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2 Year-Old Girl Returned to Biological Father


On December 31st, a two year-old girl in South Carolina was legally forced to leave her adoptive family.  She began on a 20 hour car trip to Oklahoma, to live with her her biological father, who had relinquished his rights at the time of the child’s birth.

A couple in South Carolina adopted this girl, Veronica, at the time of her birth.  The birth mother was supportive of the adoption, and states that the biological father knew of her pregnancy and adoption plans.  She said he never financially or emotionally supported her.  The adoptive family has a stable, loving home and maintains an open relationship with the birth mother.

When Veronica was 4 months old, the biological father began to legally fight for his paternal rights back.  He joined the Cherokee Nation, who used the Indian Child Welfare Act, a 1978 law designed to preserve Native American families, as their argument for him to retain parental rights.

Veronica’s birth mother, who was once engaged to the biological father, claims that he never once told her about his Cherokee heritage.  The biological father claims that the birth mother hid the adoption plans, and he thought he was giving up his parental rights to her.

At this point, the adoptive parents are heart-broken and awaiting for April when their appeal to the courts will be heard.  They have a
“Save Veronica” website where they are asking for people’s support for them gaining back full parental rights to Veronica, and in overturning the government’s use of the Indian Child Welfare Act.


What are your thoughts on this story?
Where do you think Veronica should be living?
Do you think the Indian Child Welfare Act is being used improperly?
Is this a case where birth father’s rights are not being fully considered?
Any words to pass along to the adoptive parents as they fight to get their daughter back?


Danielle
AFC Community Moderator

Replies

Very scary story, and one that I think all adoptive parents have feared at one time or another.  I think this little girl should stay with her adoptive parents and slowly build a relationship with her biological dad.  I hope the courts will help this to happen as I think it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with everyone in the “adoption triad”.  I hope she gets placed back with her (adoptive) family soon.

Posted by Joanne0911 on Jan 04, 2012 at 1:26am

I think I would have returned the child at 4 months if the father was stable employed and substance free. To drag it out for 2 years is not in the best interest of the child in my opinion. That said, I could very easily find myself in the same circumstance so I don’t know how I would feel faced with the reality of losing my baby boy.

UPDATE: I had time to read the story from several sources. To me, if he signed the papers, that is that, he should not have custody of Veronica. The law is being misused in his case and was never meant for this sort of situation.

Posted by tarahj65 on Jan 04, 2012 at 1:27am

Without knowing all the details of what happened between closed doors of the birth parents I’ll let others comment…but I heard this NPR piece a few months ago. It is indeed interesting as it applies to retaining Native American Heritage and why the Federal Law is in place.

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/31/141872944/improving-foster-care-for-native-american-kids

Posted by LizLee on Jan 04, 2012 at 2:53am

If a waiver of parental rights has been fraudulently obtained, the defrauded parent has a right to come looking for their child.  It sounds like he did so within a reasonable time (4 months, I know in Texas the limit is 6 months).  The method he used seems shady to me, however.  If the man never showed any interest in his Cherokee heritage, and then suddenly joined the Nation so he could use his special status to reclaim a child he waived parental rights to, I’m extremely suspicious of his motives and stability.

Unfortunately, this is all he-said/she-said, and it’s unlikely anyone will ever really know the truth, aside from the principal players.  My heart breaks for the adoptive parents and for the child.  It’s ridiculous that the courts couldn’t have settled this in a reasonable time frame so that the disruption to her would be minimal, whatever the decision.

I completely understand the Indian Child Welfare Act, its necessity, its history, etc.  However, on its face, this seems like an abuse of the law.

Posted by Thalas'shaya on Jan 04, 2012 at 3:05am

What a sad story.  It definitely speaks for requiring the father to actually relinquish his rights (or not) in writing with prior clear and full information about the consequences whatever the decision is, so that both parents make a fully informed decision.

I can imagine this from his perspective…but one has to wonder if he was so concerned about his child why no support as long as she was with (he thought) the birth mother?  Now that is creepy!!  Is he intending to raise her now or does he have someone else (a relative?) intending to step in and raise the child??

