|Leland contributed his story in this anthology|
BY LELAND MORRILL (Navajo ADOPTEE)
First of all, I can see this Washington Post opinion was heavily edited. That aside, Christy Maldanado took the money and remained quiet during all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
She was in DC and I met Dusten Brown in the US Supreme Court building under one of the central rotundas. Shannon, his attorney, came over to where I was standing in line to take me over to introduce me.
She knew the laws surrounding a "native child" because she had expressed this in the lower courts, both family court and the South Carolina Supreme Court. The Pre Adoptive Couple, the Capobiancos were in the beginning innocent and then once they found out that Dusten Brown, the biological father was Native American, Cherokee ...at least after he found out she was going to be adopted as he was headed to Iraq, then they became guilty of skirting Federal Law, The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
Regardless of Christy Maldonado being "latina", she knew this child was protected under ICWA. Yes I can see that she found someone to pay the hospital bills and put some money in her pocket...just like a surrogate mother would do in this day and age.
Now that Christy Maldanado's financial and child arrangements are in danger, she speaks. Very edited, yes. This may be pressured by the Capobianco's to have her campaign publicly so when a jury is selected, they will be aware of the case and an unbiased jury will not take place. Christy Maldanado may also be under financial pressure because the arrangement fell through...so guess what? The Capobianco's might want a REFUND!!
There are problems with Dusten Brown's side, too. Because he did not pay for the any bills during the pregnancy, or any child support, and then yes by text and by signing away that last day, 5 months or so after Baby Veronica was born yes, he created some of the problems.
Also, since the Christy Maldanado and Dusten Brown's engagement was terminated, no marriage occurred. Christy Maldanado had other children as well. So, finding an adoption agency willing to take the case and also one who would go around ICWA (The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978), find a couple who would be psychologically and emotionally strong enough to take this child and then later find out the child was protected under ICWA and still fight for an adoption, that would not have been an easy job for an adoption agency and it's legal team.
In this case, all the pieces fell in place and Baby Veronica went to the Capobianco's even though they were a PRE-ADOPTIVE COUPLE.
I do have issue with the Capobianco's being listed as the ADOPTIVE COUPLE on all the case dockets and that should have been corrected because anyone who reads just the titles or even the titles of the dockets for this case will assume the Capobiano's adopted Baby Veronica, when in fact, via ICWA, they should not have even had custody of the child. Baby Veronica should have been placed with a Native foster family or biological family member during the South Carolina Lower Court up until now.
Having Baby Veronica placed with Dusten Brown, that speaks volumes. Where was Christy Maldanado?!? Why was Baby Veronica not placed back with her as the biological mother? That would have made more sense to have Christy take back the child and under South Carolina State Law have Dusten Brown pay child support.
Why was this not done? UGH....just a mess for Baby Veronica!!
I hope Shannon, Dusten's attorney is able to combat the now very public media attacks that are happening because otherwise, more Native children will be "legally stolen".
Leland was in DC for the Supreme Court argument/hearing on April 16, 2013, in the audience with Sandy White Hawk, also an adoptee.
Please read this as far as facts of the case: http://splitfeathers.blogspot.com/2013/01/fact-checking-media-coverage-of-baby.html
Heather wrote: "http://nicwa.org/ Click the Access NICWA's Webinar "Understanding AC v. BG" This is a great link to understand the legal aspects of the case.