Maybe we’ll make this a regular feature or maybe we won’t but either way, if you hear something out there and want to know if it’s true or not, you can certainly comment and we’ll do our best to prove or disprove the rumors.
Today however, there seems to be a fact sheet floating around adoption land touting the virtues of the Capobiancos and their kind deed. So we’ll start there. You can find their PR script here. Coincidentally, this same information can be found on posts from the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare who also coincidentally were the force behind collecting donations for the Capobianco’s legal battle despite it being stated that their attorney’s were working pro bono.
1. Matt and Melanie did not ‘buy’ Veronica. Their adoption is ethical and legal in every possible sense. They followed every step by the book. The US Supreme Court found it legal, as did SC Supreme Court and Charleston County Family Court.
Well, thus far, nothing has been uncovered proving there was any exchange of money for the child. However, as reported by Suzette Brewer, investigative reporter for Indian Country Today, birth mother was suddenly able to get out of debt, catch up on her mortgage and was seen with a new SUV. It’s also common knowledge among the adoption community that often times ‘gifts’ pass through unnoticed and undisclosed to birth mothers as unofficial compensation. While adoptive couples have to disclose any fees associated with the adoption, often times these gifts and donations are just never mentioned or are hidden by reporting them as other miscellaneous expenses.
2. Christy has custody of her two children and is doing a great job raising them. They all want this to be over desperately and miss Veronica.
Oklahoma court records say differently. At some point, it appears the birth mother had some other person caring for her children. Records indicate child support was redirected to someone other than her in 2011. Courts direct child support to the person caring for the child which obviously is not her.
3. Melanie was never charged with a DUI and does not have a criminal background. This sickens us every time we read this.
Also reported by investigative journalist Suzette Brewer, in fact, she was charged with underage drinking and later with a DUI. Absent in all of this so far has been any denial from Melanie herself which is rather telling. On this, we assume one would just have to take a wait and see approach and see if that information doesn’t surface.
4. Lori McGill is an incredible attorney in DC and we are grateful for the countless hours she has dedicated to this cause.
Incredible buffoon some would argue. According to reports in various media outlets, she made quite the fool of herself by going on what some referred to as a ‘drunken late night rant’ on the Facebook page of Brown supporters and making some rather disparaging comments about not only Mr. Brown but also his first born child who is not involved in current litigation. Her colleagues had the following to say about her:
“It is rather unseemly for an officer of the court to be on Facebook at that hour—or any hour—arguing the facts on behalf of her ‘client’ who is not a party in this case,” observed a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who works on Capitol Hill. “The serious practicing attorneys I know would never bother with that kind of thing. It’s just not appropriate. But it is pure comic gold. You can’t make this stuff up.”
5. Matt and Melanie objected to Angel Smith not because they don’t believe in Veronica’s best interests but because Veronica already has a GAL. The same GAL that represented Veronica at SCOTUS.
Their GAL or Guardian Ad Litem appointed in SC dealt with matters relating to SC. Any involvement in the Supreme Court case was a direct result of the SC case and it’s appeal to the Supreme Court. Any matter handled in the Oklahoma courts would be separate from any matter handled by South Carolina and therefore would require a new GAL in that state.
There was also question in South Carolina proceedings regarding the fairness of or the ability to remain unbiased by the GAL there. Reports indicate the SC GAL made little effort when looking into the biological family and showed little interest in reporting on their ability to care for Veronica. She is alleged to have made comments regarding the culture in a manner that showed a lack of knowledge on her part, including remarks regarding ‘free lunches’ Native Americans get and ‘little dances’ they do. That seemed to be the sum total of her Native American cultural knowledge. That would also seem to be a HUGE problem when a core issue of this case also involves the ability of a non-Native family to care for Veronica and bring her up within her culture. It would seem that the initial SC GAL would be preferred by the Capobiancos because she was squarely on their side.
They are not just objecting to the GAL in Oklahoma though. Records posted to the online court records site for Oklahoma initially indicated they also opposed Veronica having her own attorney. Those records have now vanished in what appears to be a ‘media blackout’ by officials there. So it would seem the Capobiancos are actually opposed to anyone they view as not being on their side or whose opinions they haven’t vetted in advance.