  It does seem like it may hinge on what the laws are in their state in regards to time allowed to legally change one’s mind.  I hope there is some way for the child to stay where she is and also have an open, and more present, relationship with the birth father.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 04, 2012 at 5:08am

A tad bit off subject: Native Americans should be held to the same standards of child care/parenting that all of us are. Many are upset their children are put in foster care and eventually adopted. The Indian Child Welfare Act does not help. In this case the father should have been held to the same standard any father would be with regards to parental rights, his Native American heritage should not even be a factor. The Indian Child Welfare Act to me is a joke and Native Americans are just Americans like all of us. I am no more a Swedish American than they are a Native American. We all need to have the same laws and standards. You should not be able to hide behind a law at the expense of a child. We should get back to the basics of “the best interest of the child” and not tippy toe around a culture. Just my opinion.

Posted by Private And Foster Mom on Jan 04, 2012 at 7:55pm

I was under the impression that if you signed a legal document, the burden of READING what you’re agreeing to is your own.  It shouldn’t matter that the biological father thought he was signing his paternal rights away so the biological mother could raise the baby.  The truth was right there in black-&-white!  If people in this country can claim, “yes - I am literate & I signed it, but it wasn’t what I expected” - that’s a terribly slippery slope to be going down.  People will start claiming that left & right now!  To me, he signed it of his own free will, & he knew of his Indian heritage, but still signed his rights away.  That confused little girl should still be with her adoptive parents.

Posted by Lara on Jan 05, 2012 at 5:54am

Private And Foster Mom:  I get what you’re saying about the standards being the same for all people.  But I strongly disagree with your comment that the Indian Child Welfare Act is a joke.  As adoptive parents, we are the most vocal, most powerful, and most active advocates available for ethical adoptive practices.  If we are uneducated about adoption history, or if we are apathetic about correcting the historical wrongs of adoption, we are enabling the perpetuation of these wrongs in other settings.  When law changes are proposed that would dilute the stringent requirements of ethical adoptive practices, we have to be the ones who stand against them.  When law changes are proposed that would make adoption more transparent, more ethical, or more beneficial to the children being adopted, we have to stand up and support them.  All that said, if you believe the Indian Child Welfare Act is a joke, I respectfully suggest you read this article: http://freepages.misc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~msroots/BMA/BMGEN3.htm  and then this one: http://64.38.12.138/News/2009/012641.asp

I hope they give you a new perspective on the law and the need for it.  That said, this particular case sounds to me like one in which a birthfather didn’t read the paperwork he was asked to sign.  After several months had passed, he went to a lawyer and either figured out that he couldn’t prove fraud or that his filing deadline had passed.  Somebody mentioned to the birthfather that he could claim his native heritage and “win” the baby back, and he stopped thinking about what was best for the child already living in a stable safe home, and started thinking about winning a fight.

Posted by Thalas'shaya on Jan 05, 2012 at 10:12am

Here is another article on this story, from the girl’s birth mother’s point of view.  She states that the birth father only offered to financially help her during her pregnancy and afterward if she agreed to marry him.  She believes that she made the best decision for her daughter and wishes her to be returned to the adoptive parents. 

Are your thoughts on this situation changing at all as you read more about it?

Posted by Danielle Pennel on Jan 05, 2012 at 6:57pm

Oh gosh. This is terrifying from every perspective.

Posted by OHSmalls on Jan 05, 2012 at 6:59pm
Posted by gqqfier15 on Jan 05, 2012 at 7:54pm

Here is what some people over on the Adoptive Families Facebook page had to say about this case:

Laura Aquino Richburg This is right here in my town and its heartbreaking to know about this. For anyone interested there is a patition going on Change.org for Veronica to be reunited with her parents.

Amber Austin So very sad.

Laura Aquino Richburg http://www.95sx.com/article.asp?id=2364569
http://www.change.org/petitions/save-veronica

Cindy Coleman Wooters I can not imagine! My heart breaks for the parents!

Hillary Moore And this is why people are scared to adopt. We must have asked 100 times the last 5 months if this would happen, what might happen if…but its just so sad..broken hearts.

Holly Johnston So sad for ALL involved! The interest won’t last and then the baby will be a statistic.

Sara Smith Eggerman That is AWFUL!!!!

