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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Birthmother of Baby Veronica : give her to adoptive parents

Opinions:  Baby Veronica belongs with her adoptive parents

By Christy Maldonado, Published: July 12 

Christy Maldonado lives in Oklahoma. This month she filed a brief urging the Supreme Court of South Carolina to finalize her birth daughter’s adoption by Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

In the summer of 2009, I made the most difficult decision of my life: to place my baby, Veronica Rose, with adoptive parents. Many know her as “Baby Girl” or “Baby Veronica” because her adoptive parents and I fought all the way to the Supreme Court for Veronica’s right to be treated like a human being — not property owned by a Native American tribe.
I am Latina and not a member of any tribe. When I became pregnant, I was already a single mother with two children, in a relationship that was on the rocks. I thought hard about my options and decided I could not have an abortion. I was briefly engaged to Veronica’s biological father, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation, but our relationship was over by my third trimester.
     
When I asked my ex whether he wanted to be involved, he told me, by text message, that he wanted to give up all parental rights. And that was the last I heard from him. It was clear that my pregnancy and my baby were my responsibility.
I wasn’t sure I could go through with an adoption. I reviewed dozens of files before I found Matt and Melanie Capobianco. They lived in South Carolina, farther away than some couples I considered, but I immediately felt a connection. I could tell they were people of strong faith, like me. They had a great support system of family and friends and had tried for years to have children. From our first conversation, Melanie treated me with such warmth, respect and kindness. She also welcomed an open adoption that would allow me to be a part of my child’s life.
Matt and Melanie were with me in the delivery room, where I otherwise would have been alone. Matt cut the umbilical cord and was the first to hold Veronica. After a few days, Veronica went home with them.
Veronica’s biological father was out of the picture. He did not ask after her or even whether she had been born healthy. But after he got the adoption papers, he objected. His lawyers said that I could not choose my baby’s parents because he was a Cherokee and that either he would take custody or my baby would go to another member of the tribe. I could not believe that, after disappearing on us, he was trying to derail the family I had worked hard to give to my daughter. Why should a man who said he wanted no responsibility for his baby have more rights than I did just because he belonged to a tribe?
For 27 months, I watched Veronica grow and thrive with Matt and Melanie. I got regular updates, talked to her on the phone and watched her open presents at Christmas. They are wonderful parents, and I felt proud of the decision I had made for my child. But after more than two years in her happy home, a court ruled that my choice meant nothing.
I will never forget the night Matt and Melanie had to turn Veronica over to her biological father: He put Veronica in his truck, drove her to Oklahoma and never looked back. The next day, he let her have one brief phone call with her parents. Then nothing. Matt, Melanie and I have not seen or talked to our daughter in 18 months. My heart aches for her every day.
The Supreme Court ruled last month that this never should have happened. Some people have asked whether I think Veronica should still be raised by the adoptive parents I chose or, at this point, stay with her biological father. This question surprises me. I handpicked this couple to raise my baby in an open adoption with me. We are a family. They were there for me — and, more importantly, for Veronica — when Veronica’s biological father was not. I saw how deeply they cared for Veronica and how happy she was with them.
Veronica’s biological father abruptly cut her off from the only family she had ever known. It pains me to think of how many times she must have cried out for her Mama and Daddy — Melanie and Matt. No parent could possibly think it was okay to rip her away from them or to shut us all out of her life. If my baby had been kidnapped by a stranger, no one would suggest that she should be left with the kidnapper just because time had passed, even if she seemed to be doing all right in her new home.
Veronica should be returned to the parents I chose for her. Young children are resilient — as I was told when lawyers were arguing that her 27 months with Matt and Melanie, and my decision, were irrelevant. Veronica is bright and opinionated and was already talking a mile a minute at age 2. She surely remembers Matt and Melanie as her parents, and I know they will respect the time that she has spent with her biological father. Veronica, Matt and Melanie have been apart for too long. I may not be her Mama, but I will not stop fighting for what is best for her.

10 comments:

  1. I don't understand how a father, willing to take care of his own child, can be denied custody. A child should be with their biological parents if at all possible. Yes the father changed his mind, so what? People change their minds all the time, but this seems racist and sexist in my opinion and the birth mother has no rights on her say because she gave the child up. So her opinions should be exempt from this situation. Let a dad be a dad, and raise his daughter. Theres plenty out there that dont care.

