|Veronica Brown yesterday|
From new reports we learned that Dusten Brown said goodbye to Veronica at Jack Brown House, the tribal headquarters where they have been living in Tahlequah. As Brown and his wife, Robin, watched from a window, a Cherokee County sheriff's deputy and a Cherokee Nation marshal led Veronica to the nearby marshal's building, where the handover occurred about 7:30 p.m.
Brown gave up custody after the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted a ruling keeping Veronica in the state while he tried to win permanent custody. Both families remain under a gag order, but friends and allies representing each family confirmed the exchange of the child. Brown has no visitation rights.
Shortly after the exchange, Amanda Clinton, a spokeswoman for the Cherokee Nation, said that the handoff was highly emotional. Dusten cried after she was finally gone. Brown's father—Veronica's grandfather—went into "medical distress" and was taken to a hospital to determine whether he had had a heart attack, Clinton said.
HOW WILL SHE WAKE UP TOMORROW?
So that's the bare bones news. I was sick most of yesterday and when I read the news last night, I felt the watery and swollen eyes I spent the day with--courtesy of allergies--reflected the tears I feel inside of me today. Some might say that I--who gave up a daughter for adoption myself--have no right to feel sadness over this transfer of a child: I allowed it to happen to my daughter. But that has been the huge mistake of my life that has never left me, the sense of loss that has been all encompassing, and remains a huge part of who I still am today. I hear of this loss to Dusten, and Veronica, and I sink back to the terrible, empty feelings I had when I bowed to the will of a society and my sense of parental disapproval and crippling shame because I would be an unmarried mother, a mother out of wedlock, raising a bastard. Single mother as a phrase did not exist then. We were "unmarried," and worthy only of whispers.
Pictures have been released of Veronica playing and smiling with her adoptive parents. We don't know
exactly how she will wake up this morning and look around her and find herself with these people. We don't know how she will react to being, once again, with people who share none of her blood or traits or characteristics. Often the differences don't arise so tellingly until later, when a heavy footfall in a family of light feet causes one to be "corrected" on a near daily basis. As my daughter was.
Some adopted people seem to sail through this dislocation from their original families with seemingly little or no distress, to hear them tell it. Many say they were happy not to be raised with their true families, once they find the families they are related to by blood, who may be poorer, less settled, less educated than the those who raised them. Others freely talk about how unlike they are from their adoptive families, how they have nothing in common with them, and now how, as adults, they live far away and rarely see them. I know many people like that.
In my own case, I'm not going to say that my daughter did not love her adoptive parents; or that they did not raise her well and handle her medical problems and give her material comfort beyond what I would have been able to; they did. But I was aware of how their estrangement led to her constantly trying to win their approval, but never to truly gain it. My daughter Jane had epilepsy and emotional problems that, yes, I feel I would have handled better, and she would not have had to labor under the feeling of not being "good enough" to naturally have her mother's love. Jane always felt she had to earn their love, over and over. When she finally got to a technical college--after being labeled as "learning disabled" in high school--and was getting all As, she was more than thrilled, she was ecstatic. But then when I visited that summer, her adoptive mother would turn to me and say she was irritated with the way Jane bragged about doing well in school, because she herself was raising children herself when she went back to school and got an advanced degree. It didn't even seem to register that our shared daughter had labored under so many handicaps, and that for her to be actually getting As in college--any college--was nothing short of a miracle.
|Jane and Lorraine, 1983|
In her adoptive family, Jane was also in a situation where she was sexually abused by a family friend, and then her parents did not believe her when she finally had the courage to tell them what had been going on, and why she disliked this older man so much. He was living with a member of the family, and was not asked to leave; and not until his partner died several years later did her adoptive mother say that she believed Jane. Even the fact that Jane was heavily sedated during the period she said the abuse occurred did not signal an alarm that she was even more susceptible to a predator than she might have been otherwise at twelve, thirteen. Her adoptive parents had trouble believing her, because in truth, Jane did lie, she lied all the time about nearly everything. So you had to dig deep to make sure she was telling the truth on this. What her adoptive parents did not connect was that being adopted and being sexually abused both lead to story telling because the person feels that her whole life is a lie, and so what difference does an additional one make? I was in no position to be their teacher about adoption issues. I was never aware that they did any reading about the psychology of raising an adopted child, and when I sent her adoptive mother a copy of The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, I never heard a response other than she received it--when I asked. If she read it, she never shared that with me.