Sara Orr Floyd I am an ICWA foster family. I grew up on a reservation with half my family being Native. My parents fostered their nephew… Same blood family, same tribe… he was still taken away from them and given to his druggie drunk mother. I have adopted 3 Native children. I am now in a similar situation fostering a baby boy who I know in my heart-of-hearts is going to be taken from me because of ICWA. I understand where ICWA might’ve come from. I don’t understand why the laws aren’t updated to safeguard the children. If I read right, this “father” gave up his parental rights, found out the baby was adopted, and then joined the Cherokee Nation just so he could get a baby back he gave up his rights to. ICWA is not protecting this child. Isn’t it safer and healthier for a child to grow up in a loving, caring family rather than be forced into a situation that could be any less than that just for the sake of heritage? And in this case, a heritage that was apparently never lived or acknowledged by this “father” prior to now? Give me a break. My heart aches for this family losing their daughter.

Elizabeth Falk So SOOOO wrong, IMHO.

Rob Duval This is awful. And shouldn’t be possible. *BUT* there aren’t nearly enough details in this story for an assessment of what happened. What are the details of him relinquishing his parental rights? Did he actually sign a surrender as BMs must do? Or did he simply not file with the putative father registry? Was any Native American ancestry known/stated at the time of birth/adoption? Where are the legal protections for the adoptive parents.

Lisa Spragia That is absolutely horrible! What a shame!

Nicole Kippel Whether or not I like the outcome is irrelevant, Native Americans are sovereign nations. And yes, I couldn’t imagine my kids being taken 2 years later….

Denise Kyle As an adoptive parent, this is my worst nightmare!!! This child is old enough to know who her mommy and daddy are and it is not her birthfather….terrible!!!!

Margaret Kimura-Heymann OK call me biased, but in this situation the child did not know this man at all; the adoptive parents are clearly and psychologically her family! No matter what blood means to the courts, it is not always the case like this… Especially after bio father reneged his rights initially..
This is why the concept of Family first” rather than “Children first” really irks me.. Children have absolutely no due process….

Laura Aquino Richburg Rob, he signed over his rights when the birth mother did, when Veronica was born. He’s saying that in his heritage its illegal to break up a family and that law that have allowes for him to get her back….which is crazy!

Cassandra Lee Jones The sad truth is, so many of us know this feeling of fear while trying to adopt an indian child. And so many don’t even know the ICWA law exists or why or how it works! I hope anyone considering adopting a Native American Child, researches into ICWA. We won the fight in our family, but so many never do. My heart goes out to that little girl and her adoptive family. Adoption in general is a complicated, emotional process for parents and children. ICWA just makes it much more complicated. I really do think in this generation it hurts more families, then it helps.

Janna Davis Haik The problem I have with this is that he joined the Cherokee Nation AFTER he relinquished his rights, and only because it was convenient for him in his quest to get his child back did he join the nation. I understand the ICWA, but for it to be abused in this way gives the act and the Cherokee Nation standing behind the birthfather a bad name. Not to mention the damage this has done to adoption and this poor child. If he was involved in the Nation before relinquishment that would be different. But he wasn’t. He showed no interest or support for the birthmother during pregnancy. Had he done that, the child might not be in this situation in the first place because the birthmother wouldn’t have felt she couldn’t care for her daughter. This whole situation is sad, and could have been avoided had the birthfather been responsible from the beginning.

Christen Bufford Oh hell no!

Lori Armstrong Yankel People always question my decision on why I adopted my son internationally. This is exactly the reason why! My heart goes out to the adoptive family.

Melinda Hamby To play devil’s advocate: The father may or may not have understood the mother was going to adopt the baby to this couple, but he did file his petition 4 months later. The courts are the ones who have truly and totally done wrong by this child and her adoptive parents. As part native myself, I do understand the need for the Act, the actions of our government against our children in the past were criminal - and I don’t trust them to never do anything similar in the future. I think before a court takes the severing of parent rights, though, they need to make sure all the parties involved truly understand what they are signing away. That will make sure nothing like this, and other stories in the past, will happen again.

Cassandra Lee Jones Its a VERY EXTENSIVE PROCESS when rights are revoked, or given up by the birthparents. Its not some simple choice that is made!!! Birthparents have an infinite amount of time to decide and can draw it out forever if they so wish it, and are assisted by the courts. The error is not in the court system, but in the Law itself.

Terri Longfellow Fuller The birthdad should no longer have ANY rights. He surrendered them. And if he cared about this child, he would allow her to stay with her parents.

Susan Rakay So sad. My heart breaks for the child.