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  2. Why do she still call them adoptive parents when the adoption never was finalized. Her saying that in the first paragraph makes the rest of her facts suspect or at least for me. If she cant get that fact right what else does she have wrong. Veronica is where she should be. Bio mom never gave Dad the chance to officially to say yea or nay to this pre adoption. They waited 4 mths to even notify him if there were so sure he was on board for this why not get his contest before they left OK???? They knew where he was and he was easy to find he was on a military base!!!

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  3. Thank you Drew and Anonymous for commenting. The case will be heard in family court (a judge not a jury) and I am hoping and praying Dusten and the federal ICWA laws win....

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  4. Sounds like she is drunk on Adoption Kool Aid. Sad. I wonder if her opinion will change in a few years.

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  5. Maybe she has to give the money back now if the adoption doesn't go through?

    "I handpicked this couple to raise my baby in an open adoption with me. We are a family. They were there for me — and, more importantly, for Veronica"

    Poor baby.

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  6. Thanks to you Anonymous commenters - this op-ed read like propaganda to me and very sad.

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  7. the only right this birthmother has left is to continue to advocate in a selfish way by writing this media piece for the 'prospective adoptive parents' who not ever legally adopted baby veronic. she and they have only won the right to question the birthfather's texting to relinquish his rights to parent while on his way to deployment in afghanistan. if one can not see why a father would do this shows us he truly loved his daughter to choose the birthmother to do the right thing should he not return alive or become incapacitated as a soldier of war. the credibility of the birthmother's perspective should be held in question as she made a business deal with the prospective adoptive parents to remove the child from any connection the the baby's birthfamily, native culture, heritage, and roots. what a twisted way to believe this is healthy at all for any child much less an adoptee and native person later in life when we have to go wondering, searching, disappointed many times when the truth is kept from us. it is truly agonizing way to live even if we have many more options we still do not have direct access to our identities and origins. it's time and it's fate we be acknowledged by our birthfamilies and our tribal native people. and when adoption occurs needs to make it a possibility to have our information.

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  8. I thank you all for posting comments. They are so appreciated!

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  9. Janelle Black OwlJuly 17, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I am a Native American Adoptee. I was adopted out when I a year, and two months, old to a non-native family. I always KNEW to the very core of my being, that my adoptive family was NOT my biological family. I remember the day I was in the house of my adoptive family. This is not a happy memory.

    If my biological father had changed his mind when he presented the adoption papers to sign his parental rights away, my mother would have been in the same position as Veronicas birth mother. Although my adoption was closed, it would have put my mother in a position to have her world rocked, because she had already made a life changing decision for me, and she did not want me with him either.

    We, as Native people have laws to protect our sacred ones, the children, that other people will never understand; because they do not understand, on the emotional and psychological lever that we understand, the historical trauma that our people have suffered through adoptions, the boarding schools. They do not understand that we are trying to preserve our culture and keep our people alive.
    There is no way to make them understand this, because they do not live it and feel it the way our people do.

    I feel badly for this precious child, Veronica. Although her birth mother says children are resilient, when you are ripped away from the only family that you have known, it leaves a deep emotional and psychological scar. THIS I know for a fact. It does not matter if they are biological or adoptive. The birth father exercised his rights as a native man, to take responsibility for his child. The damage is already done to this child. She will never be the same. She needs parents who are going to love her. I believe that now, she will be better off with her father, in a community that can understand and help her heal from this trauma that has taken place, because these are her people. To the very core of who she is, she will know this. NO matter where she is.



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  10. Interesting comments. I, too, support the birth father. It seems to me that his unsupportive actions might be a result of him being hurt by the child's bio-mom. When my husband's fiancee (the mother of his two-year-old daughter) called off the wedding, my husband couldn't be around his child for weeks because it hurt too much. He "got over it" and thankfully wasn't taken to court.

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If you thought that ethnic cleansing was something for the history books, think again. This work tells the stories of Native American Indian adoptees "The Lost Birds" who continue to suffer the effects of successive US and Canadian government policies on adoption; policies that were in force as recently as the 1970's. Many of the contributors still bear the scars of their separation from their ancestral roots. What becomes apparent to the reader is the reality of a racial memory that lives in the DNA of adoptees and calls to them from the past.
The editors have let the contributors tell their own stories of their childhood and search for their blood relatives, allowing the reader to gain a true impression of their personalities. What becomes apparent is that nothing is straightforward; re-assimilation brings its own cultural and emotional problems. Not all of the stories are harrowing or sad; there are a number of heart-warming successes, and not all placements amongst white families had negative consequences. But with whom should the ultimate decision of adoption reside? Government authorities or the Indian people themselves? Read Two Worlds and decide for yourself.

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