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Friday, June 28, 2013

I am thinking: #BABY VERONICA BIRTHRIGHTS

By Trace A. DeMeyer

OK, bear with me...

I am thinking:  The Supreme Court ruling has me dumbfounded. I am not a lawyer but the Baby Veronica case is now headed back to the South Carolina courts who already ruled in favor of Dusten Brown, the natural father of baby Veronica. It's a legal technicality so the case is not over yet Anderson Cooper on CNN had an exclusive with the adoptive parents (on June 25th) who implied they won and can have custody? And Anderson was gushing at their angst and was so sorry they were suffering?

Really? What about the primal pain of abandonment and adoption on Veronica's emotions and spirit? Has anyone on TV done any research on birth psychology?  It's not obvious now since Veronica is still too young to show the signs of trauma, abandonment, confusion and reactive attachment disorder but they will come later -- because she's been adopted. (The birthmother did this to Veronica and is not off the hook by a long shot -- Veronica will grow up and learn the truth eventually.)

I am thinking: What kind of parent would want to pull a child from her natural father now, after one year? Isn't this selfish and not in the best interest of Veronica? What kind of trauma and confusion will this upheaval create for Veronica?

I am thinking: The fact that some of the Supreme Court Justices adopted children: THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE AN ADOPTEE. Like many adoptive parents, they prefer to think of every adoptee as grateful and humbled to be adopted. (These Justices should be aware of the effects of adoption, right? If they were adopted and denied their identity, this case might be different.)

I am thinking: Veronica will lose her identity as an American Indian being raised in South Carolina with non-Native parents - which is what the federal Indian Child Welfare Act was intended to stop. Being a Cherokee or a member of any sovereign tribe is a birthright for Veronica.

I am thinking: What do these adoptive parents know about the Cherokee tribe, their culture or traditions or language? If they do win custody, do they plan to offer Dusten and other tribal relatives contact with Veronica?

I am thinking it's a birthright my adoption ended, with sealed adoption records and Minnesota being a closed records state and my adoptive parents not even aware of my ancestry. (I still do not have a copy of my original birth certificate from Minnesota with my name Laura Jean Thrall-Bland.) (My baby photo below)

I am thinking: How does adoption serve this child when her own father wants to be her parent?
Is it because the adoptive parents paid their money and had custody of Veronica since she was born - even when this child had federal protections as a member of a tribal nation?

I am thinking: Children are only children a short time. Veronica is reported to be strong-willed, even as a little girl. What will she have to say about this in a few years? Will her adoptive parents expect her to be grateful and accept and understand how they chose her -- yet they took her away from a father who wanted her (even though it was very messy with her natural mother abandoning her in the beginning of her life?)

I am thinking: After watching Anderson Cooper interview Veronica's adoptive parents, they still do not get it: you do not OWN us.  All that matters is the well-being of the child.  What does Veronica need to grow up to be a healthy and happy adult and a member of the sovereign Cherokee Nation?

I am thinking: This lawsuit is going to hurt everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with almost everything you said, but it should be made clear, that the other couple NEVER adopted Veronica. They attempted it, but no adoption has ever occurred. Their petition was denied due to the ICWA issues, and her father has full custody, as any other natural father with his child. The only difference is that this couple is fighting to take her away and adopt her. At this time however, little Veronica is NOT an adoptee.

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Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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