Erin Bender This is a terribly awful story my heart goes out to that little girl and he parents….but it makes me just as sad to see several u posting this is y u only adopt internationally…adoption shouldn’t be so selfish just because u r afraid something like this could happen u don’t want to give an opportunity to a child here to have a family? I’d risk everything all over again for my son and as a matter of fact we r by being in the process for our second child as we speak. Having children is always risky whether its adoption or giving birth…internationally u risk things like kidnapping victims (I know ur saying no not us we are with accredited agencies blah blah blah but realistically people are shady and u never know), biologically u risk ur own death and domestically u risk returns…I think its ridiculous to say one way OS better than the others they are all stressful but have the potential for amzing outcomes for all involved.

Misty Reim Williston WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS!!! He gave up parental rights. It makes me want to throw up. We’ve had our precious baby boy, adopted domestically, home for almost 2 months. He’s OUR child. I’m so thankful for the birthfamily who chose us and can’t begin to express my gratitude for God allowing them to be part the plan for our family. I can’t imagine what these adoptive REAL parents are feeling. They did everything right. SO NOT FAIR.

Jocelyn Conway Malone That man should not be able to call himself “father”. No real father would ever subject their child to such trauma, just so he could have what he wanted. I cannot begin to imagine the terror that poor child must feel, and the loss that her parents have to endure.

Kathryn Felski Helgren Where is the unlike button on Erin Bender’s comment?

Shelley Aldridge Oh Erin, children needing families is a global issue, not just here in the US. Don’t judge adoptive parents for their reasons for adopting internationally, but instead praise them for adopting at all!!!

Christina Marie White i didn’t see Erin’s comment as judgemental. It’s a reality that both domestic and international adoptions have an occassional rare nightmare situation. Wasn’t there a story recently about a family returning their child to it’s birthparents in another country because it had been determined that the child had been kidnapped? Adopting internationally vs domestically is a personal decision. What I hate is for these type of stories to turn families away from their first choice or turn people away from adoption all together. These incidences are extremely rare yet their newsworthiness perpetuate the stereotypes and fear. Our adoption has been finalized since ten days after our son’s birth, yet I still have people ask me if I’m afraid I’ll have to give him back. No, I’m not. My heart goes out to this family but I have to wonder why more wasn’t decided at the 4 month mark and what the laws are in their state. It’ seems like someone made mistakes somewhere, maybe the lawyer or adoption agency.

Adoptees Rejoice Together (ART) That’s sad the adoptive parents should have full custody..unfortunately we do not know the “whole” story but it seems the biological father is abusing that Native Law…poor child has to go through so many changes and break bonds she was forced to leave a stable loving family that wanted her all along.

Kelly Sigro So heart breaking….

Adoption Giftbox My heart breaks for this sweet little girl. She is just a small child who has known her adoptive Mommy and Daddy since birth. Now she has been removed from the only parents that she has ever known. Her parents must be suffering so much pain. Our prayers are with them during this difficult time.

Kristie Verboom that is saddening. Since when is a persons nationality more important than the welfare ....security and trust every child no matter their nationality has the right to? What about the adoptive parents who love her and care for her? They are the only parents she knows…...she shouldn’t be losing mom and dad…...hey buddy if your looking at these comments…..your not her father…..the people who adopted her are. Your nationality does not matter to this little girl. I’m sorry I’m sure you want her but if you really love her then show it by leaving her with the parents she knows. Love isn’t this selfish…..

Posted by Danielle Pennel on Jan 05, 2012 at 8:14pm

Christina, yes there was a story recently about a child kidnapped from Guatemala (adoptive parents had nothing to do with it) Birth parents wanted her back. I am not sure what happened.
Native Americans have their own nations. That is why casinos could be built on Native land, the laws are different on the reservation.
African-Americans and other nationalities are not separate nations so can’t make laws.
I am not sure if he signed away his rights re adoption or not. I guess it was up to the court to decide. I think you either belong to the Cherokee nation or you don’t. he may not have been signed up but obviously had the right to. There are certain qualifications that you can look up on line.
As usual it is sad for everyone. I do wonder who witnessed his signature? Did anyone do birth parent counseling and explain things to him?My heart goes out to all involved.

Posted by Regina on Jan 05, 2012 at 9:02pm

Regina, thanks.  I couldn’t remember the details of the story but wanted to point out that neither option, domestic vs international, is risk free.

Posted by gqqfier15 on Jan 05, 2012 at 11:34pm

@gqqfier15:  I’m not fighting, either. smile  I just want to answer your questions insofar as I know the answers.  Others may know more than me and I hope they’ll chime in, if so. 

