What is in Baby Veronica’s Best Interest?

Dawn Davenport


Baby Veronica Adoption Case

Baby Veronica’s biological father says he won’t return her to her adoptive family. He’s currently out on bail for felony charge of custodial interference.

If only I had a magic wand or could click my heels and make something happen. Surely I’d be waving and clicking away right now. The sad sage continues in the Baby Veronica case, and this child is almost literally being torn in two.

By now everyone knows the basic facts. Man meets woman. Man, and this turns out to be an important point, is a member of the Cherokee tribe. Woman gets pregnant. Man is deployed with the armed forces. When he finds out about the pregnancy, he relinquishes his parental rights (via text) because he says he doesn’t want to pay child support. Woman selects an adoptive family for the baby and places her in an open adoption with a South Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Four months later and before the six month time period necessary for finalization had expired, the biological father, Dusten Brown, changed his mind and sought custody, saying he did not realize that Veronica was going to be placed for adoption. Mr. Brown challenged the adoption in South Carolina court, and the case eventually made its way up the system to the South Carolina Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of the biological father since they interpreted the 1978 federal law, National Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), as preventing the adoption of Native American children outside of the tribe if the tribe objects.

Meanwhile, Veronica continued to live and thrive with her adopted family for 27 months.

Baby Veronica Adoption Case

Baby Veronica was removed and placed with her biological father.

After the South Carolina Supreme Court ruling, Veronica was removed from her adoptive family without a gradual transition and moved to Oklahoma with her father and his wife. She had no further contact with her adopted parents, other than one phone call the day after she was removed.

The Capobiancos moved their fight for Veronica to the federal courts challenging the South Carolina interpretation of ICWA. Against all odds, this case was selected to be heard by the US Supreme Court, which ruled in June that ICWA did not apply in this case because Mr. Brown gave up his parental rights before Veronica’s birth.

Meanwhile, Veronica continued to live and thrive with her biological father for almost 2 years.

The case went back to the South Carolina courts to determine final custody. In light of the US Supreme Court’s ruling that the ICWA didn’t apply, they concluded that the original placement with the Capobiancos should not have been disrupted. They ordered Mr. Brown to return Veronica to her adoptive family. Arrangements were made for a gradual transition, and the Capobiancos have said they would like to work out an open adoption arrangement with Mr. Brown.

On the appointed day of transfer, Mr. Brown did not bring Veronica. The South Carolina court issued a felony warrant against him for custodial interference. On Monday of this week, he turned himself in to Oklahoma authorities for failing to appear in South Carolina and is out on bond. He has said he will continue to fight for his daughter.

Meanwhile, Veronica lives in limbo.

The wheels of justice move slowly, but once they move it’s a done deal, especially if the final court to speak is the US Supreme Court. It is hard to imagine an outcome at this point that doesn’t involve Veronica going back to her adoptive family. That’s how the law works in the US. What is abundantly clear is that the fighting between the biological family and the adoptive family makes it harder for them both to remain in the child’s life. It makes it almost impossible for a smooth and gradual transition between the two families.

Meanwhile, people thinking about adoption extrapolate this case to all adoption cases and are scared to death.

I always preach that in adoption, the child’s best interest should be our guiding principle. What is in Veronica’s best interest? Has best interest changed now that she has been living with her biological father for almost two years? Does the birth mother’s wishes or interpretation of what is best for her daughter count? If so, she has said she wants her daughter to be back with the adoptive family.

Never mind, I don’t want a magic wand or clicking heels. Oh, King Solomon where are you when we need you?!?


Image credit: Ross Pollack, Plbmak

14/08/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 48 Comments

48 Responses to What is in Baby Veronica’s Best Interest?

  1. Avatar Maj John Adair says:

    I’m having some serious issues with the credibility of the folks involved with the case.

    – Dusten believes he is giving up his rights to the birth mother. What state is that legal in? No one is that clueless.

    – Dusten is going to be deployed, going to training in Iowa, or some other excuse related to his military service. The DoD has special leave categories for soldiers with families issues. The DoD has also flown soldiers home from the battlefield, setup video conferences, etc to handle urgent family issues. I don’t buy the whole, I could not challenge the adoption due to my military service excuse.

    Mainly, this sounds like the birth mother and father are fighting and dragging the adoptive parents through the ringer. The courts have ruled it’s in the best interest of the child not to be involved with the fighting birth parents. Stability is very important in a young child’s life and this current drama demonstrates this very clearly.

