This morning Dusten Brown showed his stuff as a father and a man. In a press conference in Tulsa he announced that he and the Cherokee Nation will no longer pursue custody of his 4-year daughter Veronica Brown:. His sad surrender was done not as a sign of defeat but of love for Veronica. He surrendered to save her from further confusion, pain, and public intrusion:.
Veronica is only 4 years old, but her entire life has been lived in front of the media and the entire world, and I cannot bear for that to continue any longer. I love her too much to continue to have the spotlight on her. It is not fair for her to be in front of the media at all times. And her safety, happiness and well-being have always been my number one priority.
Brown, said in his statement:
The most difficult decision of all was to let Veronica go with Matt and Melanie Capobianco last month. But it was no longer fair for Veronica to be in the middle of this battle. It was the love for my daughter that kept me going all this time. But it was also the love for my daughter that finally gave me the strength to accept things that are beyond my control… …And to Veronica—one day you will read about this time in your life. Never, ever for one second doubt how much I love you, how hard I fought for you or how much you mean to me. My home will always be your home, and you are always welcome in it. I miss you more than words can express. You will always be my little girl, my princess, and I will love you until the day I die. I love you and hope to see you soon.
The complete statement is posted on Indian Country.
I have not written about the Veronica Brown case, and I congratulate the dozens if not hundreds of people who have written splendid commentary. All I can offer in my defense is that I became so angry and inarticulate at the destruction of the Brown family that I just couldn’t write about this horror show without sounding like an hysteric.
The adoptee rights fight I’ve been in for 30 years or more has been 90% political,. And you can’t say that the fight for Veronica hasn’t been political. But it is also emotional. I’m sitting here in the Ohio Union at the Ohio State University crying as I read Dusten’s statement.. Crying over the mutual loss of Veronica, Dusten and her family, but also the tears of our collective loss. A little girl, like many of us, has lost her family for no reason other than the greed of privilege. She had a family that loved and wanted her. I ‘m’ crying because adoption crazies, cut Veronica in little adopta-bits. I am crying because they won this fight and the expense of a powerless 4-year old. They have no shame.
But it’s a Pyrrhic victory. Someday Veronica will know and understand what happened to her and who did it and why they did it. The Capos may very well love Veronica (though at the moment she seems more like a much loved vase or antique desk) and she may end up loving them back. But what will she think of those who used her as a political pawn in their own agendas: Nightlight (the crackpot adoption agency that brought us frozen embryo “adoption,”) politicians, judicial cronies, racists, evangelicals, Tea Partiers, PR flacks and media hacks. Pulling the strings behind this cozy coalition were domestic neo-imperialists intent on destroying tribal sovereignty and stripping Indians of long fought legal recognition, protections such as ICWA, and natural resources–including children.
Make no mistake. There’s big money involved in Veronica’s case, bigger than the adoption industry could cough up..Commercial genocide. We won’t kill you. We’ll just obliterate your land, your resources, and your families.The destruction of ICWA is just cog in the killing machine. I hope someone with more expertise in Indian affairs and time than I have will investigate the man behind the curtain.
While the Capos hired PR flacks, media hacks, big bucks lawyers, and pimped sympathy from baybee-obsessed paps. clueless adopters, and sentimentalists, Dusten, his family, supporters. and the Cherokee Nation virtually unfunded in comparison held their ground with honesty and class. The Capos had a chance to walk the high road a long time ago. Instead they took the low road and got the kid. Dusten didn’t. He held his head high. He remains bloody but unbowed.
According to press reports Dusten hopes that some sort of “open adoption agreement” will be made that will enable him to continue a relationship with Veronica. The Capos made similar sounds in the past. I’m not hopeful. The Capos, through their actions, including their recent attempt to sue the now Veronicaless Dusten for half a million dollars, give little confidence. Moreover, South Carolina does not recognize open adoption, They could work something out on their own that would be unenforceable, but then I have bridge to sell you, too.
If any good comes out of this perversion of justice it should be public awareness that adoption business in the US today is rooted in greed. It’s is not about finding a family for a child who needs one, but acquiring a child for a family that “needs ” one. .At any cost. If it can happen to Dusten Brown, a decorated Iraq War veteran, it can happen to you.
The Veronica Brown case is the face of adoption in the US today.
The best rundown on the case comes from Daily Kos blogger ladijules, Adoption Series Part 2 – Veronica Brown I also recommend Indian Country, Indian News Network, Dusten Brown’s Keep Veronica Home webpage, and Standing Our Ground for Veronica Brown (supporter page) on Facebook.. The unpleasant Capo Save Veronica Rose (from who and what?) may go away soon.
TWITTER: Twitter fried my account and I was forced to start a new one. Besides tweeting The Daily Bastardette I tweet (and retweet) about adoption issues, civil rights, freedom of the press, the corporate state, Depeche Mode, literature and books, plus some local stuff. I retweet generously. Join me there! Daily Bastardette @DBastardette.
It’s a sad end to a sad tale.
This case has polarized the nation, with the demarcation line being drawn more on the bases of bias than knowledge, anger rather than empathy. Few will learn anything from it. Fewer will care to do anything to prevent its repetition.