'IF JANE DIVORCES, I'LL TAKE THE HUSBAND'
Today as Veronica Brown is already probably on her way to South Carolina, I am thinking about all these unpleasant things. I am thinking about the time Jane's mother looked at me and said that if Jane, divorced, she would "take X," the husband, instead of Jane. I was just dumbfounded, speechless: What kind of parent says that? Now it's possible that early Alzheimer's was underway, as the mother now suffers from that, but the point is, she said it years ago while seemingly in full possession of her wits. And she said it to me on two different occasions. "I'll take the spouse of my daughter" in case of divorce...does a real parent, a biological parent, ever even think like that, think like that so that when the Alzheimer's lets angry truth out, that is what comes? Some of these things I have never revealed before in print, but today, they are just bubbling up, as examples of how adoption hurt my daughter. I am still and quiet today, after an exhausting day yesterday dealing with two doctors and two different ailments, and perhaps that has freed my mind. I am angry this case turned out this way. I no longer feel the need to hide some of the worst examples of what Jane's adoptive mother said to me, to her.
These things happened to my daughter, but I am not going to accuse the Capobiancos of anything like the above. Perhaps they will not have a troubled daughter such as my daughter was; but my daughter's seizures did not begin until she was five, past the age of Veronica. Up to then, she was a normal, bright little girl, her parents have told me. Time will tell how Veronica will fare. My husband is adamant that Veronica will grow up resenting the Capobiancos.
I hate it when the Capobiancos use the language of the girl being with her "parents" who will take her "home," implying that is where she has belonged all along. It's not her home; it's the place they bought for her and themselves, so they could have a child after years of trying to have one themselves. We do not know how old they were--how past Melanie's fertile years--when they started trying to conceive to have one of their own. Their blog has never revealed that truth. No matter what, Veronica is a replacement child for one they could not conceive on their own. And she will grow up knowing that, no words will be needed to tell her.
MONEY CAN BUY YOU A CHILD
A couple of weeks ago, I posted how I was beginning to feel hopeful that justice would prevail, despite the unprincipled and immoral decision of the Supreme Court that gutted the Indian Child Welfare Act in ruling on this case in June. But realistically, after the Supreme Court's remarkable decision, this outcome was probably inevitable. Perhaps it is why the other day I nominated Chief Justice John Roberts for Pound Pup's Demon in Adoption award (see sidebar). Although he did not write the decision--Samuel Alito did--Roberts's own highly questionable adoption of blond Irish children (a boy and a girl) from South America leaves him morally groundless on any issue connected to adoption. I sense his hand all over this decision, Adoptive Couple vs Baby Girl.
Today is a sad day for all of us who believe that whenever possible children ought to be raised by their parents--their true parents, not ones who bought a paid off mother in order to get their child, as the facts of the case lead us to believe happened here. After Christy Maldonado gave them Veronica, she was suddenly able to pay off her debts and trade in her heap for a new SUV. We are indeed living in a time when money can buy you a daughter. The Capobiancos just did.--lorraine
Baby Veronica: How Dusten Brown could prevail in battle over his daughter
Baby Veronica: Brown released on bail for second time
Why passions run hot in the Veronica Brown story
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
This book can only help an adoptive parent understand their child, and an adoptee understand themselves which will only enhance their lives. Though controversial, it continues to inform and reassure that adoptee feelings are normal for the situation. I found it immensely helpful in understanding the stresses of being adopted that were placed on my daughter. Highly recommended.
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