    I also don’t know what to think about Western States and their adoptions laws. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled here. SCOTUS is the highest court in the US. They have directed South Carolina to be the controlling state here. The whole discussion about additional court hearings in OK really seems like a waste of time. SCOTUS refused to hear Dusten’s appeals. I also don’t buy the misspelled name claim. Spell like functions have been around for quite a while. The Cherokee Nation could have easily provide similar spellings if they wanted to provide a complete response to the IWCA inquiry.

    If the Cherokee Nation wants to make political points or disagree with the SCOTUS do they really have to USE a 4 year old girl to do it?

    • Maj John, it seems reasonable to me that when Brown relinquished his right to parent that he thought the birth mother was going to parent the child. I believe she was already parenting a child or children, so it is reasonable that this is what he thought he was doing. It also seems reasonable that he didn’t think of the possibility that she would place the child for adoption. I do agree that it sure feels like this is a case where the bio parents are/were in major conflict.

  2. Avatar Dana says:

    Veronica is home. If the C’s remove her from her fit father (going back to when she was 4 months old and spelling his name wrong is not ok) it will be about their needs, but not hers. Adoption is for kids who need homes, not homes that need kids. If they do take her, they have 14 years to hold on to her and then she has free will to leave.

  3. Avatar Jennifer says:

    I think it would have been in Veronica’s best interest initially to stay with her adoptive family. The mother’s wishes for her daughter (being the child’s sole legal guardian) should have mattered a great deal more than they did in this case (and frankly, it’s scary that ICWA trumped that woman’s rights to make a choice & plan for her child).

    I have a great deal of contempt for the father, however, I find myself in an odd position now that the child is 2-years-old & has lived with her biological father for such a long period of time. I think what he did was wrong, and the interpretation of ICWA law to place Veronica with her biological father was unfair to everyone involved. But, (& I really hate to say this) as long as Veronica’s father is a decent parent figure. . .unfortunately, because of the length of time that passed, I believe it would be in the child’s best interest to have consistency and continuity and continue to reside with her father.

    I think the court case was an important one, and made an important distinction for future cases. What’s fair and right for the adoptive parents, and biological mother was for the child to never be removed. The whole situation is completely unfair and unjust, but at this point, I believe it unfortunately best for the child to not be jostled around once again.

  4. Avatar Jennifer M says:

    This is such a difficult case. I don’t agree with how the father went about things (first relinquishing his rights and then changing his mind, using an outdated federal law to do it). However, I do have to wonder if it is in the child’s best interest to disrupt her life AGAIN to go back to adoptive parents who she may not even remember. Its so sad all around and I wonder if anyone is putting the child’s best interests first.

  5. Avatar Geochick says:

    As someone who recently went through a failed placement, I’ve been flip flopping daily/hourly on this issue. In reading the facts on the case, if I had a magic wand, I would wave it and go all the way back to when the Tribe was notified of the baby. The father’s name was incorrect on the notification, in my mind, an egregious error on the part of the attorney or agency for the adoptive parents. As adoptive parents we rely on the fees we pay to the agency or attorney to act ethically and in the best interests of the child. I think that mistake is basically what started the nightmare. It may have been a very different story if the correct name of the father had been on the paperwork, and the Tribe had found his name in their records. Barring undoing that mistake, it’s easy to say that when the father wanted to parent that the adoptive parents should have transitioned the child then. But, we don’t know what they knew about Veronica’s father and can only assume that whatever Veronica’s mother told them gave them cause to fight for Veronica. People have been dragging all the parents through the mud for their actions, and I’ve seen vitriol on both sides (usually in comments on articles, so take that with a grain of salt). But, as adoptive parents, we can only make decisions based on what other people are telling us, we don’t have a magic wand that lets us know when they are lying and when they are telling the truth.

    • Geochick, are you saying that the birth mother told the adoption agency that the father was Cherokee and that the adoption agency tried to get the approval of the tribe, but used the wrong name? I hadn’t heard that before.

  6. Avatar TAO says:

    Dawn, yes in the court transcripts it confirms that not only did the mother acknowledge the father to be Cherokee, the lawyer/agency sent for ICWA clearance request and not only spelled his name wrong, they provided an inaccurate birth date for him. The response from the CN was he wasn’t listed but if the info provided was incorrect that nullify their response. Further compounding the issue is the ICPC form to get permission to take Veronica from OK to SC did not state she Native American heritage.

    I know you were trying to just hit the highlights in your post, but it was also confirmed the first time he heard about adoption was the four month “Notice of Service” document.

    Veronica should stay with her father.

    As an adoptee it matters more than you can imagine to know that my adoption was squeaky clean. Knowing otherwise would have created huge problems in how I view mom and dad…

    Here’s an ethics question. Why do we all agree that for it to be ethical, mothers should only sign adoption papers after they have been counselled on their legal rights and I believe all states have that in the law – but apparently it’s okay to not require that for a father? Why the different requirements?