You said: “I understood the ICWA to say that permission to place a child for adoption must be obtained by the tribe.  Also that it is encouraged to find another relative or tribe member to place the child with before placing the child with a non tribe member?  Well what if we had laws like that for everyone and everyone had to find a relative to place their baby with? Or if there was a law saying an African American child had to go to an African American family first?”

The answer to this is that from 1971-1994, there was such law in place, at least in some places.  Transracial adoptions were discouraged or forbidden on the grounds that a child was so much better off inside his/her ethnic/racial community that it justified keeping that child in foster care until a matching family could be found.  Ultimately, in 1994, the numbers of minority children languishing in foster care their entire childhoods prompted reform.  So the ICWA of 1978 was passed during the height of that wave of thinking in social work, and on the heels of these child abduction scandals, as babies stolen during the 40s and 50s came of age and reunited with their tribes.

You’re right in calling these cases kidnappings, but they weren’t a mere handful of isolated kidnappings by nefarious baby-sellers out to make a profit.  They were systematic, carried out “for the good of the child and the family” by employees of the federal, state, and local governments who interfaced with the Native American people.  Most of the birth parents affected were systematically poor, unwed (and remember that in until recently that was a huge strike against you in family court), and un- or under-educated.  The social workers would get the waiver of parental rights and consent to the adoption through fraud or outright forgery so that the paperwork all looked legitimate. The reason for the ICWA was to put the onus on adoption professionals to ensure that a member of the tribal government had signed off on these transracial adoptions.  The reason the tribal governments got involved was to monitor the social workers and ensure that they were behaving ethically, which, at the time was deeply (tragically) necessary.

It’s an ugly period of our history, and most of us don’t know about it.

Obviously, the ICWA is being used to manipulate a custody battle here, and that’s abusive. 

There are answers to a lot of the questions people have posted about who knew what and when and who signed what and when located on the website here:  http://saveveronica.com/veronicas_story.html

Posted by Thalas'shaya on Jan 05, 2012 at 11:35pm

Thalas’shaya,  Thanks for the more indepth explanation about ICWA and why it was necessary.

Posted by gqqfier15 on Jan 06, 2012 at 12:23am

Well, the way in which this father is frequently written about would probably lead anyone to disagree with the child being returned to him.

We get to hear from the adoptive parents and how heart broken they are despite being oh so well prepared to parent (use of class privilege).

We get to hear from the original mother and how she wanted the adoption, likes the adoptive parents, and her opinion on the child’s father (the stereotype created by sexism that mothers “own” their children and that fathers are lesser parents).

Do we get to hear from the father?  No.  We get to hear what other people say about him though.  About how he had no interest in the child.  About how he allegedly voluntarily severed his rights.  About how he is “abusing” ICWA and how he is basically ruining everyone’s lives.  It’s so easy to use the “dead beat dad” and “abandoning ‘birth’ dad” against him because the stereotypes of single fathers, adoption, and social class allow this to happen so easily.

I will not be so quick to make these assumptions.

The fact of the matter is, fathers have (or should have) as many rights as mothers do.  He has the right to relinquish his rights and most states have a time period within which he can change his mind and decide to parent.  Some states also grant rights for original parents to change their minds at an extended time if they made a decision under duress or under false information.  No one that I’ve seen has bothered to disclose or investigate if any of these things are the case.

According to the UN and UNICEF, it is the right of the CHILD to remain with his or her biological family if and whenever possible.  It should be each and every single person involved in adoption to want to uphold this very basic human right whenever possible.  What typically happens in these cases are that parents change their minds early on but with the feet dragging and appeals, a child ends up being age 2, 4, 6 before the court decision is made.  Yet we point fingers at the parent who exercised their right to change their mind because of the child’s age but not at the parent who dragged their feet?  These custody battles sound more like people squabbling over how sad ADULTS are and whose property a child is than they do about doing what is right for a child.

And ICWA is never, ever a joke.  ICWA was enacted to stop the widespread racial and cultural genocide against First Nations tribes.  Children were removed from their tribes for no reason other than racism and classism and they lost everything.  Our government has done barbaric and horrific acts against the First Nations.  We cannot forget why ICWA is here and why it is needed.  We cannot go back to doing what we did.

