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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Veronica deserved better #BABY VERONICA #WICWA

Published on Sep 28, 2013
This 40-minute documentary explains the reason for and the process of creating and implementing the Wisconsin Indian Child Welfare Act (WICWA). This historic piece of Wisconsin legislation passed both houses unanimously in 2009, a rare feat, especially given the opposition its enactment faced.

By Trace A. DeMeyer

I've had a hole inside me for my entire life. Veronica will, too.

I was born in Minnesota in 1956.  In 2013, Minnesota still has my original birth certificate locked away in a file somewhere.  Because of archaic adoption laws, I am NOT able to have a copy of my original birth certificate with my birth name Laura Jean Thrall and my mother's name Helen Thrall.  Until laws change, I have to live with my amended "fake" birth certificate which lists my adoptive parents as my biological parents. Veronica will have a fake birth certificate, too.

In 1958, I was adopted in Wisconsin. In 2010, I paid for a court order in Wisconsin to have my adoption file released to me.  I wrote about what was in this file in my memoir ONE SMALL SACRIFICE (the second edition) and on this blog.  Years earlier I went to a judge in Wisconsin and at his discretion, he let me read my sealed adoption records when I was 22 years old.  I didn't get to keep a copy of any papers, just my notes. I started my search for Helen and my unnamed father that day.

Since I was illegitimate, there was nothing about my Native father or his ancestry or history in my adoption file.  As this video describes, I was denied truth. I was lost. I was denied my birthright. I was deprived of my family stories. I was denied my culture which would have been handed down by my father and grandparents. I was denied medical history of both my birth parents because I was placed in a stranger adoption and no vital information was given to my adoptive parents to give to me.

Did a closed adoption consider my rights? Absolutely not.

Because the Veronica Brown case threw a light on the atrocity of her adoption, we see how her father lost custody of her, and how adoption lawyers cleverly bypassed ICWA federal law. How? The adoption attorneys made sure Veronica's mother cut off all contact with Dusten - so the Supreme Court could rule he didn't support his pregnant girlfriend or their baby and was a deadbeat.
According to South Carolina court records, Christy Maldonado (Veronica's birthmother) and the Capobiancos were connected by the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency. It is a fact the adoption lawyers connected to the adoption of Veronica filed error-filled ICWA paperwork to the Cherokee Nation.  Even the original South Carolina Supreme Court decision stated that though Maldonado alerted the agency of the father’s status as citizen of the Cherokee Nation, “It appears that there were some efforts to conceal his Indian status.” 

Private adoption lawyers like Raymond W.  Godwin and private adoption agencies like Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency will continue to work behind the scenes to profit from adoptions - but they will lose money if ICWA is understood and implemented nation-wide.  Godwin's wife Laura is the director of the adoption agency that handled Veronica's adoption.

Many more tribes need to unite like in Wisconsin to draft new legislation in their states to layout how to implement the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 and make ICWA stronger and clearer for judges. Social workers and courts in EVERY STATE need to ask if it is an Indian child (even with one Indian parent like me and Veronica) and then abide by ICWA.

No child should ever be lost to her own father and tribal nation. I was lost. Baby Veronica was lost.

As Cassi wrote on her Adoption Truth blog:
"...Veronica deserved better than this.  She deserved protection from an industry that used her for gain.  She deserved her rights to her family to be recognized instead of trampled on...."


  1. Thank you for this. Interestingly, Oklahoma has it's own ICWA as well but it did not prevent this tragedy. These laws are useless if not enforced.

    1. Exactly Peach. And I hope this blog can educate others as to the importance of ICWA.

  2. You know Trace I saw a disturbing video during the Baby Veronica case. It was made by the group Anonymous who actually protested her being returned to Dusten. In this You Tube video they highlighted a section of paper that stated that ICWA laws only apply if the Native American couple were married. Because Dusten and Christiana were not they were claiming Dusten using these laws to keep Veronica was fraud-and they said "we know the truth". It made my stomach turn. I think a clause needs to be made that these laws will apply to single Native American Parents so the prejudice towards them and children born out of wedlock can't be used against them again.

