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Friday, September 27, 2013

Veronica's transfer to the Capobiancos

Being adopted gives you a certain view of "adoption" unique to the adoptee. Here are my thoughts (some published in August prior to the hand-over of Veronica to the Capabiancos.)

By Trace Hentz (formerly DeMeyer)

I have followed this Baby Veronica case like many of you. I read the earlier testimony of Dusten Brown's mother who shared how the engaged couple suddenly broke up and how Dusten was concerned he may not return alive from Iraq and how they thought the baby would be with Christy and how they were not told about Veronica's birth and planned adoption and her transfer to strangers until months after it happened. 

Now I can only imagine what this transfer is doing to this little girl - AGAIN.

The statistics of Indian children being placed in non-Indian homes is in the Congressional record which lead to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act. The doctors who testify admit it harms the child to be adopted out, when we lose our parents and our connection to our tribes and identity as sovereign citizens. We adoptees and survivors attest to this in the anthology Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects.

We know adoption is a billion dollar industry that traffics in babies and children. The Capobianco's have paid and want took the child they paid for - it's that simple.

We know this case is not about Veronica's best interest. It's about money and Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency who brokered the sale. It's about lawyers and their fees. It's about dismantling and repealing the Indian Child Welfare Act so that more people can adopt Native children. It's about opening the gates so more "Christian" families can assimilate and adopt Native children. It's not new, it's been going on for over a century.

We know Veronica is VERY confused since the transfer on Monday. She's disoriented. She thinks she's on a vacation with the adopters. That will end in South Carolina or where ever they choose to live. Veronica will be enrolled in daycare then pre-school. Matt and Melanie will always tell her she was "chosen" to be their child.  They will explain to her she's not going back to Dusten; they will tell her, "You are home." Traumatized, over time Veronica will disappear into the fog of despair and disbelief. Symptoms of grief will come in stages. Every. single. day.  

Veronica will have a fake birth certificate which will list Matt and Melanie as her biological parents. They might even change her name to hide the truth. Veronica will remember. Veronica will use a computer.  She'll read why she's not with Dusten and Robin anymore. She will see her pictures on the internet. Veronica will learn the truth and nothing the Capobiancos can say will fix the pain Veronica will have over what they did to her and her family.

We know at the time of Veronica's birth, handed to strangers, that transfer, she suffered the wound we adoptees know we have. In birth psychology it's described as the severed biological connection with our mothers, a primal wound compounded by mommy's abandonment and it leaves a damage that takes a lifetime to repair. If it can be repaired...

A child never chooses this. Adults do. Courts do. Adoption agencies do.

Veronica is very strong, a fighter, a Cherokee citizen. She will find her dad again like I did. 


  1. There will be a day when Veronica learns how she was stolen from her father. She will learn to hate the people who stole her from her father her heritage and her family. I would love to see the day when she ask "Why did you steal me from my Dad?"

    1. You're right Diane. I asked many questions of my adoptive parents growing up, even before 1st grade. We can only guess what the Capobiancos are telling her since she's only 4.

  2. Excellent. I agree wholeheartedly. I found my birth family when I was 19, and it's been the biggest blessing in my life. I do believe that you cannot be completely whole until you can know where you come from.

    1. KatieP, thanks for sharing your story. In Indian Country we call this going full circle - when an adoptee finally finds their way back and meets their relatives. Every time we adoptees make this journey to our natural families, the hoop is mended and we all heal.

  3. If I've learned anything from the Veronica Brown adoption case, it is this: When an unmarried couple have sex, once the sperm leaves a man's body, he has no rights at all. He still has responsibilities, but no rights. If she carries the baby to term and chooses to keep the child, he has the responsibility of child support (and I am in full agreement with this). However, if she chooses to give the child up for adoption he has no rights. This is especially true if he is poor and the adoptive parents are wealthy. Forget the hype of CNN, which I put in the same category as FOX News when it comes to slant and bias, the public record shows that Dusten Brown wanted his daughter. He had no rightful claim to her according to the Capobiancos, their attorneys, and the courts of our "great" nation.

    1. David, you are absolutely correct! In 2013, this case has made that so apparent. Dads should have rights and laws need to change. Thank you for sharing your voice on this blog!

    2. @David,
      There were laws in place to protect Dusten. The problem in this case is that laws in both OK and SC were broken. In OK the ICPC was filled out with falsified information and Baby Veronica was not listed as a Native American child, enabling her to be whisked illegally from OK to SC. In SC adoption proceedings were begun when Veronica was still in OK, which is against SC law. Had the laws been followed, Baby V would never have left OK, Dusten would have been notified and this whole nightmare would not have occurred. The frightening thing, the really pure evil about this, is that it was well-known that laws were broken and that there was an intent to deceive, and yet the lawbreakers and deceivers were able to prevail in the end. That, my friend, is truly scary.

  4. Robin, thank you! The truth is terrifying. Even though the mainstream media like CNN has done a very poor job reporting a balanced view of this case, they elevated the adopters to national prominence and demonized Dusten and his family. Ultimately the courts (up to the Supreme Court) failed to protect Veronica. Nightlight Adoption Agency violated federal law. When will the public see that covered by CNN?

    1. I think the truth will come out. It may take a very long time, but investigative journalists love these kind of stories about corruption and exposing what's really happening behind the scenes.

      I think South Carolina and some of its adoption practitioners will be just as notorious as Georgia Tann, Camille Kelley and the Tennessee Children's Home Society, some day.

  5. We gotta change the laws, Adoption Agencies have been too successful at dictating lax oversight of their industry--and it is an industry, sadly enough where children are priced by their race. ICWA is one of the few laws that protect any parents in this country and that is why they are taking aim at it. All Americans should have the protections ICWA affords. Also, the presences of major DC power brokers like Paul Clement on the Capobianco's legal team highlights that Indian Sovereignty, itself is seen as beast the Conservative Right wants to kill. Read Clement's SCOTUS arguments, their lawyers argued for the court to strike ICWA and have written elsewhere of freeing us Indians from our Tribal bounds and Terminating Tribes. Yes, they really have our best interests at heart.

    1. Thank you Jacqueline! I am reading Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption by Laura Briggs - Chapter 2 on ICWA is mind-blowing. I see this now in the context of disempowering Indian people and dismantling their sovereignty - and it's been happening for a century with deception and corruption in the American colonial system.


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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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