Posted by DeclassifiedAdoptee on Jan 06, 2012 at 6:10am

One point that I just turned up in my (near obsessive) research on the subject is that the birth father has been a member of the Cherokee Nation for about 10 years. ( http://www.newson6.com/story/16457251/cherokee-nation-defends-tribal-law-in-multi-state-custody-battle?clienttype=printable )  This makes his use of the ICWA less suspicious to me, but I still hold him responsible for the fact that he signed his consent to the adoption and then reneged.

Also, and this point is interesting because it can strengthen the cases of both sides, the adoptive family’s lawyer did an ICWA search to see if the birth father was registered with a tribe, but either through clerical error (optimist’s view) or ineptitude/malfeasance (pessimist’s view) the birth father’s name was misspelled in the query and it came back clear.  The birth father (Dusten) has a very common name with a very uncommon spelling, so your interpretation of that point is up to your worldview.

I keep coming back to the fact that it’s all he-said/she-said here.  Nobody, besides Dusten Brown and Christy Maldonado are ever going to know the whole truth of what happened.  She says he texted her and let her know that he was willing to surrender paternity rights in exchange for being cleared of any child support obligations.  And I’m sure that’s been submitted as evidence in court, but it’s not the sort of thing we get to see as the general public.  He is quoted variously as saying that he didn’t say it or that he didn’t mean it, that he was trying to get her to come back to him and marry him by holding out on the child support.  I think the most reasonable interpretation of the facts as they’ve been laid out in the media is that he said something along the lines of what she reports, but intended it to mean that he’d no sooner sign off on his paternity rights than she (as a single mother with two kids and one on the way) would waive child support. She interpreted it to mean that he wouldn’t contest an adoption so long as he didn’t have to pay support, and the rest is all lawyers and heartaches.

Posted by Thalas'shaya on Jan 06, 2012 at 10:53pm

I understand but why would the man sign his rights away even if to the birth mother then when he finds out the child was adopted get upset?! Who cares if he had no plans to being in the childs life what does it matter? My daughters boyfriends mother filed papers for emergency guardianship of her son and go it when he was two months old. We tried to help her get him but she was having alot of problems. So we took over and became co-guardians for the child. She has been willing to allow us to do an open adoption with her now that this happened she thinks no matter what she has done she will get him because she has an Indian Card. (I have one too that’s how she got hers) Our grandson is about to turn five in Feb. & we have paid out thousands of dollars to lawyers and still fighting to get him full time. He goes between us and the other grandparents evey other week!  Do we have to worry about the Nation coming in and giving him to her because she is the bio parent and card holder?! Or can we count on the help because of the situation and allow her to remain part of his life and get visits?! This scares me!

Posted by okgreyes69 on Jan 07, 2012 at 1:52am

I think that child has every right to be with her biological father, and that biological father has every right to his child. It’s sickening that children can be deceptively adopted without the father’s consent. Before adopting a child, be 100% sure that child is not being given to you by deceptive/illegal means. Make sure both mom and dad are in on the adoption. It is very VERY wrong to sneakily take a child from a fit, loving father who wants to raise his child. You think you’re all scared of losing your adopted children? Imagine being the biological parent and having a biological child taken and given to someone you don’t even know without your consent through no fault of your own. It is greedy, through your desperate need to have a brand new baby all to yourself, to keep a child from loving biological parent who is willing to go 2 years and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars deep to get that child back.

Posted by SamSam on Jan 09, 2012 at 3:45am

SamSam, it appears you’re very passionate about paternal rights, and I’d agree with you that a fit, loving father should be able to raise his child.  If only it were that simple.  This case interests me a lot, so I’ve researched multiple articles about it.  From what I’ve gathered (and granted, the public is not privy to all the details), you should know that the adoptive couple were not deceptively adopting without consent: 
a. The birthfather, Dusten Brown, signed “no contest” to allow the adoption to proceed (he argued later that he didn’t know what he was signing, but he DID sign it – and that is one reason the adoptive couple continued with the process, thinking all was well). 
b. The adopting couple’s lawyer checked Mr. Brown’s name to see if is was on an Indian registry.  It seems now that his name was listed as being part of the Cherokee nation, but because of it being misspelled, the name was not noticed. THIS part troubles me the most, but again, please don’t blame the adoptive couple for not being “100% sure.”  They went through all the proper channels, and sincerely thought every “i” was being dotted and every “t” crossed.

