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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The UGLY MESS surrounding #BabyVeronica

By Trace A. DeMeyer

Have you watched the TV program WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, a not-so-subtle sales pitch for the Mormon’s expensive website  Apparently everyone wants to know who they are these days and solve a mystery. OK, let's have them solve an adoption case of identity mystery!

There is one little Cherokee girl about to become a mystery herself.  Veronica Brown is going to lose one family and join another.  Her life is about to become a lie and her birth certificate will make her adoptive parents her birth-parents on paper. Her amended birth certificate will leave out everything that's actually true.

Yesterday non-Indian judges ordered her father’s arrest and ordered this nearly 4-year-old child to be transitioned immediately to non-Indian adoptive parents, the Capobiancos in South Carolina.  

It blows the mind! Veronica only knows her family as dad Dusten, stepmom Robin, her older sister Kelsey and her grandparents.  How will the Capobiancos ever explain taking her away from the only family she's known for almost 2 years?

It amazes me how the adoption industry convinces infertile adoptive parents to buy babies, like babies are too young to remember anything and we won’t have any desire to know who we really are. It’s ridiculous! Babies are not blank slates.  We have our own blood, ancestry and DNA memory. 

For as long as I can remember I tried to question my adoptive parents about why I was given up, where are my parents, who am I?  Veronica will do this, too.  Baby adoptees do become adult adoptees who search for their history, who ask questions, who speak out.  If I could have opened my file at age 12, I would have, believe me. I had to know the truth. Instead I waited and opened my adoption at age 22 with a judge in Wisconsin. I read my file, got my name. Much later I found out my dad would have raised me but just like Veronica's biological mother, my mother Helen didn't tell my father Earl.

For many adoptive parents, they still do not get it: you do not OWN us, nor will you ever own us, make us your own or become our ‘real’ parents.

As I expected, very few in mainstream media were asking adoptees like me how we felt about being adopted or this particular case.  Did you see any adoptees on CNN or Dr. Phil? Absolutely not.
I gave a statement to Suzette Brewer of Indian Country Today published on July 19… Months ago, I spoke with a producer at CBS and he said my story is so much like this Veronica case but 50 years later.  Later, producer Tim Howard at NPR didn’t use my comments or adoption story or my search for my birthfather for his Radio Lab story. Howard interviewed two more Native adoptees I told him about. Not one word we said hit the news. 

Why? For far too long, adoptees were not on anyone’s radar, not until Baby Veronica Brown made headlines.  Adoptees are supposed to be living with their forever families happy as clams, invisible and silent. Media won't ask about what adoption will do to Veronica physically and emotionally.

The adoption industry has made it their mission to make adoptive parents the focus, the heroes who “save” children (and pay out big money for the privilege). The adoption industry has convinced the public that adoptees are happy (add grateful) being adopted.

This is how this case is messed up: Veronica doesn’t need to be saved.  She’s not an orphan.  She has two living parents:  a mother who abandoned her and got paid and her dad who fought to keep her and raise her. 

In Veronica’s case, both birthfamilies could have decided who would raise Veronica, and not place her in a stranger adoption.  If Christy Maldonado needed money, all she had to do was tell Dusten Brown the truth and hand Baby Veronica over.

This is where it’s get fishy: A pregnant Maldonado signs a contract with the Capobiancos, ends all contact with her ex Dusten Brown, and the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency brokers the deal. The Capobiancos paid the agency, paid Maldonado’s expenses, paid the hospital, paid lawyers and took Veronica shortly after birth.  (read this: a very revealing yet disturbing update on Christy Maldonado, the birthmother:

That was one eager adoption agency who cared little about Veronica’s Cherokee tribal status or federal law.  Nightlight lawyers skirted ICWA by submitting error-filled paperwork about Dusten to the Cherokee Nation. That way the adoption could proceed. The adoption agency paved the way and laughed all the way to the bank.

This adoption never should have happened. Those devious lawyers must have waited on pins and needles knowing how the Indian Child Welfare Act prevents child removals like this one from happening.  Then Dusten got into the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

It is an ugly mess, an ugly truth, cruel in the extreme and one which Veronica will not be able to escape. Experience tells us that it will not end well for the adoptive parents and in the end there will be no winners, only a great deal of loss and trauma for everyone involved, especially Veronica. 

How does adoption "save" Veronica? It doesn't.

In the end, it’s about money, an infertile couple who expects to raise the baby they bought, and a corrupt billion dollar adoption industry.





ANOTHER GREAT POST with great comments!