    Further we recognise that fathers are important to the health and well-being of a child. We need to apply that same belief to fathers in adoption, and recognise that to done right both need to agree.

    It’s also time to recognise that it takes both a man and woman to create a child and at birth both should be equal. Break ups are messy and not one sided, and either, or, both sides can be vindictive. (in this case they were engaged, and she broke it off so obviously feelings would be running very high, and in fairness you can’t apply she said, without the he said, and find the truth in the middle). Isn’t that what an agency is supposed to do?

  7. Avatar TAO says:

    Dawn, I think it would have changed this case completely because Dusten had been enrolled since childhood. Nor should the child have been cleared for interstate transfer to SC without CN advised. I just can’t stand behind an adoption that started on the wrong foot.

    Yes, it is a moot point now, but if people want adoption to be seen as valid (as in their families are valid) – act ethically and speak up against wrong doing. Don’t just pretend it doesn’t happen.

  8. Avatar Tracy says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading the different perspectives here. I don’t think there is any one “right” thing to do at this point, although if the families could be strong enough to share custody, maybe…? But in regards to Dawn’s comment about putting yourself in the adoptive parents’ position, I’d have to say they think of themselves as Veronica’s parents, not adoptive parents. I think that, at two years old, Veronica knew who mommy and daddy were, and she was taken away from them. At four, she knows another daddy, and now will be taken away from him. Adoptive parents or birth parents; either way she will hurt from the loss if being taken away from her parents. Too sad for words.

  9. Avatar Lisa says:

    Interesting all the different variations that are out there (including the issues TAO expressed with paperwork filed with CN). When I initially heard of this situation prior to it becoming big news it was on a RadioLab podcast (http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2013/may/30/adoptive-couple-v-baby-girl/) and there it was stated (by Dusten I believe) that when he signed the relinquishment a few days before he was scheduled to head overseas on deployment his understanding was that he was relinquishing his parental rights to the birth mother. That’s where my logic/thoughts go, 1. why did he not have appropriate representation to be sure he knew what in the world he was signing?! 2. While the adoption professionals in the situation hold a humongous responsibility and should be held accountable, it was Dusten who VOLUNTARILY CHOSE to sign on that dotted line, that means it was ultimately DUSTEN who is responsible and the courts should have never overturned the adoption proceedings/custody based on race if DUSTEN truly VOLUNTARILY signed a relinquishment. From what I heard he was not under coercion or duress, no one MADE him sign that document, that was the CHOICE he made. Tao I totally agree that there are also big issues if the info submitted to CN was incorrect; however, the time to “fix” things is not abruptly with a 27 month old child, how is that in her best interest?

    Also, why is it that the parents (all of them) are being drug through the mud, but we aren’t hearing about the agency or attorneys involved? They were clearly negligent at best and that must be addressed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

    When I initially learned about this I was torn of what the right “solution” was and I was truly thankful that it wasn’t my decision to make, because in my opinion Veronica should have never been removed from her parents (adoptive) (that is if the info, including Dusten’s relinquishment I heard is accurate); however she has now lived with her dad and his family who love her dearly and are providing for her for nearly as long and how could another transition be in her best interest? HOWEVER, then Dusten CHOSE not to show up for a COURT ORDERED visitation with her adoptive parents and is harboring this child and making the entire situation worse and the transition even more difficult for her because much like when she was initially moved, it did not happen (and is not likely to now) gradually as it should have, it happened in the blink of an eye. Good parent’s want the best for their children, period and sometimes their perspective of “best” is going to vary significantly, but breaking the law repeatedly and showing a blatant disrespect for the law and for the people who were willing to love and raise your daughter regardless of personal risk when you were unwilling to even provide financial support, much less anything more, is absurd and to me is proof that Dusten needs to be held to the court decision and return Veronica to her parents as he is not putting her best interests at heart.

    My heart breaks for Veronica, she is the one who has to bear this tremendous burden regardless of the outcome. The courts have to uphold this ruling and follow through, if you voluntarily relinquish and the relinquishment is irrevocable based on the law and you can not prove coercion or duress you don’t “get” to change your mind and destroy your child’s life. 🙁

    • Lisa, one thing I’d like to point out is that the father, Dusten Brown, did not abruptly intervene and object when Veronica was 27 months old. As I understand it, he stated his objections when she was 4 months old, which was the first time he learned of the adoption. The adoptive families did not agree to return the baby to him, and the case ended up in South Carolina court. It took 23 more months for the court proceeding to wind their way up to the SC Supreme Court and for that court to rule that ICWA was applicable and Dusten should have custody.