    1. You are right, Anonymous- and ICWA needs to be stronger (not abolished) and more judges need to rule with it. Prejudice and mis-information about ICWA is alive and well. We see lawyers abused it clearly with Baby Ronnie and now Baby Desirai/Desaray.

    2. The you-tube video wasn't made by the Anonymous organization, it was made by Jim Arnold; who is a self-proclaimed hacker. The funny thing is that Anonymous is against corruption and this is exactly what the adoption was.

    3. Martie, Thank you! His name has come up before. Good to know!

  3. Here is s link to that video:
    Sometimes I agree with Anonymous but they were total fucking assholes about this case and dead wrong and personally I think they should of just their mean noses out of it.

    1. Thanks, anonymous - checking it out now!

    2. I would bet that Jessica Munday and Trio Solutions made this video - to create sympathy for the Capobiancos - it's pure propaganda. Munday likely paid them to be there and hold the signs.

  4. *kept their mean noses out of it.

  5. What a sad state that "saving" a child means throwing out her family and heritage. I hope that someday these misguided policies will go the way of other misguided attempts to marginalize segments of the population.

    1. Maybe the whole idea of adoption needs to go away, Tchaiki. If adoption erases a child, how can it be good for the child?

  6. I have been thinking about the abolition of adoption – and came across this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete,” by Buckminster Fuller.

  7. I have been aware all day that today is the 1 month anniversary since Veronica was stolen by the C's. I still can't believe it. I keep thinking she will be returned to Dusten and Robin. What a sick, cruel world we live in that this could happen. And that there are people who actually applaud it.

    There were laws in place to protect Dusten's rights. But they do no good if they aren't enforced, and when all it takes is money and privilege to override them.

    1. Yes Robin. I think of her every day and send her good thoughts. Ronnie needs our prayers. Dusten told a Cherokee newspaper he was trying to work out something so he could see her. I will certainly pray for that, too.

    2. The C's have no incentive to let Dusten have visitation with Ronnie. He is the one thing standing in the way of their delusion that they are Veronica's true and only parents. They have done everything they can to destroy Dusten, whom they consider that pesky birth father who won't get with the program and accept that they are Veronica's real parents.

  8. I hope the link to the video worked Trace-if not it is (nauseatingly) entitled: Anonymous Stands Up To Cherokee Nation. The first written line makes me so mad-"universal deceit"? One of the biggest forms of universal deceit IS adoption, and I agree with the rest of you that it should be abolished. at least how the system works now. It isn't about a child needing a home it is about a couple that can't conceive getting to have a child anyway and using that child. I think about Veronica a lot to and I worry about her. The Capobianco's are NOT nice people and I wonder what they might do to her, especially when she is upset about not seeing Dusten. I love that quote you posted-and I wish we could of made a new model w/Dusten and Veronica, goodness willing, maybe we can with poor baby Desiree.

  9. @Robin:
    You are right and they way so many adoptive parents minds work is nothing less than a state of psychosis. They are SO out of reality, yet this is not only ignored, it is glorified. This country is nothing but a big, fat disturbing double standard.


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Takeaway Podcast ICWA

What our Nations are up against!

What our Nations are up against!
Survivors, write your stories. Write your parents stories. Write the elders stories. Do not be swayed by the colonizers to keep quiet. Tribal Nations have their own way of keeping stories alive.... Trace

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Indian Country is under attack. Native tribes and people are fighting hard for justice. There is need for legal assistance across Indian Country, and NARF is doing as much as we can. With your help, we have fought for 48 years and we continue to fight.

It is hard to understand the extent of the attacks on Indian Country. We are sending a short series of emails this month with a few examples of attacks that are happening across Indian Country and how we are standing firm for justice.

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.


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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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