6. The online store on saveveronica.org was removed once the case was accepted by the US Supreme Court and all the attorneys began working pro bono. There is nothing wrong with fund-raising for our friends. All-in-all around $30K was raised, which only scratched the surface of what they owed prior to the legal team working at no charge. Matt and Melanie have not ‘profited’ from this ordeal in any way.
We’ll refrain on this one and will only say that while they do claim their attorneys are working pro bono, as late as last week, posts regarding the sale of items benefiting the Capobiancos and/or their legal fund appear online.
7. TRIO has never received any money from the Capobiancos. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Several have spent their own money to support this cause.
No evidence to date shows any money from Trio Solutions going directly to the Capobiancos.
8. Although there are documented facts concerning opponents, SaveVeronica will not stoop to that level with this cause. We can bring Veronica home on the merits of truth and justice.
Now this one may get lengthy. In some twisted ‘accuse the accuser’ sort of fashion, they have in fact been guilty of exactly that…stooping. They have done quite a job though at being positive publicly. Many of their supporters have taken the liberty of harassing Brown supporters privately including frivolous charges, allegations and suits along with threatening and abusive private messages. They’ve practically invented the book on planting false and negative ‘buzz’ around the Brown side. One example would be the following as documented by an observer:
At some point, several of their supporters made statements claiming the hacktivist group Anonymous was getting involved in the case. It was said they were involving themselves and would be taking a look at the Brown supporter’s private emails and so forth to ‘expose their lies’. After rumors of this circulated, in what appears to be an attempt to back up that claim, a local supporter then attended the OK press conference given by the Capobiancos dressed as Anonymous. They later then posted that picture as ‘proof’ Anonymous was actually involved. This all was tied into the creationby the same individuals of a supposed Anonymous video ridiculing Mr. Brown. Public statements by the real Anonymous group at the time stated that not only do they not make such ‘low brow’ videos but that they do not involve themselves in such ‘derpness’. A close look at the history of the link posting on social networks sites showed that the video was initially circulated by fervent Capobianco supporters.
9. Dusten was aware of the adoption and even acknowledged Christy after he signed the paper.
Testimony by the birth mother found on this blog and others clearly shows that the birth mother testified under oath that she did this behind his back. She states he was not aware and that although she knew how to spell his name correctly, she didn’t inform officials of misspellings and made efforts to ensure the bio father was not made aware of the adoption.
10. When he first filed for custody, Dusten said ‘he was not Native American.’ Then four months later, he amended the paperwork to say he was.
The first post here, entitled How Did We Get Here addresses this exact issue. Mr. Brown was not notified of the adoption until days before deploying to Iraq. He was working with an attorney out of Bartlesville, OK while he was stationed at Ft. Sill. He was at a disadvantage both with regard to time and distance and hurriedly had to convey everything to the attorney in a short amount of time. The issue of him being Native American, it’s been said, is him playing the race card to his advantage yet now they claim him hiding it would have been to his advantage. The more plausible explanation is he was hurried and it was not addressed at that point. Another issue with regard to this claim is that the Capobiancos and Miss Maldonado would also be obligated to notify everyone of the ethnicity of this child if they knew yet it seems they didn’t either. Birth mother’s testimony reveals she claims to have told everyone yet also implies she worked diligently to avoid ICWA interference. The burden was not solely on the father on this one and it’s plausible he forgot to mention it, she tried hard to avoid it and the Capobiancos just prayed it was never mentioned. The tribe also never brought it up because they were falsely led to believe he was a different Dustin Brown and therefore, not enrolled. Dredging through all that clutter took some time and once the dust settled and the facts presented themselves, his Indian heritage was clearly noted.
11. Dusten did not pay child support until V was 16 months old and then only sporadically and in relatively small amounts.
Like with anything else in this case, we may never know sadly. Common adoption world tactics include birth mothers not accepting payments in a way to later claim they were never given payment by men they then allege are dead beat fathers. And as rumor has it, support was paid to the Capobiancos yet checks went uncashed so as to avoid any implication of Veronica being his daughter for which he was paying support. They wanted to give the appearance of her being their daughter and as such, who would accept support from someone they claim had no right to the child. A little adoption trickery but shown to be effective in many other cases to this point.
