' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Baby Veronica: Brown released on bail for second time

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Baby Veronica: Brown released on bail for second time

Baby Veronica's biological father was released on bail today after appearing in an Oklahoma court room to answer an extradition warrant signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. Sequoyah County Judge Jeff Payton ordered Dusten Brown released until an extradition hearing on Oct. 3. Brown was released on bail after he was arrested for a second time. 

The ultimate question is, will Dusten Brown go to jail rather than turn over his daughter to people who are now, and will always be, genetic strangers?

Those of us involved in adoption--on either side--are totally caught up in this modern-day tale of a child whom two families are fighting over. The two sides are
diametrically at odds: On one side is the natural father, Dusten Brown, with whom Veronica has been happily living with for nearly two years, on on the other side are the adoptive parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, with whom she lived for two years shortly after she was born, during most of which Brown was fighting to get her back. Various courts have weighed in, but the biggest court of all, the Supreme Court, cast the ominous vote that is propelling her towards the parents to whom she was given by her biological mother, Christy Maldonado.

The case is a legal quagmire--in this court and that court--with gag orders so no one on the outside really knows what is going on, and a judge who recently recused herself--as Justice John Roberts should have done when the case reached his court. 

The case is a snapshot of current adoption practices in America. If the adoptive couple win, many--but not all, as we have seen at FMF--adoptive parents will breathe a sign of relief for the outcome will validate all who have been involved in such battles themselves against natural parents. It will show that the right-leaning Supreme Court is decidedly pro-adoption, so pro that five justices were willing to gut the Indian Child Welfare Act. The final outcome in this case will influence other courts, not only those involved in Native American affairs, but adoption in general, promoting adoptive parents' legal primacy over those of birth/biological parents.

When the Supreme Court bounced the decision back to the South Carolina court, that court almost immediately decided in favor of the Capobiancos, and against the natural father, Brown. The slimy circumstances surrounding the birth mother's relinquishment, the tricky way the father's consent to adoption was obtained, the spurious practices of not only the adoption lawyer from South Carolina, Raymond W. Godwin, but also those of the Oklahoma agency, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, as well the SC guardian ad litem, Jo Prowell, were all ignored.

If Brown somehow prevails--and in truth I do not believe he will, legally--many birth parents, first mothers and fathers who understand all the ramifications of adoption not only to themselves, but to the child, will rejoice. I find myself looking for news, any news, about this case. Facebook is full of anxious commentary from both birth mothers and adoptees. People on the Capobianco page (Save Veronica Rose) are praying for the Capobiancos to win. People on the pro-Dusten Brown page (Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown) rely less on God, more on human decency. Emotions are fraught because the case reminds each of us of our own adoption story, and we are brought back to the same anxious feelings we did when we first lived them. Mothers are reminded of the time of relinquishment. Adoptees, I presume, sense the moment they first understood they were born to another woman, that they have a whole other family and history out there, or some other emotionally loaded memory dealing with their adoption.

Though we are avidly on the side of Brown, we sometimes find pro-Capobianco comments at FMF, as we did last night in the wee hours (2:44 a.m.), informing us we are full of beans:
"I've never read suck (sic) a litany of posts from people that have no true understanding of the law or what has happened in this case....This is without question the most obtuse collection of people I've ever come across on the internet." (See near the end of comments at: Dusten Brown continues to fight for his daughter; the Capobiancos dig in deeper.)
Well, at least we are the "most obtuse; we are not some wishy-washy group.

While this case continues, Lifetime is devoting much air time to adoption-themed movies, most about separation of child from natural parent, via adoption and kidnapping. Last night my husband called to me to turn to Lifetime, and soon I was immersed in Stolen Baby, about the kidnapping of children from Moldova processed with fishy papers to end up in America in "new," families. In Stolen Baby, a brave and courageous adoptive mother who realizes that her child was kidnapped works with the FBI to bring down a ring of murderous Maldovans and the American lawyer in on the deal. At the end, the adoptive mother returns the child to her REAL mother who magically shows up in America. Note the Maldovan connection, for that country, right next Romania, is one of the places Spence-Chapin is devoting their international energy.


Google Maldova adoptions, and this pops up on the Google Page under RainbowKids:
 "Overview. Moldova is a growing program. Moldova enjoys a favorable climate, good farmland, and is famous for its wines. However, it remains the poorest..." 
I could not get the page to open and read more but what that says is that another poor nation is sending its babies out of the country to raise income.

No comment. See the book suggestion below.

Stolen Baby was followed last night, at midnight, by another showing of The Baby Seller, reviewed here earlier.