  1. awesome article!!!and pretty much how My mom feels being torn from her Mom and Dad and adopted out by catholic charities in the 50's. the evil woman who got a hold of her beat her daily and tried to beat her memories of her family out of her.

    1. Please tell your mom I was abused too as an adoptee. I hope so much that she has healed that pain.

  2. Thanks Peaches and Anonymous! I so appreciate your comments.

  3. I am devastated over the Veronica Brown situation as well and hope more people get blogging about it.

    1. Thank you Jessica. We'll keep posting updates!

  4. horrendous for adopted people absolutely horrendous to be bought and then beaten and denied your own families you were born into........its the worst human rights abuse of children of the lot.........buying chldren is onecan buy their own child women birth their own naturally.....however it wold seem that coupples do somehow acquire children to me a horriblefeeling even thinking that some people actualy do buy their children..........there is nothing worse than that.......nothing....its not a nice thing to do for chldren take them fromm their families...........i feel sick just at the thought of those poor little children i just couldnt bear it if anyof my children were treated in such a manner it would kill me totally destroy me if i thought that someone took anyof my chldren and was cruel to them..........nope couldnt cope with being a mother who lost a child to adoption.........i am a mother of adoption loss i lost my baby girl because of it i will be glad to see it abolished so all children get to be wher they were meant to be...........

    1. I agree Anonymous, no child should ever be abused for any reason. I am truly sorry you lost your daughter. Go to your state's adoption registry online and post the information - she might be looking for you! Use her birthdate and see if they can find her.

  5. Such a harsh post. I respect that it is your opinion and your life experience but to group "adoptions" in general as a business and full of adoptive infertile parents buying babies is irresponsible to say. I have never heard any adoptive parent (and I know many) ever imply that they "have saved their son or daughter".

    "For many adoptive parents, they still do not get it: you do not OWN us, nor will you ever own us, make us your own or become our ‘real’ parents."

    What does this statement mean?? I respect that to you it means something but please do not speak for all adoptees just as I would not lump you in a group of all adoptees.

    1. You know what is harsh, Colleen? A Lakota mother who lost all 6 of her children to adoption. Each child was raised in a Mormon household and lost their language, their naming, ceremonies, which is their culture. That is harsh. I speak for them (and me) on this blog.
      I am written so much about this billion dollar adoption industry - please read other posts. Take a look at last November - every country (China, Guatemala and more) has an adoption scandal. News you didn't see in the newspapers here.
      The Capobianco's who wish to adopt Veronica are using the word SAVE. Why is that?
      I want you to research ARENA. Then email me back what is harsh.
      I have many friends who adopted. They have open adoptions. Their children know the truth. They know their names. They see their birth family.
      I do not lump all adoptees but I do see an international crisis with adoption profiteers.
      That is why this post is harsh.

    2. Colleen,
      Perhaps, you should just listen and do some research on your own before attacking someone else's opinion. Although Trace's experience is not mine, I agree with much of what she wrote. If you look around, you will see that many other adoptees have a similar opinion. If you've only been listening to adoptive parents, perhaps that's where the problem is. Adopted people are the ones who live the adopted experience. Seek the experts.

      And you might also want to think about the laws that strictly discriminate against adopted people and their identities.

      And about Veronica, can you honestly say that justice is serving her best interests? She's being treated like she's the property of two unrelated people in another state and they want her back!

      How does her adoption benefit HER? It doesn't.
      Can she do anything about it? No.
      Will she have to live with it? Yes.

  6. Colleen, adoption is harsh. All adoptions begin with loss and trauma.A few minutes of research will show you that adoption is big business, an international business with agreements brokered between governments,babies are big business, sometimes one of the few valuable exports a country has. The supposed 'orphan crisis' shows us that many believe adoption is about saving children,just because you haven't heard about it doesn't mean it's not happening.
    For someone who is interested in identity in adoptees it seems that you have much to discover in how adoption affects identity. You might need to start with the concept of ownership in adoption by adopters, a whole blogpost in itself, a book even! Pop over to http://eagoodlife.wordpress I might just tackle the subject sometime soon.

    1. Thank you Von. You have helped me sort out my thoughts many many times. I appreciate you and your writing very much.


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Veronica, we adult adoptees are thinking of you today and every day. We will be here when you need us. Your journey in the adopted life has begun, nothing can revoke that now, the damage cannot be undone. Be courageous, you have what no adoptee before you has had; a strong group of adult adoptees who know your story, who are behind you and will always be so.

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As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.


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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

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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