12. Neither Dusten nor family ever reached out to Christy with offers of gifts, money, support, or crocheted beaded booties.
We doubt biological grandmother Alice Brown would have taken the time to do all this for the sole benefit of going blind although they are lovely.
And again, time will tell. It’s quite possible this information could come out at a later date.
13. Christy never moved or changed her phone number despite Dusten’s claims that she “hid”. If she hid she did the worst job in the history of hiding considering she kept the same address, job, phone number, etc.
One need not move to avoid contact. One can simply not answer the phone or the door. Another common adoption world strategy by birth mothers and often adoption agencies will advise them to do this to cut a birth father out of the picture. However, this also works in much the same fashion in reverse. For a woman so concerned about her child, he also remains in the same town and easily contacted. So while birth mother claims to be so distraught that her open adoption has come to an end by Veronica being with her father, she’s made no attempt to contact or visit the child at all. In fact, her testimony shows she didn’t appear very concerned with contacting Veronica even from the beginning. She has only seen her once prior to all of this and once because by chance she happened to see her as a result of a court appearance. There have been zero reports to date of her other children having any contact with Veronica.
14. The Charleston Family Court and the SC Supreme Court did not find that it was in Veronica’s best interest to be returned to her father. They were never allowed to consider best interest–only ICWA.
Birth father was found fit and loving and bio mother was found to be ‘not credible’ by the South Carolina Family Courts. The judge’s words can also be found at the end of bio mother’s testimony. No court to date has ever questioned his ability to parent.
15. Matt, Melanie, Christy, and family have NEVER asked for a dime. They are in constant awe of the generosity of their friends and supporters and are such classy people they fear they can never “repay” people.
They’ve sold everything from perfume to bracelets and bumper stickers. They’ve held auctions and other fundraisers to raise money for the Capobiancos. The Capobiancos have also paid Miss Madonado’s attorneys and travel. So while the Capobiancos or Maldonado may never have asked maybe, they certainly haven’t denied any contributions either.
16. Matt and Mel didn’t surprise Dusten with service a few days before deploying as he claims. He ducked service for months likely thinking Christy was after him for child support.
Records state he was served by surprise. No record in any court to date, no testimony and no official in this matter has ever implied he made any effort to avoid service. In fact, this is a completely recent fabrication on their part.
17. Dusten knew about the adoption. If you see the screenshot of the text message it’s clear. He says it’s clear that you have thought about this, it’s not an easy decision.
The text messages were not admitted into evidence and it was noted they appeared to be incomplete and out of context. They were deemed unreliable by the courts.
18. Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare is NOT an anti-Indian racist organization. In fact, it is the exact opposite founded by a Native American father and his wife. They didn’t believe in ICWA and began advocating for Native American children. I believe that actually makes them pro-Indian.
We’ll leave it to readers to research. Because it’s a matter of personal opinion, it’s obviously better left to the Native American community at large to say whether or not this agency has been racial or discriminatory. It is rather presumptuous of a group of non-Natives to be the arbiter on this issue.
19. The cause was named ‘Save Veronica’ because at the time the group was trying to save her from being taken from her family and from her civil rights being violated. She had NO transition, taken from her Mommy and Daddy, put in a truck to never see them again. All because of a very small amount of Indian blood. It was wrong and we fought like hell to prove it. Thank you SCOTUS for confirming our belief.
The only portion of this worth addressing is the ‘no transition’ issue. Mr Brown was not the cause of this. A transition was more than likely considered by the SC family courts but given the legal foot dragging on the part of the Capobiancos and given there were numerous prior rulings and prior motions including a stay filed by the Capobiancos, the courts thought it best that she be removed from them and given to Mr. Brown immediately. He certainly was in no position to go against or question that.
Further, not only does the Cherokee Nation not consider blood quantum but it’s our feeling that to do so is insulting, again showing a lack of understanding of Veronica’s culture.
20. The allegation that a transition plan was ordered and the Cs ignored it is not true. The original order was for V to be turned over at a certain date and time, NO TRANSITION. There was no “plan to meet at a park” that was thwarted by the sudden storm of media.