We are unlikely to be writing about these movies individually, but here are a list of some of the upcoming titles gathered from Lifetime's upcoming schedule under the categories of "tear jerkers" (I'm not kidding) and "drama": Someone Else's Child, The Surrogate, Found, A Child Lost, Her Desperate Choice, Abducted: The Carlina White Story, Losing Isiah, and Adopting Terror, the description of which reads thus:
"Tim and Cheryl Broadbent are excited to finally adopt Mona, a beautiful baby girl. But when the baby’s biological father starts stalking them, their world turns upside down: through intimidation, manipulation, and violence, he is determined to take his daughter back."
I take it the birth father is not a nice guy in Adopting Terror.  It airs 2 p.m. September 14. While for a time a few years ago it appeared that Lifetime was going to make a movie of my story, that vanished into the ether with a new CEO of Lifetime. Way too soft a story line. I didn't kidnap anybody, steal my child back, fight for her in court, or stalk the adoptive parents. How incredibly ho-hum of me.--lorraine
Baby Veronica case: Dusten Brown surrenders to authorities 
Baby Veronica case: Dusten Brown released from custody
Baby Veronica Case: Capobianco Expert Recants Damning Report on Father 
Second Indian Infant Whisked to South Carolina for Quickie Adoption

Why passions run hot in the Veronica Brown story 
(For more on John Roberts' legally iffy adoption of two adorable blond children, see Adoptive father John Roberts: Not impartial in the Baby Veronica case).  
Dusten Brown continues to fight for his daughter; the Capobiancos dig in deeper  The Baby Sellers portrays the dark side of international adoption

Also check out The Adopted Ones; it links to other interesting blogs on the Baby Veronica case.

The Handmaid's Tale
"Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it for everyone, but especially for all literary buffs. Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions. Mentally replace all the Offreds with women in poor countries and young teens in evangelical cultures here in America.  If you order please do so by clicking on the title or picture of the book jacket. We only will get pennies for anything ordered, but thank you in advance. Anything ordered through a FMF link helps. Thanks. 


  1. My daughter and I have been following this story closely on Facebook, too. When one sees a new update, she informs the other. It has brought home to both of us the feelings of losing her daughter, my granddaughter, to adoption. Maybe because of our loss, I too believe Dusten Brown will lose in the end. I don't want to say that, but I've seen so many natural parents lose their children it seems impossible to imagine a different outcome. I hope I am wrong.

  2. That commenter, like many who come down for the Copobiancos, mistakes law for justice, and wrong for right.

    There is simply no moral way that this adoption can be justified. Those lobbying for the adoption can quibble all they want about legal technicalities, but the fact is that this man has tried from the start to be a father to his little girl.

    Many things disturb me about this case, but I think the worst is the fact that the Copobiancos have found a way to justify proceeding. I honestly do not know how they will look the adult Veronica in the eye and square their actions with her.

  3. Kellie, Margie, my heart is in my gut as I read and write about Dusten Brown and Veronica. I am sure it will be day of many tears, no matter who wins. But it is impossible to have any sympathy for the Capobiancos, who should have folded their tents once they realized that Veronica had a father who was willing and wanted to raise her. Their actions are unconscionable.

  4. Lorraine,

    You will enjoy this post...


  5. We may hope that at least some young mothers will learn in time from all the media attention that adopters include some really bad people. You know, always looking for the silver lining of the thundercloud.

  6. Sometimes it takes "obtuse" thinking to reconcile law and justice. The two are not always synonymous. Without what was at one point deemed "obtuse" thinking, we never would have seen cases like "Brown vs. the Board of Education," (desegregation in schools), "Loving vs. Virginia" (right to marry interracially), "Griswold v. Connecticut" (right to plan the birth of one's children) and many other seminal cases come to pass. I am sure Rosa Parks was considered "obtuse" in her day for having the nerve to think maybe she shouldn't always have to sit at the back of the bus, just as Dusten Brown is currently considered audacious for having the nerve to think he should be able to continue to raise his biological daughter in their home.

    The optimist in me says that the "Baby Veronica" case is turning the tide of social consciousness, creating an awareness that the law does not necessarily protect a child's interests in the best possible way. The gap between the numbers of Dusten Brown vs. Capobianco supporters is narrowing and I believe one of the reasons that is happening is because many people see an injustice, an unnecessary abrogation of Veronica's fundamental right to her biological family.

