|Veronica, happy with daddy Dusten Brown|
For first mothers, the answer is: Because we are reminded of how it felt to relinquish our own children.
For adoptees: Because at some level we understand what is lost when we were removed from our own families and given to another.
For adoptive parents, the answer must be as personal: those who feel that the girl belongs with
Matt and Melanie Capobianco, the adoptive parents-in-waiting, are thoroughly convinced that the "better life" they imagine for "Baby Veronica,"--now weeks away from turning four--is the better family for her; those who wish her to stay with her natural father have found the compassion to understand that they, as parents, are making the best of a bad situation for the child, and are dismayed as the Capobiancos tarnish the reputation of all adoptive parents.
As for myself as a first/birth mother, I keep scanning the news, hoping that Veronica be allowed to stay with her father, Dusten Brown, and react to any news on a visceral level. Support is rallying for him, but I am dismayed to see that the Capobiancos Facebook page (Save Veronica Rose) has over 2,000 more "Likes" than the supporters of Dusten Brown page (Standing our Ground for Veronica Brown).*
|Veronica's father, Dusten Brown, AT Cherokee Nation Courthouse|
Since a judge put a gag order on both parties, news on the case has been scant, but this we know:
- A Cherokee County, Oklahoma court has been asked to suspend the visits between the Capobiancos until further hearings can be held, confirming that the couple from South Carolina have seen Veronica. It is likely she has no recollection of them.
- Special Judge Holli Wells has removed herself from the case, according to a court docket that was available Sunday. No reason was given.
- In a flurry of activity that came Friday at the Cherokee County courthouse, the Capobiancos appear to be objecting to the appointment of a guardian ad litem to represent Veronica's “best interests” as the court proceedings drag on. That guardian is attorney Angel Smith, appointed to represent Veronica’s interests in a Cherokee Nation court, and apparently also in Cherokee County court.
- Jan Hunt, a family counselor and author with a focus on attachment and bonding, has recanted the letter she wrote to a South Carolina court urging Veronica go to the adoptive couple. Hunt says she was not given accurate information about an anonymous case which she was asked to analyze and to recommend placement of the child. Furthermore, she says she was asked to rewrite the letter several times over a period of two weeks as the request of the guardian ad litem in South Carolina, who hired Hunt. The anonymous father, Hunt says, was described as a terrible person and a loser. She was informed that the biological family was only requesting the child so the tribe would get more money, based on their numbers, and that the adoptive couple were being treated badly.
- Jo Prowell, the guardian ad litem in South Carolina, has been involved in several contested adoptions in which attorney Raymond Godwin represented the prospective adoptive parents and Nightlight Christian Adoptions, based in Greenville, S.C. In this capacity, Prowell testified in favor of Godwin's clients, the Capobiancos. Incidentally, Prowell is not an attorney; Godwin is the Capobiancos original attorney in the adoption, and certainly the one behind getting Brown to sign away his rights in a parking lot shortly before he deployed to Iraq, without making clear to him what he was actually signing. (Brown immediately tried to get the paper back.)
- Godwin** is also the attorney in another case involving an Indian child from Oklahoma being placed illegally for adoption in South Carolina. Currently, the infant, Deserey, is living with another pre-adoptive couple in South Carolina with no custody order in place and no signed Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children application on file with the State of Oklahoma. In this case, the non-Indian biological father, Jeremy Simmons, has been supported by the infant's biological Indian grandmother in seeking to return his daughter back to Oklahoma to his custody.
While this case continues, and Veronica approaches four on September 15, I read this in a scholarly review of Gone Baby Gone, the Ben Affleck movie about a "good," well-to-do police chief who steals a baby from a drug-addicted mother--promising to clean up her act--and who wants to raise her own child:
"At its heart, Gone Baby Gone is a morality play. As alluded to, the ultimate question posed is whether it is acceptable to steal children from poor families and give them to rich families. When the question is phrased in such simple terms, most people, I think, would consider the answer to be an obvious one. So why, then, did the audience in the theater where I saw the film disagree?"The reviewer, Kimberly Kirkland, notes the people cheered that the girl had not been raised by her less-than-admirable mother. Kirkland goes on to talk about children stolen from poverty-stricken Chad, as well as the Aboriginal children who were taken from their parents in Australia to be raised "white" in prosperous white homes, and reports this astounding fact:
"An investigation into the long-term effects upon the removed Aboriginal children indicated that, contrary to expectations, these individuals were less likely than those left behind [with the Aboriginal families] to have completed secondary education and were significantly more likely to engage in criminal behavior and to abuse substances (Bereson, 1989)."Baby Veronica is not going to be raised in poverty if she stays with her natural father, Dusten Brown, and the idea that she will be better of financially with the Capobiancos is not an argument that anyone is actually making in print. Yet what has crept into the social consciousness is that the Capobiancos, who must have known from the onset of this adoption, that there was a problem because the father was a member of the Cherokee tribe, is that somehow they "deserve" this child because they went ahead and were able to raise her under murky legal circumstances for two years. Those adoptive parents who support them have a great fear of all biological parents, who might emerge to "take back" their children. Their support never talks of the immorality of keeping a child from her natural parents, but hones in on the law, the legal documents obtained under unethical practices. The large and well greased machinery of the adoption industry supports the Capobiancos with all its might, for a win here by a natural father jeopardizes an entire lucrative industry.
Veronica must be allowed stay with her father and her true family. That is her birthright.--lorraine
*If you haven't already done so, please increase the number of supporters of the Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown page on Facebook.
Many thanks for adoptive mother Jay Iyer for the link to the analysis of Gone Baby Gone in Contemporary Psychology, the American Psychological Association review, and for other insights. Link below. Read her compelling insights on not keeping a child when a birth parent wants her back at Adoptive parent shares thoughts on having returned a girl to her mother
Baby Veronica Case: Capobianco Expert Recants Damning Report on Father
Second Indian Infant Whisked to South Carolina for Quickie Adoption Expert Says Cherokee Courts May Have Final Say In 'Baby Veronica' Case Both sides assemble in U.S. 'Baby Veronica' adoption case Parental Rights Are Human Rights
Adoptive father John Roberts: Not impartial in the Baby Veronica case
Dusten Brown continues to fight for his daughter; the Capobiancos dig in deeper
'Baby Veronica' adoption will go forward
**For More on Godwin's questionable actics:
Finding babies through Facebook. And your manicurist. And....
Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents, and Adoptive Parents
by Jean Strauss "An adoptee offers compassionate and comprehensive guidance to locating adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents. Strauss proceeds from the view that seeking reunion with relatives estranged by adoption is a good thing, and she marshals impressive reasoning and evidence to support her case. Strauss interweaves the story of the search for her own birth parents with the strategies for finding birth relatives, and whether or not one agrees with the practice of adoptees or birth parents initiating searches for lost relatives, she tells that personal story compellingly." --Amazon
Order by clicking on the book jacket icon or the title above.
Gone, Baby, Gone: A Novel
"Vanished is four-year-old Amanda McCready, taken one night from her apartment in Dorchester, a working-class section of Boston, where her mother had left her alone. In tracing the history of Amanda's neglectful mother, whose past involved her with a drug lord and his minions, those tracking the crime quickly find themselves tangling with Boston's underworld and involved in what appears to be a coup among criminals. Lehane tackles corruption in many forms as he brings his complicated plot to its satisfying resolution, at the same time leaving readers to ponder moral questions about social and individual responsibility long after the last page is turned."-Publisher's Weekly, condensed review. Lorraine loved the movie, didn't read the book. Yet.