As for your assertion that adoptive parents are greedy & desperate…and want to keep their brand new baby all to themselves, I can only guess that you’ve met someone like that.  I am sorry if you’ve had such an experience.  I like to think that most of us adoptive families are the opposite of what you’ve described…in fact, many of us are equally passionate about creating ethical adoption.  I myself have an open relationship with our daughter’s birth family.  Yes, my husband & I are infertile, so we may have been eager to adopt…but I don’t think that made us greedy.  And as for the Capobiancos, they were/are very open with Veronica’s birth mother, so I don’t see them as trying to keep the baby all to themselves.  Who knows – they may even have been willing to form a relationship with Mr. Brown in the same way?  But I don’t know.  All I know for certain is that the courts had to be involved, and a small child suffered for it.

Posted by Lara on Jan 09, 2012 at 5:54pm

This story resurfaced on the news on Anderson Cooper 360 show on CNN. 
A video is available as a summary of this Veronica case thus far. 
Currently, the adoptive parents have appealed to the South Carolina Courts and are waiting to hear a decision.

Has your reaction to this case changed at all?
Now that 50+ days have passed since Veronica was returned to her biological father, does that influence your opinion?

Posted by Danielle Pennel on Feb 23, 2012 at 9:53pm

“The Indian Child Welfare Act to me is a joke and Native Americans are just Americans like all of us.”

Let me join in with the others who have stated that the act is not a joke and Native Americans are not “just Americans.”
Without knowing all the details of this particular case—and I appreciate the people who looked into it—the fact is that the father began his quest to recover his child when she was 4 months old—it was the courts and/or the APs who kept it going for years.
We have a situation in my own (non-Native) family in which the natural mother relinquished the child with the understanding that he would be raised by his natural father and his new wife. This of course also left the door open for her to have a relationship with the child if and when she was ready to do so. I think she would have every right to “renege” on that agreement if it turned out that the intent of the natural father was to place the child for adoption by strangers, not to raise him.
I’m so happy to see the APs here who are arguing for ethical adoption and so disappointed and frightened to see how many seem to believe that possession is 9/10 of the law. If the APs had not fought the natural father when the child was 4 months old, they wouldn’t be “the only parents the child has ever known” years later. While I can understand how the ethical APs may be offended at the term “greedy,” this is really what emerges from some of the comments. This child is MINE and should be because MY FAMILY IS BETTER. And the statement that it’s somehow greedy on the part of the natural parent to want their own child when the people who have adopted him are willing to have some sort of relationship is just staggering. Really, so what? This is not YOUR child. Wishing can’t make it so,.
In any case, when it comes to adopting children whose natural parents are enrolled members of Native American nations (or, and I’m not sure of the legalities here, if they qualify for enrolment) it doesn’t matter whether one thinks the ICWA is a joke. This is a situation in which the U.S. government will, because it has to, totally back up the claims of First Nations to their children.
There is another thread here in which the prospective APS want to adopt a child who they think is 1/4 Native American and apparently they were totally unaware of ICWA. This points first and foremost to me to the total failure (optimistic) or total disregard (pessimistic and IMO more likely) failure of an adoption agency to inform prospective APS of the laws and regulations concerning adoption of Native children.
There is another (very short) thread here in which the former honcho of adoptions in Utah has finally come out and admitted the abuses, lies and coercion practiced in Utah by adoption agencies. Some prospective APs who are optimistic might see it as an in to acquire children as he states what many of us already know: these agencies are allowed to continue their abuses because nobody so far has been able to stop them. Natural parents, and adoptees (doesn’t anybody read what they post here?) may see it as yet another indication that fraud, psychological coercion and manipulation of prospective adoptive parents are the tools these agencies use to keep themselves in business and to keep the dollars flowing.
Adoptive and prospective adoptive parents who are ethical and concerned about ethical practices are right to point out that is these agencies; these lawyers who promise an adoption that is at best unethical and at worst illegal; these social workers who collect their salaries while convincing natural parents to relinquish their children and prospective adoption parents that they are entitled to these children—these are the people who are making money off the system.
If you want to be angry, be angry at them, not a natural parent who does the most natural thing in the world—want to nurture their own child.
And yes, if knowing all of this, and also knowing what happens to adopted children, leaves you saying that it is the natural family that is disrupting the adoptive family, that spending a few days or a few minutes with your biological child—the one who carries your genes and the one that you gave birth to—is threatening because this is MY BABY—then yes, you are greedy.

Posted by Patsymae on May 17, 2012 at 12:51am

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