    All the maligners of Dusten Brown (and there have been some terribly mean, sometimes libelous things said) cannot explain this basic disparity: even if Dusten Brown is indeed all of those things, even if he did indeed abandon Veronica's biological mother, that behavior did not come close to meeting the standards that states apply to terminate the parental rights of children in foster care. The states give the parents of children in foster care many chances to rehabilitate because they recognize the importance, to a child, of being with a fit biological family. For the law to apply a completely different standard, a low threshold for terminating the rights of an unwed father when the biological mother voluntarily relinquishes their child, is a disparity that has got to be addressed. If anything, it should be a LOT harder to terminate parental rights in a situation that does not involve a protective issue (child protective services) than it is for cases in foster care.

    I too do not think Dusten Brown will prevail because the Capobiancos will hound him into submitting to the law - a law that is unjust (barring a miraculous opening up of the Capobiancos' hearts and understanding about adoption). I can only hope that Veronica's high profile case serves as the nucleus for legal and social reform. I can only hope that, one day, we will have a different kind of "Adoptive Parents vs. Baby" case, one that applies a more uniform, more forgiving standard that parents must meet in order to keep their children; one that recognizes the tremendous value, to a child, of being raised by his/her biological family as long as that family is taking care of and keeping the child safe.

  7. I think we care so much because we understand the horrid cost to Ronnie if she is given to the adoptive couple. Any mother that relinquished because she was told that her child was better off with two parents, and then found out that her child cried for her most evenings, knows that adoption is a life sentence for a child. I really don't care about Dustin Brown all that much. I give him credit for doing right by his daughter. But it's Ronnie that keeps me up at night. Sure she'll survive with the C's. Most of us get through adoption loss one way or the other. But WHY? Why does she have to cry herself to sleep. The C's think it will end in a couple months. I think they are ca-ra-zy. She will cry out for her father and her family at different times in her life, her whole life. Please Lord, change adoption law in our country. It's the children who turn into adults that are paying the price. Darn shame.

  8. All of these comments saying it basically over and he will lose his daughter to these vultures make my heart sink to the pit of my stomach. He STILL has her. Lets not give up on him and any natural family who has to endure this horrific injustice all because some stranger cant become pregnant...

  9. Thanks for the link to the Haire of the Dog article, theadoptedones. It is a good article that reflects my own feelings.

    I don't understand understand why the virulence that is coming from so many (from both sides). I wish people would be merciful and understand that Veronica would want to stay with her father, who she should have been able to be with from early on.

  10. Let's not give up. It's not over yet. I agree that the tide is turning. I'm seeing more and more articles and comments that side with Dusten Brown. Anyone with a conscience can see that you don't have to go to such lengths to steal a child from a perfectly fit biological parent.

    I don't think Ronnie will be okay if she is, in fact, adopted. I think she will be destroyed by it. She may not show it in public, but remember, in the not too distant future, she will be able to read and understand all of the horrible things the Capos and their supporters and their legal representatives have said about HER father. And yes, Dusten Brown will always be her father. There is no piece of paper on earth that can change that. Just think, she will have to try to love and respect her adopters (not parents) when she knows that they trashed her own father in front of the whole world. My APs have never said a disparaging word about my natural parents. And my natural mother has never said a bad word about them. As it should be.

    Have you noticed that the Capo supporters keep trotting out the same old tired argument about how Dusten acted 4 plus years ago? That's because they have nothing else. They all know perfectly well that Ronnie is safe and loved to pieces.

    There is such a cute picture of Dusten and Veronica reading "Green Eggs and Ham". Personally, I think "Hop on Pop" would be a better selecton. That little girl loves to snuggle with her daddy like there's no tomorrow. I just don't see that happening with Matt C if he does manage to 'legally' kidnap her. There is one picture of Veronica on Matt's lap and while she is smiling, she is also pulling away from him. Nothing like she is with her REAL daddy.

    Adoption, the gift that keeps on destroying.


  11. I am not familiar with intrastate extradition law, but I suspect the answer to the question about jail time relates closely to that issue.

  12. In South Carolina the penalty for custodial interference is a 5 year prison term. How on earth did our country get to a place where a man can be sentenced to prison for raising, providing for, protecting and loving his OWN CHILD?

    We hear so much about deadbeat dads and yet here is a man who may be punished for stepping up to the plate. Dusten Brown had his first daughter after two years of marriage to his first wife. He was engaged when Ronnie was conceived and he wants to be responsible for her. He strikes me as far less flighty and commitment-phobic that many men of his generation. Hardly the loser, slime bucket that the other side is portraying him to be.

  13. Change of venue and time for peaceful protest in South Carolina.
    Saturday, Sept 7th, at 1pm in Columbia, SC.


  14. "In South Carolina the penalty for custodial interference is a 5 year prison term. How on earth did our country get to a place where a man can be sentenced to prison for raising, providing for, protecting and loving his OWN CHILD?"

