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Grandmother Alice Brown In Her Own Words

1 Sep

As promised, we wanted to bring  you more information in the words of those involved.  Today we feature the words of Alice Brown, paternal grandmother of Baby Girl.

However, before reading, we’d like to advise you of a few things.

  • Native American families in general hold the belief that family, no matter how far extended, are part of a larger family unit.  A typical Indian family unit, meaning those who reside within one household, often includes not just a mother, father and their children but rather can and often does include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This is not done for any financial reasons as one might think. It is done because family, even extended family, is very important to them.  Having one’s family, their food, their culture all together in this way is very meaningful for them.  It is not unusual that they would have a large extended household. Nor is it unusual to not use daycare services. This is because often grandparents also fulfill the role of a parent to some extent, watching the children while a parent is at work.
  • Many Native Americans also report that if they don’t live in the same home as their extended family, then they live on the same property or on the same street or in very, very close proximity to extended family members. Living with one’s parents in context of their lives is a positive as opposed to the way other Americans might view it.
  • Some sections of the documents needed to be redacted. Any information redacted was due to either A. it discussed individuals not related to the case or B. out of courtesy because it is impolite to tell a lady’s age.
  • Custody can either be physical or legal. Physical custody of a child is custody of the body for simplification.  The child would live with their physical custodian. This person has final say on the day to day matters like giving permission for events and visits with friends and schedules.  Legal custody refers to a custodian’s ability to make legal and medical decisions for the child. This person can consent to legal matters and sign for the child. It also refers to an obligation to support the child and the right of the child to inherit from parents or vice versa.  This person can also consent to surgery or other medical procedures.  Parental rights is the term that encompasses both legal and physical custody.  To terminate one’s parental rights, either a court would have to determine a parent was unfit or a person would have to appear in court, in front of a judge and sign away all rights to their child.  One cannot terminate their rights via text, process server, etc. Had Mr. Brown actually terminated or signed away his rights, this hearing wouldn’t have taken place because his case would have been thrown out much earlier on due to lack of legal ground with which to file.
  • Keep in mind when reading this that not everyone understands the law and legal terms. Mrs. Brown tends to use the words ‘custody’ and ‘rights’ interchangeably.  Please forgive the confusion with respect to the wording and try to understand what it is Mrs. Brown is trying to convey overall.

NOTE:  In Birth Mother’s testimony provided earlier, you notice she said she did not spend holidays with the family and did not attend Mr. Brown’s military graduation ceremonies.  Here,  you can read what Mrs. Brown has to say on the issue.

NOTE: Jo Prowell, the guardian ad litem referred to here is also the guardian ad litem the Capobiancos insist is unbiased and is the only GAL Veronica needs. They insist Veronica needs no further representation by either another guardian ad litem or attorney because this woman is representing her in South Carolina matters and they feel she is the most competent to handle all matters…..despite her clearly biased behavior discussed in these documents.

Testimony can be found HERE.

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Debunking The Myths

29 Aug

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.

The Birth Mother In Her Own Words

28 Aug

In an effort to bring transparency and fairness to the matter, we will feature information in future posts spotlighting the person’s involved. We hope that you’ll weed through it all to make an informed decision about this case.

Today we’d like to bring you the birth mother in her own words.

Some highlights:

Q. And according to you, and I can refresh your memory if you don’t recall, but you told this — this individual with Nightlight that you had not told my client about your plans
to adopt the child.

A. Right.

Q. And the truth is he had no idea you intended to adopt this child, did he?

A. No.

Q. And the first time my client had learned that you had put his child up for adoption was when he was served with the action in January of 2010. Isn’t that true?

A. I don’t know when he found out.

Q. Do you have any knowledge of him knowing that prior to
that date?

A. No.

Q. And the Nightlight, in the Exhibit 4, you also state that my client is a Cherokee, you know he’s a registered member of the Tribe. That’s never been — you always knew that, didn’t you?

A. Yes.

Q. You always made that clear to the birth (error here, should be adoptive) mother and the
birth father, didn’t you?

A. That I’m aware of, yeah.

Q. You told everybody, every agency involved, this child’s father is an Indian. He’s a member of the Cherokee Indian Nation?

A. Yes.

Q. And you knew when you were pregnant or tell me when you knew that my client was going to be deployed to Iraq.

A. Well, I had always known that sooner or later he was going to be. Now, whenever he found the date out, I don’t remember.

Q. You also didn’t know how to spell your fiance’s name?

A. No, I know how to spell it.

Q. According to Nightlight’s investigation and according to the letter that was sent by your attorney, Ms. Zimmerman, to the Nation, his name was spelled with an I,
when in fact he spells Dusten with an E. Isn’t that true?

A. Right.

Information courtesy of the following:

Here

and

http://hidemyass.com/files/3Hw4L/   from “Carli Sthree” posted on the Haley Hernandez Facebook page.