Our prior posts deal with this issue too. The Capobiancos created a circus-like atmosphere surrounding her transition. It was a scary situation for a child and certainly inappropriate. Their supporters made it a tense, if not threatening situation at the invitation of Trio Solutions and their spokesperson, Jessica Munday.
21. Dusten was NOT overseas when he got behind on child support for his daughter with his ex-wife. He didn’t even join the military until after she took him to court for unpaid child support. This is probably obvious, but he was NOT in Iraq when V was born. He was served with papers about the adoption in Oklahoma when she was 4 months old.
Dusten’s relationship with his other child and any support issues stemming from that are not the concern of current litigation. It’s unfortunate that they continue to drag his other child into this and cause harm to her as well. Not satisfied with harming one child, somehow two is better seems to be the logic behind this. His ex-wife has stated that he is loving father and there are no issues between them. She has shown her firm support of him as well. That should be the end of this matter.
22. ‘IndianCountryToday’ is similar to the “National Enquirer” in its reputation for salacious reporting. They have appeared biased in several reports and often cite “sources off the record” when asserting a fact that ethically requires a cite. When the opposition uses it as a reference, you can ask them to cite a more reputable record.
Miss Brewer is an investigative journalist doing her job. You can be assured that given her journalistic integrity and reporting history, if Miss Brewer has deemed a story news-worthy, that she has gone on to check and double check her facts. Not only that but most media outlets have a legal department who would never risk the publication’s reputation on something that couldn’t be proven. We need not trash her. When media was in the Capobiancos favor it was wonderful reporting and fair. When not in their favor, it’s a bunch of horrid, trashy rags. In checking into the Indian Country Today publication, one can see they are part of a much larger media group with more than extensive and reliable credentials.
23. Regarding the misspelling of Dusten’s name. a) He misspelled Christy’s name in the pleading he filed in Oklahoma b) He spells HIS OWN NAME three different ways: Dusten, Dustin, Dustan. c) He goes by Dusty d) his ex-wife has spelled it Dustin.
Regardless of if he spelled his name E-L-M-O, birth mother’s testimony now clearly shows her admission that she knew how to spell his name and worked diligently to keep him unaware of the adoption.
24. Although Dusten was deployed for a year (January 2010 – December 2010) AND V. had been born AND Dusten had filed his suit seeking custody, Dusten came home in August for a few weeks and never tried to contact V in any way. No calls, no letters, no offers to visit.
Although they claim the adoption is open and present themselves as open to contact, the truth is, they never reached out to Mr. Brown and rejected any attempts at communication from him. And, after Veronica was transferred to her father, they feigned shock that he wouldn’t then allow them communication although initially he did permit their calls. Given they sought out media attention, Mr. Brown’s reaction would is justified in protecting Veronica. The Capobiancos were the first to lay the groundwork for what has become no communications/no relations between the parties.
25. Regarding the ICPC form and the circling of the word “Hispanic” and whether that was a deliberate attempt to get around ICWA. The form was fill in the blank and all three races were provided, white, Hispanic, Native American. Hispanic was circled, not by Christy. Why? It is possible the clerk circled the mother’s race since she’s the only one there.
According to her testimony, birth mother had no knowledge of how this happened. However, given her less than truthful nature and several attempts to impeach her, readers would be well advised to take this with a grain of salt.
26. The ICPC is a binding enforceable contract between two states when a child has the approval to be placed with a family in another state. Children cannot be placed in another state without this approval. The purpose is to protect the child and the states involved in interstate placement of children so that
(1) The child is placed in a suitable environment,
(2) The receiving state can make sure the placement is in the best interest of the child,
(3) The sending state can evaluate the proposed placement,
(4) The care of the child is mandated by court arrangements, and
(5) The child has legal and financial protection.
Most of this with respect to ICPC may be true in fact but not true in practice. As we see in the Baby Deserai case and others, ICPC documentation can be and is often circumvented or missing. In fact, the punishment for lying on ICPC forms or thwarting ICPC rules is often that the adoption is not granted. However, this is rarely enforced and adoptive couples and adoption agencies get little more than a slap on the wrist only encouraging them to continue to circumvent it. After all, the reward of a baby at the end is more than enough incentive to move forward with an adoption no matter how unethical, at all cost.