    If the penalty is 5 years it sounds like a felony. I'm pretty sure the U.S. states have to extradite intrastate for a felony, once a request is made by a Gov., according to the US Constitution.

  15. Some positive news -- orphanages in Moldova and other countries are shrinking and closing. These countries, Moldova, Romania, Georgia, and Rwanda have learned what the US has learned over the past 80 years -- that orphanages and institutions for children with disabilities are harmful to children. Most of the children in orphanages have families and children do much better staying with their families. Helping families is far cheaper than running orphanages.

    From "The Economist" 8/17/13 The Nanny State: Orphanages are closing , but not quickly enough

  16. Having seen how much my own son suffered when he was separated (permanently) from his birthmother when he was three years old, I would implore the Capobiancos to give up their fight to wrest Veronica away from her father. I consider adopting my little boy to be the greatest thing that ever happened to me, but I am sorry for my son's sake he has had to mourn his birthmother. It would be unconscionable for the Capobiancos to tear Veronica away from her family at this point. Further, if they "win" Veronica now, they surely will lose her later, when she realizes that THEY inflicted this pain on her. (I believe the reason my son has been able to bond so well with me is that I was not part of the process of his being separated from his mother, and, as he grows older, the facts will support his instincts.) If I knew the Capobiancos, I'd urge them to sign away their rights to Veronica in exchange for the chance to build a friendship with Veronica's whole family. If they really love Veronica, they would be happy to visit her in Oklahoma and to have Veronica (and her sister) visit them in South Carolina. It would not be the life the Capobiancos had planned, but it would be a life with far less suffering for Veronica.

  17. What kind of people must the Capobiancos be, that they could be doing this, continuing this fight? They must be pretty heartless is all I can say. I'm just heartsick about this case. But I am still holding out hope that there will be a positive outcome, and Veronica will get to stay with her father.

  18. Oh, I am still hoping with every fiber in my being that Dusten Brown gets to raise his little girl and that Veronica gets to be raised by her daddy. But in my heart, I am sick with the feeling that after the Supreme Court ruling, and the quick response of the South Carolina court in the Capobiancos favor, it is more unlikely than ever. However, if there is a hearing that has to do with the "best interests" of the child, and the Cherokee court can prevail (it is hard to imagine that they would decide to take her from her daddy), I fear for the worst: that she is given to genetic strangers, Matt and Melanie Copabiancos.

    Yet you will find on adoptive message boards people who are cheering like crazy for them.

  19. If the Capo's do succeed in getting custody of Veronica, this case will have set an extremely frightening and dangerous precedent. It basically says that a non-genetically related couple can wave a few PAPERS at an unmarried parent and say "You HAVE to give us your child. You have NO say. We have MORE rights than you do. And if you don't hand her over, you will go to prison." This sounds like some kind of Orwellian nightmare to me.

    The United States could be a great country, but we seem to have lost our moral compass.

    @Anon 6:54pm,
    The South Carolina Governor did send an extradition order and Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma recently signed it. She had originally said that she wouldn't sign it as long as Dusten Brown tried to work with the C's. The Brown camp says they had offered the Capo's the opportunity to see Veronica but they refused. The Browns are justifiably wary that the minute the Capo's get their hands on Veronica they will whisk her away to SC, never to be seen by the Browns again.


  20. scalia's dissent in the Supreme Court was brilliant. Adoption has made odd bedfellows on the court and it could hardly be said that this is a conservative only issue.

    I'm an attorney that represents a lot of fathers and occasional mother, in these matters and I find them to be a heartbreaking riddle.

    I love this case. Db is a champion here whether he realizes it or not, there are those of us that are inspired by this traction and are willing to fight harder. Too many people have been duped too long by the adoption industry.

  21. Yo Oliver, thank you!

    Dusten Brown is a champion of father's rights, just as you say, and no matter what happens he will inspire other men to fight for their children when their mothers would give them to strangers.

  22. I was adopted as an infant by people who are much like the Copabiancos. My aparents are incredibly wealthy people, not bad people, just very self centered. In hindsight I blamed myself that I could not be what I felt like I should be for them....I dressed like my mother, decorated my house like her, went to my dad's college. I had to do these things to fit in.

    When I finally met my father at age 46 things really began to change for me...lo and behold, I was so much like HIM. It was not my fault after all.

    It is very hard for me to think about Veronica...I have a real kinship with my father...I finally know what family feels like...and I think she has that already where she is and she may lose that...and just like my family, infertile people wanted a baby and she has not choice. I wish we had a time machine to fast forward and see what her life will be like both with her dad and family and with the Copabiancos...I think I can forecast what would happen...law be damned....how many unjust laws have we been faced with? Just because a law exists does not mean it is just or right. Lee H.



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