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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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Today, we look at recent effort to undo laws put in place to protect Native American children and families. All children deserve to be raised by loving families and communities. In the 1970s, Congress realized that state agencies and courts were disproportionately removing American Indian and Alaska Native children from their families. Often these devastating removals were due to an inability or unwillingness to understand Native cultures, where family is defined broadly and raising children is a shared responsibility. To stop these destructive practices, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).

After forty years, ICWA has proven to be largely successful and many states have passed their own ICWAs. This success, however, is now being challenged by large, well-financed opponents who are actively and aggressively seeking to undermine ICWA’s protections for Native children. We are seeing lawsuits across the United States that challenge ICWA’s protections. NARF is working with partners to defend the rights of Native children and families.

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To Veronica Brown

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.