The Transfer

28 Aug

On Dec. 31, 2011, Baby Girl was transferred to the physical custody of Dusten Brown per the South Carolina family court’s order.  Much speculation surrounds the details of that transfer.

The adoptive couple’s supporters maintain that no warning was given, Mr. Brown simply swooped in in some truck, with no transition plan and stole her. She was a confused, crying child given up to strangers and shuttled across the country. She’d be sure to be upset and psychologically damaged. It was all done so quickly and under the cover of darkness. They had no chance to prepare.

S.C. proceedings however indicate in fact, they were given time to prepare.  A ruling issued earlier that fall stated that courts had ruled in favor of Mr. Brown and a transfer was imminent. The Capobianco’s, in the very same manner for which they now criticize the biological father, attempted to fight the ruling by filing for a stay. This was a legal gamble on their part, one they should have been aware could cost them further time with the child if they didn’t win.   It seems that continued litigation and legal foot dragging caused the courts to take a firm stand and order the immediate transfer of the child with less than 24 hrs. notice.

Supporters also firmly stand by their statements that no advance notice was given and that media outlets and protesters showed up that night in a rather organic, unorganized fashion, drawn there to bear witness by their broken hearts.  Pages were set up to support the Capobianco’s in their efforts to get her back but supporters insist this wasn’t done until after the transfer and no one from their side asked for any persons or media to show as that would have been further damaging to Veronica.

Media reports though from the time give us a different view and further insight into the transfer.

In an article by the Charleston City Paper, one is given the picture of a distraught couple, standing among the debris left behind by New Year’s Eve revelers, empty handed and tearful in the darkness of night.

And in what would appear to be in direct conflict with supporters claims, Trio Solutions, the company of friend and spokesperson Jessica Munday, issued the following statement in advance of the transfer calling for anyone and everyone to show even if they didn’t personally know this family.

triorequesttoshow

Post from Trio Solutions asking that supporters show up in force to support.

“We are standing behind Melanie Duncan and Matt Capobianco on this very sad day. Today, they have to hand their precious daughter, Veronica Rose, over to her biological father – a man who she has never met, lives in Oklahoma and gave up his parental rights years ago. We have tried to keep this out of the public eye in order to protect the family’s privacy but when the call came this afternoon that they were to lose their child in just a few hours, we decided to share the story in hopes that something could be done…that someone would help. Please visit http://www.saveveronica.org and be sure to sign the petition. The transfer is scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. today at Charleston Place Hotel. Please come in peaceful support of this family. You don’t have to know them, you just have to come. Thanks to all.”      -Trio Solutions, 12/31/2011

However,video and their own reporting show, Mr. Brown arrived as directed at the designated time and place. He was later forced to relocate the child and move the transfer to his attorney’s office. The media at the behest of Trio Solutions had created a detrimental situation for the child.  Brown’s attorney’s were forced to try to wait out the crowds apparently but in an attempt to thwart their efforts in keeping this as peaceful as possible, reporters staked the location out, waiting for Brown to appear well after dark. While he tried to load everything into the truck, reporters and supporters for the Capobianco’s continued to harass and surround him sticking cameras and microphones into his face while he held Veronica in his arms.  On the sidelines, Matt and Melanie Capobianco continued to give local news stations interviews.

Video of the transfer can be seen here.

How Did We Get Here?

28 Aug

Oklahoma, 2008, Dusten Brown and Christina Maldonado are in a relationship. He’s proposed and they intend to marry, although it would seem the feelings are much stronger on his part. Shortly after becoming pregnant, Miss Maldonado informs him of the pregnancy and of her intent to call off the relationship. The best one can ascertain given the facts is that Miss Maldonado isn’t smitten with the idea of marriage and the couple have fought repeatedly. They’ve said things to one another that were less than amicable.

According to court documents, Miss Maldonado and Mr. Brown had several exchanges via text message. Finally, in the heat of an argument, in response to her repeated prodding, Mr. Brown texted back indicating he would ‘give up his rights’ to their child.

However, court documents also show there is much more to this story than meets the eye, much more than has been reported from either side thus far. The following is the story of how the case of Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl began as taken from various court records.

Veronica was born in Sept., 2009 in Washington County, Oklahoma. Records indicate the couple lived together but that Brown’s absence due to military service and Maldonado’s change of heart are what terminated their cohabitation and pending nuptials…the modern day version of the ‘Dear John’ letter. At that time, Mr. Brown was assigned to training in the U.S. military stationed in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma (approximately 4 hrs. from his home in Bartlesville).

