Tag Archives: Cherokee Nation

Godspeed Little Star

26 Sep

News spread like wildfire. By now, we all know, the Oklahoma Supreme Court lifted the stay in the case of Brown V. DeLapp (although many of you may know it better as Adoptive Couple V. Baby Girl). On Monday, the OKSC lifted their stay at approximately 2:30 pm. By 7:30, Veronica was gone. Officials went to the Jack Brown house at the Cherokee Nation complex and removed her. She was escorted away by Ms. Nimmo, attorney for the Cherokee Nation,  who with heavy heart had to deliver Veronica to the adoptive couple waiting at tribal headquarters. As she was taken away from her family, her cry rang out….. “No, I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!” It fell on deaf ears. There was nothing that could be done.

In physically coming to Oklahoma, the Capobiancos forced the spotlight on this child. They got preferential treatment in that, because of the media storm they’d created, their coming to the state caused this case to be given priority with the attention of the Governors of both states.  Media outlets were literally drooling over the chance to report every detail. Often cases of this nature die a slow death in our court systems. They lie there for months and sometimes years between hearings while a child hangs in the balance despite urgent concerns regarding their welfare. Each side is given the opportunity during the down time to mount a defense. Mr. Brown nor Veronica was given this chance. This couple cared only for claiming their prize and quickly. With each hearing came a flood of photos, speculation and the constant reminder from Mrs. Capobianco that precious time and money were being lost and ‘could we hurry this up please.’ No other case of this nature has been given this type of preferential treatment with the adoptive couple being catered to and given hearings and appearances almost daily.

They don’t tell you the Capobiancos had no incentive to mediate. The judge’s statement read that both parties negotiated in good faith. They don’t tell you the details of those negotiations though. They don’t say that while the couple publicly stated they want everyone to play a part in Veronica’s life, privately they reneged on offers and offered little to nothing. They don’t say that to have the father in Veronica’s life is their constant reminder that this child isn’t totally theirs. They don’t say their actions have spoken volumes and they sought to sever any and all ties between her and her father.

We didn’t realize Mr. Brown had no chance. We didn’t realize the media was so skewed. With CNN on their side (Adoptive Couple’s forces having befriended many at the network) and leading their charge, many in the country were spoon fed details that were outright deceptive. With pressure from both Governor’s and threats of jail time, it seems that the couple were willing to stop at nothing short of destroying Mr. Brown’s life. Not happy with simply taking his child, they now sue for attorney’s fees and fines. And while initiated by the courts on their behalf supposedly, Adoptive Couple has yet to speak out and ask that the war be ended, charges be dropped or that their supporters stop harassing the Browns.

The public was led to believe despite all facts that Veronica would somehow remember this couple. We were shown pictures of a happy, smiling Veronica and told she DID remember them. What we weren’t told was that these pictures were taken after weeks of visitation involving many gifts given and that the child, while not remembering them, had gotten to know them. We weren’t told these visits were within the setting of a familiar play space to Veronica and that she viewed these visits as simply play dates knowing she went home to mommy and daddy in the end. We also weren’t told what Veronica’s reaction was to them once she had time to go home each night and process the whole situation in her own mind, what she may have told friends or teachers about them, or what she felt about them in general. Getting to know and remembering are two far different things.  While no one doubts the Capobiancos will care for Veronica, their need to paint their relationship with her as natural and somehow destined by twisting the facts is questionable.

But the sad reality is that Veronica is gone and the damage will forever be irreparable. You see, at birth to two, a child is developing but their long term memory isn’t yet there. They are more concerned with their needs being met and react primarily to discomfort. At the age Veronica lived with her father, by four, her memory develops. She grew to know Mr. Brown as her natural born father and his wife as her mother. Her world expanded to relationships and she began to take in her surroundings. To her, real or imagined, these two are her psychological parents.  She will always remember them now that she’s had time to bond with them.  She will always know them as her ‘real’ mom and dad. Anyone else is merely a substitution with her hopes continuing the rest of her life to find answers as to where they went and what happened to them. No answer provided by anyone else will suffice. She will need to seek her own answers to be sure of their truth.

And it’s that desperate need to paint this bond as something shared between both them and the child as something natural and destined that concerns many. Veronica didn’t share this bond. This bond was entirely one sided. It was born from the Capobiancos desire for children, a desire so strong they fooled their own minds into imagining if only they could obtain her, the bond and feelings would surely be reciprocated.  And if not immediately reciprocated then they could be nurtured over time using Melanie’s knowledge of psychology , manipulating in order to create a bond.

Having feelings of maternal urgency or an urge to mother is far different than maternal instinct. Maternal instinct is a need to protect. Maternal urgency is the desperate feeling one’s biological clock is ticking. The desire here to be a parent so overwhelmed rational thought. Because if Melanie had maternal instinct, that instinct would have said Veronica was with a loving and fit bio father who wanted her. It would have told them they would damage her if they tampered with it. It would have driven them to protect her even at the cost of their loss.  Who did what when, claims of abandonment,  who had her first, none of that will ever matter later. Her age or how many years she spent with either won’t matter. She could have been 6 or 10 or even 13 when they took her. It doesn’t matter if she spent two years or one summer with her father. But she now knows another set of parents exist, a biological parent is out there waiting for her. You cannot put the genie back in the bottle.  What will matter is she got to know them at an age that she will remember them and that they were taken from her for reasons short of severe. There was no abuse. There was no neglect.  And anything short of that will never be justifiable in her mind as she grows.

We know Matt and Melanie will care for her. We know they’ll provide her with all they can in life. She’ll have the best. We know they love her. But while that’s wonderful and kind, she will be an empty shell. She will wait for her day. She will have nagging questions. And even if she is led to believe her father was a axe murderer, she will have a pride in being his daughter throughout it all. She will wait for the day when she can reconnect to him. To slander his name will fuel her determination. To make no mention of him at all will peak her curiosity. It’s one game that no one can win because despite what you say, she will have her own feelings on the issue. You see, Veronica IS Dusten Brown. She is the living, breathing extension of her father. And by trying to sever that bond, they’ve only made it stronger and more urgent. They will make her more determined.  They will forever have to buy her love while all the while she quietly waits until the day she can get her answers and find her roots. She won’t outwardly say that. She’ll harbor that within herself for fear of hurting their feelings or making them feel she is ungrateful for her beautiful life but those feelings will quietly be there.  Until one day, one day she will Google her name. Or she’ll wonder what happened to those other parents she remembers. Her mind will lead her home.

Despite it all, she will remember she is Veronica Brown from ‘Nowater, Okahoma’.

And because there is no word for goodbye in the Cherokee language, the Cherokee Nation, family and supporters all say dodadagohv’I – we will see each other again.  Veronica will look to that road one day. One day she will hear the beat of the drum. One day she will come home and her parents will see her again.

We wish you Godspeed Little Star.  You get big and strong and we will wait for as long as it takes. All roads lead to home.

theroadhome

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