Tag Archives: Oklahoma Supreme Court

One Year Closer…..

23 Sep

The problem with adoptive parents is that they don’t ‘get’ the problem. I went into this journey having no experience in adoption with no adopted family members and having no thoughts of adopting. I was ‘adoption stupid’ so to speak. And in such a short amount of time, I’ve learned so much. Then again, I was open to where it would take me. I didn’t walk into this with any expectations as many on one side of the table or the other often do. Most walk into adoption as either the ‘giver’ or the ‘wanter’ and bring their expectations and experiences with them. I, having none and no wish list or expectations from it, was open to go where ever that path took me. In that way, I believe I’ve seen so much honesty from the whole experience, more even than those who are part of an adoption in some ways.

Many adoptive couples go in with their wish list and their wants and they have a desired outcome. Anything that doesn’t jive with that goal sort of gets thrown out or discounted. I’ve seen it time and time again in mommy and adoption forums. They have this notion that the bio parents are the bad guys, they get all the luck. These procreators are out there willy-nilly, being irresponsible and making babies they can’t care for and exposing them to all these horrid things. And even if at the very least, they view them as simply unable to care for the child and in bad circumstances, having to give the child up, there is a resentment there and there is a feeling of ‘better than’ that emanates from the adoptive couple. There’s a feeling of ‘saving’ the child. And the downright nasty ones even go so far as to plot and conspire with one another regarding contact, cutting the birth parent out of the picture and reassuring one another that they are right through it all.

I’ve spoken with adult adoptees. And I can say the number of happy, ‘no scars’ adult adoptees out there really is few. There is a tug of war playing out in the adult adoptee, often times not spoken of. There is a desire to find out about one’s heritage but often its accompanied by guilt. And this is true of even the best adoptions. I’ve seen adoptees feel they had to wait until ‘they’ or ‘she’ is dead (adoptive couple or adoptive mom) before they felt they could search out their roots. There is a feeling of betrayal on their part in trying and they are often fearful of the adoptive couple’s response to their want to search.  And in the happiest of adoptions, this feeling is even stronger because who would want to stab great adoptive parents in the back?

This isn’t just in unethical adoptions. This is the HAPPY ones too. This is all adoption. And no matter how many times you try to tell someone who has or is looking to adopt these things, their blinders, their desire to adopt is so strong that they just cannot compute. I cannot even begin to tell you in one blog post how the system of adoption is so corrupt, of the tricks of the trade, of the things they do both to lure in birth mothers and to lure in adoptive couples. I can’t begin to make you see what a huge money-maker adoption is. The stories of rehoming, of unethical adoptions and the money that changes hands. “Yeah, yeah” you say….these are the tales that get twisted, exaggerated and make for great tv but they aren’t true. And while some of that may be the worst of it, there is so much I can tell you about the happy adoptions and how even those leave scars and lines are divided and allegiances formed. How the child ends up with guilt and to some degree is the support system, the parent to the adoptive parent. The child often grows up trying to reassure the adoptive parent while at the same time, harbouring confusion, guilt, anger, wishes and a plethora of their own emotions about their situation, emotions they can’t share with their adoptive parent because they just wouldn’t understand, they are at opposite sides in the bargain and because the adoptive parents hold a ‘look at all we done for you’ card making the adopted child feel as if anything less than being grateful is a slap in their face.

So today, in honor of Veronica Rose Brown, ripped away from her biological family in an unethical adoption case on this date one year ago today, I want to share some words of other adult adoptees with you. These are responses to the simple question “Adoption Mythology?” and posted by anyone who wanted to contribute. Over 300 people contributed. (unedited)

That nurture can overcome nature.

that we won’t be curious and demand to know our history

That mothers forget the babies they gave birth to over time.

Adopters are saints and rescuers

You will get over it

That there is ever a one size fits all. All adoptees are happy. All adoptees are angry. All birth mothers regret. All birth mothers are happy. All adoptive parents are baby thieves. All adoptive parents are saints.

Adoption is better than an orphanage / being abused / being left behind a dumpster to die.

That adoptees should never want contact with their natural parents “after all the adoptive parents have done for them”

Really, reeeally wanting to be a mother means you’ll be a good one.

I work in in-patient mental health. We have a ridiculously disproportionate number of adopted kids in treatment. My adoption myth: that adopted kids are like regular kids, that adoption is NOT the trauma that needs to be addressed in therapy. That these kids are like everyone else and its a coincidence.

It’s not buying a child, it’s “fees”.

In Open adoption – questions get answers, you don’t feel lost, there’s no searching, you know your heritage.

1. That birthmothers had a choice 2. That birthmothers didn’t want or love their children 3. That women who want an open adoption must want to coparent 4. That an adoptee is a “gift” to their adoptive family 5. That APs are much more fit to parent than the birthparents 6. That birthmothers can just have more kids and just “move on” 7. That birth families don’t matter 8. That any birthmother must have been on drugs, sleeping around, or a drunk.

That I had a “better” life.

That there a ton of unwanted babies, and people who want to adopt deserve kids, so how could it be wrong to pair the unwanted kids up with the people who want them?

That adoption is an alternative to abortion. They shouldn’t even be in the same discussion!

The law knows what is best for the child. The judge will make a fair decision.

Reading these, I feel our collective pain – not just my fellow adoptees. Love to everyone.

Birthmothers had counseling so they were not coerced.

That searching for your bfamily means you don’t care about your afamily.

That if the child has adjustment issues or behavioral issues it is always the fault of DNA but if the child is a prodigy at something it was because he/she had all kinds of opportunities provided by the adoptive family.

There is no logic with which comments were chosen. Comments were randomly chosen and came from a collective of adult adoptees, adoptive parents and birth or first parents to give an insight into the thoughts of those affected by adoption.

Today though, as we think of Veronica, let the legacy of her story and her confinement be one of truth and education in all aspects of adoption. Don’t think that because one adoptee was happy or sad in their circumstances, that they all are. Or that because one adoptee was told the truth, that they all are. Don’t assume that because your best friend is a great mother who had a successful adoption and now has a loving home and great family that it is indicative of all adoptive families and homes. Don’t think because that friend is selfless that all adoptive parents are. And above all, don’t assume that when one speaks of their pain of their adoption experience that they are disturbed and disgruntled. Many, many adoptees, even those who had a seemingly great family, have emotional scars. Educate yourself and search out a more balanced picture.

The Capobiancos, in their long legal battle seem to have suffered both from their extreme desire for a child and from what I like to call ‘the Michael Jackson effect’. They had an entourage of supporters, all filling their world with glitter and unicorn dust, telling them all was right with the world and what they were doing was certainly the right thing both for them and for Veronica.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Many adult adoptees and adoptive parents agree that an infant Veronica was far different from a 4 yr. old Veronica and that given the way circumstances had changed in her life, they were wrong in forcing the adoption after she had been reunited with her birth father.

I don’t want to speculate on what response a grown Veronica will have to that. One thing I do know for certain is that she will find her truth one day. Her story has been so well documented and will hopefully serve as the example of how not to go about adoption in the future.

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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