Records state “PRIOR TO THE BIRTH OF THE CHILD (MALDONADO) COMPLETELY CUT OFF ALL COMMUNICATION WITH (BROWN). (MALDONADO) REFUSED TO TELL (BROWN) WHEN THE CHILD WAS BORN AND KEPT THE CHILD’S WHEREABOUTS A SECRET FROM (BROWN). …THE DAY AFTER THE BIRTH THE CHILD WAS TRANSPORTED TO SOUTH CAROLINA. MATTHEW AND MELANIE, LAST NAME UNKNOWN, FILED A COMPLAINT FOR ADOPTION IN CHARLESTON COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA FAMILY COURT ON SEPT. 18, 2009.” Maldonado denied Brown the opportunity to participate in the birth and to contribute towards expenses and support. He didn’t know where his child was since her birth.

Initially, Matt and Melanie Capobianco were allowed to remain anonymous in court documents, referred to only as “MATTHEW AND MELANIE, last name unknown.” Brown, according to Maldonado’s own admission, having no knowledge of the adoption because she wouldn’t take his calls or visits, had no idea if his child was with Maldonado or not. He could only assume she was but never once thought she’d been given for adoption to a couple a thousand miles away. In fact, in court transcripts for some time, Brown referred to his infant daughter as Victoria, indicating not only was he not aware of her birth but that he wasn’t even told her name. While remaining anonymous and not wishing to give him any more information about them than he already knew, they too referred to her as ‘Victoria’ and didn’t bother to correct birth father. Maldonado also referred to Veronica as ‘Victoria’ in proceedings, conspiring with the adoptive couple.

Documents go on to state the first notice Brown had of any adoption action was Jan. 6, 2010 when he was approached by a Lawton attorney asking him to sign papers stating he would not contest the adoption. It’s worth noting here, all evidence points to Brown being scheduled to deploy for Iraq on January 16, 2010. He was given 10 days notice with which to prepare for something they’d known about for more than 4 months at that point. (Some maintain it was actually more than 6 mos. with Maldonado having planned this even while still pregnant with Veronica.)

Records also indicate the document he was presented with was confusing.  He was under a lot of stress pending his deployment with a lot of tasks to complete before that date. He had no attorney to advise him. The documents never mentioned he had a right to an attorney or a choice to not sign. He had no idea what his signature on the document would mean. It was never notarized or verified and at no point did Brown sign away his parental rights. (The record stresses he never appeared in any court to relinquish his rights nor had any court terminated his rights so as to point out that not only did those documents not terminate his parental rights but neither could text messages.) He simply signed an ‘acceptance of service’.

Having been served on Wed., January 6th with those documents, Brown wasted no time in consulting with not only his commander and the JAG division of the military, but he also hired an attorney by Friday the 8th. Given it was the weekend, the attorney called the South Carolina courts and the couple’s attorney at the first opportunity and followed that up with a formal letter stating Brown was revoking his signature on the documents. Despite having received this information both verbally and officially in writing, the adoptive couple’s attorney went on to file these documents with the South Carolina courts giving the impression that father was in fact willing to give his blessing to their adoption. By January 14th, 8 days after being notified not only that his daughter existed, was born and had also been shuffled off to South Carolina, and with deployment looming, he filed in Oklahoma courts to establish paternity and obtain custody of his daughter. Records also indicate that as of Jan. 14th, 2010, Dusten was still in Comanche County, Oklahoma (stationed at Ft. Sill). He’d been fighting from afar without access to all the records, documents and resources that he’d have had at home and was waging his defense in between training exercises.

In hiring his attorney in his hometown of Bartlesville, he’d have to rely on brief telephone conversations to convey his story and faxing documents back and forth. It can be assumed that he was probably rushed and under stress. Records show he forgot to tell her or that she was unaware that he was Native American initially and that information was not included in documents. In fact, documents instead relied on Maldonado’s information on ICPC forms stating this was not a matter concerning Native American heritage. The Indian Child Welfare Act, for this reason, had not yet come into play.

Brown shipped off Jan. 16th, hesitant to leave his child behind but obligated to serve his country at that point. By April, the courts had been informed of the attorney’s error or Brown’s omission regarding his ties to the Cherokee Nation and this case then fell within the guidelines of the Indian Child Welfare Act.  (Worth noting here is that there is some speculation as to whether or not the birth mother and the adoptive couple were aware of the Indian heritage of both birth father and baby. If this were the case, they would also have been obligated to note this but did not appear to have mentioned it at this point.)

The legal battle for Veronica has so far landed in Oklahoma courts, SC Family Courts, the South Carolina Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of the United States and the Cherokee Nation Tribal Courts and continues today in what’s become a tug of war. The hearings continue to focus on various details of their story. Was Brown a deadbeat? Was Maldonado acting out of spite? The case also involves the Indian Child Welfare Act. Jurisdiction has become an issue akin to trying to nail jello to a tree. The Capobiancos and their supporters maintain Brown made no attempt to be a father to his child and that they’ve raised Veronica for the first two years of her life. They insist they are her rightful parents. Brown and his wife, Robin, assert that the child was in essence stolen from Brown through deception while he was preparing to serve and was serving his country. We urge everyone to follow along for more information as we get those new to the case caught up, discuss the case and bring forth more facts.