The ICWA will remain as interpreted by a ‘majority’ of 4 Supreme Court justices. (The 5th simply concurred in the result, for reasons having nothing to do with the language of the Act.) Putative father registries will remain in place. State laws giving biological fathers some hint of hope will continue to be circumvented by unethical attorneys, agencies and others, including biological mothers and prospective adoptive parents.
I’m deeply ashamed of our nation at the moment.
I think this case illustrates why it’s important for adoption agencies to conduct very thorough investigations before signing off on adoptions. Biological fathers should not be left out. Was Dusten Brown out of the country doing military service when his former partner surrendered Veronica?
Revelations: Opening Up About Adoption for Adoptees and Adopters
I fear you’re correct, Jim. There will be a lot more of this coming down the road soon. I was trying to be hopeful. The new ORTL bill is also the wave of the future It’s open season on us.
Hi. I really like your editorial. I found this about the Capobianco’s PR team and its head Jessica Munday. Munday is apparently on the anti-ICWA campaign trail:
“Jessica Munday is owner of Trio Solutions in Mt Pleasant, SC, the PR firm that launched an anti-ICWA campaign on behalf of adoptive Baby Veronica parents Melanie Duncan and Matthew Capobianco. Munday recently sent an email to all Capobianco supporters who signed a petition to abolish ICWA. Here’s what she said,
While Congress has yet to amend the ICWA, our collective effort surrounding Veronica’s case will indeed help ensure this situation will not happen to another child. As a matter of fact, it already has. We have been informed her case has already been used in several cases to block similar travesties from occurring…. If anyone would like to continue advocating for children being hurt by the ICWA, please connect with the following groups.”
Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare
Coalition for the protection of Indian Children and Families
Citizens Equal Rights Alliance (Munday forgot to include them)
Maybe we should thank Munday for informing us of these anti-ICWA groups. [email protected]
Thanks for sending this heads up. I’m going to post this separately tomorrow here so people don’t miss it, but I’m down on campus and need to catch the bus home tonight.
This unfortunately is the same thing that has been going on for hundreds of years. The US Gov’t supposedly put a stop to it with ICWA. Now this Christian group who “stand on such moral high ground” is trying to demolish ICWA(history repeating itself)… People need to stand up and recognize this travesty for what it is and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! This could happen to you, your sibling, your child, your grandchildren if nothing is done!!!
Great post, Marley!
My response is to the previous comment by Anonymous:
Yes, that’s a dangerous direction the (miss-appropriately-named) Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare is pursuing. Since when is it “hurting children” for them to be protected within their own natural, loving, capable families? The ICWA is in favor of preserving families & culture, and has the needed support of our government. The anti-ICWA campaign claims to seek to prevent this from happening to another “child.” In reality, they only seek to prevent this from happening to another entitled PAP. That’s where their true sympathies lie, and with protecting the industry of adoption, however unnecessary. The ICWA exists for a reason that is still valid and necessary today.
Since when is it acceptable to have open season on a group such as ICWA anyway? The petition against them amounts to a hate crime, and should not be endorsed by the government. If millions signed a petition in support of having the government abolish rights away from African Americans or Jewish people or any other group of people, it would not go over well, and rightfully so!
If they were really concerned about preventing children from being wrongfully taken from their families, they would be supporting ICWA, but they are not. They are more interested in creating adoptive families, at any cost to the other parties. They see father’s and children’s rights and the ICWA as mere obstacles that need to be destroyed in order to push more unneeded adoptions through, which are their ideal. It’s actually the other way around – it is unneeded adoption that is interfering with father’s and children’s rights and the ICWA. Family and culture preservation should always be the DEFAULT settings, not adoption. Seems like a no-brainer to me – The way to prevent another Veronica situation from happening is to respect the laws that are in place and leave children alone who do not need to be removed from their natural families! Problem solved. (As for the “problem” of all the entitled child-less PAP’s out there, that is their problem alone to deal with; it shouldn’t be Veronica or her father’s problem).
I think this shows how shady adoptions can be. This particular adoption was illegal. To prevent future adoptions to end up like this, we need to change legislation. First and foremost, a DNA test needs to be performed to determine paternity. Second, both birth parents should have to appear before a judge to relinquish their rights and place the baby up for adoption. This way, there is no doubt who the bio father is and no one can say they did not know. It should be held in the judges chambers so that no outside influences can be there (ie parents forcing a teenage girl to give up a baby, etc.)
Someone help me out here.
Christy M, the Crapos and their lawyers provided false information on legal documents, broke the law in two states, handed over large amounts of money in exchange for a baby, and yet they end up just fine and get the kid.
Dusten Brown did nothing but love his daughter and try to provide for her and protect her. And yet, he’s facing a possible five year prison term with a felony conviction that would end his career and ruin him financially.
This case has set a terrible precedent. Prospective adoptive parents are not on equal footing with biological parents. Non-genetically related strangers now have the same rights to a child as a natural parent. Whatever tiny bit of faith I had that there was any justice in the American legal system has now been completely destroyed.
Has the world gone crazy?
*now* on equal footing