“Baby Veronica” Is No Longer a BabyJohn Culhane 08.28.2012, 11:18 AM
You might have missed it, but there’s been a huge controversy over whether a little girl who’s been with her adoptive parents for about two-and-a-half years should have been returned to her biological father on the sole ground that he’s a member of the Cherokee tribe (and thereby qualifies to rescind his consent to the adoption under a piece of federal legislation called the Indian Child Welfare Act). She’s been dubbed “Baby Veronica” (perhaps by media eager to sentimentalize this important story), but that term is hardly accurate any more. She’s a toddler with emotional ties to her adoptive parents.... read the rest and comments here: http://familyscholars.org/2012/08/28/baby-veronica-is-no-longer-a-baby/
My friend Mark Diebel posted his reply and gave me permission to print it here on my blog. Thanks Mark - good words deserve a good audience like my blog readers....
Mark Diebel says:
JC writes, “voting in tribal elections, running for office, taking advantage of tribal scholarships and benefits, participating in customary and ceremony rights, plus [her] relationships with extended families.” Does anyone really think that these benefits—which Veronica might or might not take advantage of in any case—outweigh the psychological harm to a child taken from the only home she knows?”
Yes, there are some that think that the psychological harm taken from the “only home she knows” is less. Adoptees, for example, are aware that the significance of the battle being waged that pits biology against adoption is to misdirect attention from the deep significance of human origins and historical relations. Origins are always with us, no matter how old we are, and the reality is that having them removed from us for whatever reason does not remove the importance they have in later life. It is often only an adult who looks to know where he or she comes from. Children and young adults are more interested in the forward view. The time lost with original family, culture and language cannot be recovered. Ever. The case is not about biology or tribalism…it is about origins and historical continuity.
The harm caused by a separation of a child from the so-called “only home she knows” is in fact real, but already admitted. The child already lost her first mother. Harm is already affirmed and denied by the happy adoptive family myth. The myth is that adoption heals the earlier separation and loss. If so, then the child can heal yet another loss. If not, then the child was never really healed with the adoptive family. Yes, more harm is caused in the new separation, but now the separation and loss is raised to another and higher level that involves courts and claims by various adults that the child will have to evaluate for herself as an adult. She did not create this situation. The adult world made this stuff up. She will be the judge of it all.
I am ignoring for the moment abusive situations in order to reframe the discussion. Parents and children have rights to each other. Adoption must stop the practice of owning adopted children and learn to see that their adopted children are also the children of other parents whom the children have rights to.
I wish that good-hearted adopters would find out if there are adult adoptees who have lived situations like this and ask them what they think about what happened to them. (And, btw, not all adopters would do as Baby Veronica’s adoptive parents…some of them actually acknowledged the importance of the first family and returned children. makes for a very different story, more love and less anger.)
Mark stood up to them. Comments are closed over at the Family Scholar but I suggest you study the mindset of those who claim academic thinking on adoption. They're just not "getting" ICWA history and that is one of our biggest issues.... Trace