "deadbeat dad."
The other day, the mother of the girl, Christy Maldonado, published an opinion piece under her name in The Washington Post urging that the girl be taken from her father, recounting that he was not involved during her pregnancy, and that their relationship had deteriorated by the time the girl was born. We get that. But since then he has shown himself to be a father who cares, and wants to raise his own daughter. Yes, he did sign a paper, in a parking lot, but he says he did not know what it was, and the next day began the process of trying to undue that and reclaim his daughter. He deserves the opportunity and right to raise his daughter; his daughter deserves the right to grow up among her own kin. The Copabiancos might have law on their side, but they do not have righteousness and decency.
Adoption is supposed to be for children who need parents; not couples who want children no matter how they get them. Matt and Melanie Copabianco have shown themselves to be void of any moral authority and human decency. Their only concern is that they have a child. I am sure they have convinced themselves that they are the best parents for the girl, but that does not make them right.
THE DECISION DEMEANS PARENTHOOD--SCALIA
All this seems incredibly personal to me because my own daughter, whom I relinquished for adoption, fought the father of her first daughter, when he wanted to raise her. The year was 1986. He was a black man fighting the white power structure of Wisconsin. I repeatedly urged my daughter to let the father raise the girl, with his mother, as I heard he was hoping to do, but my daughter was adamant; their daughter would be adopted. In an effort to shut me up, she told me the father was a heavy drug user, but I did not believe her. As much as I hate writing this, she did not tell the truth when it was convenient to not tell the truth and until I had proof that he was a serious addict, I had no reason to believe her on this. She told me more lies about how the girl was adopted, how she met the adoptive parents, how she shook their hands. None of it was true, as I learned when I found the young woman a few years ago.
The father of my granddaughter lost. And today, Dusten Brown is also losing. So is his daughter, Veronica. When a birth/first mother does not want to raise her child, and the father does, he should have that right, and the child should have the right to be with her own people. This decision is wrong on its face, is wrong ethically, and belongs in the Dred Scott heap of decisions that are remembered as wrong.
It is worth repeating here the words of Justice Antonin Scalia, who sided with the minority decision of the Supreme Court and support Dusten Brown in his quest to keep his child:
"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."That pretty much sums it up. Today is a sad day for parents and children.--lorraine
Baby Veronica To Be Adopted by White Couple
Baby Veronica belongs with her adoptive parents By Christy Maldonado
'Baby Veronica's' father, grandparents file to adopt 3-year-old girl
Supreme Court rules against Indian father, limits Indian Child Welfare Act
A father's right to raise his own daughter hinges on 'Indian' act
Returning a child to her father is the right decision
Can the media get adoption right?
Adoptive father John Roberts: Not impartial in the Baby Veronica case
Troy the Locator (Official)
(Look under the comments by others on the right-hand side. It's back a few days ago.)