      I agree that I’d like to hear more about how the agency or attorney might have handled this case better. Anyone have details on that?

  10. I’ve tried to put myself in the adoptive parents position and wonder what I would do. I suppose, as someone has pointed it, a lot would depend on what they have been told about the biological father. It would be so hard to put the child’s need for permanency about my need to be a parent. Same for both sets of parents, although now, it is the adoptive parents who are in the position of giving her up and 2 years ago it was her biological father who was in that position. Ughh.

  11. Avatar Erin says:

    I think that one of the parents needs to stop the madness and think of their daughter. No one truly cares for her otherwise they would not be having this custody battle. If she really thrived in both homes (that is the question I would have?) WHY would her bio mother want her to stay with adoptive couple? Is the bio father an unhealthy relationship? If not and she is really thriving then her bio father should have made the loving choice to allow her to stay with her adoptive family 2 yrs ago. If she is really thriving with her bio father now then the adoptive family needs to allow her to stay with her biological father. I feel in either situation they do need to allow each other to see her. I feel in the end Veronica will resent them both for not loving her enough to give her the permanency that she deserves. And the openness with the ALL the ppl she loves. A child can love many ppl. And many ppl loving a child can only be a good thing. We are about the adopt our foster son and we will have an open adoption with his birth family bc it is only beneficial to our son and he will only love us more for loving his birth family too.

  12. Avatar Kathryn says:

    A sad, sad situation. You make a good point though, that some form of cooperation among the families would truly be in Veronica’s best interest.

  13. Avatar Lisa says:

    Interesting case to say the least. I cannot see how moving a four year old away from her healthy biological father is in her best interest. I think the court ruled correctly for future children but they should leave her alone. As a foster parent this happens all the time. The child goes back to the biological family and has no contact with the former foster family.

  14. Avatar Erin says:

    It is definitely not an easy decision or an easy situation. The whole senario intrigues me. I feel like the ones making the decisions don’t even have a clue. I do not envy them at all. After them having parenting for 27 months if I was in the situation, I have no idea what I would actually do. That is like me having to give up a niece that is 2 yrs. old and I know I couldn’t even do that let alone a child that I have raised. I’ve had my foster son for 4 months and I don’t want to give him back. But also after losing several children to miscarriage, adoption failures and then the threat of losing them back to their bio families through foster care my perspectives have changed and my heart has gotten stronger in both my ability to love and deal with loss. (We have done IUI, IVF w/miscarriage, private adoption – birth mom changed her mind) and now foster parents of a 4 month old we have had since birth. I have been faced with that very question, will we be able to give him back to his birth parents? Especially knowing why he was removed in the first place. We actually will have no choice. Though the difference is we know this is a possibility and the adoptive parents did not. They were blindsided. I am not even an official parent yet- adopted or biological and I feel for all involved. I do think the best solution even if it is hard is for one set of parents to sacrifice themselves for the child and then the other set needs to sacrifice also by allowing her to see them. UGHH is right! prayers for the decision makers, I wouldn’t want to be them either.

  15. Erin, you’re right that both sides need to give of themselves. I too wonder what I’d do. I know what I’d like to say I’d do, but not sure what I would actually do.

  16. Avatar Ed123 says:

    The lesson here for those hoping to adopt is to talk with and get consents from both parents PRIOR to taking placement of a child. No one was thinking of Veronica’s best interests when this placement happened. They knew the fathers name and location, yet the agency, attorney nor prospective adoptive couple contacted him prior to taking placement of the child. Ethical agencies insist on getting consents from both parents prior to placement. Agencies out for the money will do anything they can think of to discourage involving the father. After working in this field for over fifteen years, I can tell you I have seen very few cases where the father was not known. I now work for a social service agency who has an adoption department, but does not rely on money from placements in order to operate. Last year we had sixty women come through our doors considering adoption, only six of them ended up placing. We helped the others parent. Most agencies will quote placing percentages as high as 90 % as if that is a good thing.

  17. Avatar tomo says:

    I also heard about this story on radiolab. If we are to consider the best interest of the child, then she should not have been placed with the biological father when she was. But now that she has been with her father for 2 years and *fortunately* seems to be adjusting to this life she should not be moved again. It is unfair and not right. But Veronica doesn’t know that. At this point, I think it is difficult to justify to Veronica why she was removed from her father when he wanted her and was able to care for her.

    I wish there was a way to have all the adults work together and figure out a way to all be involved in her life (like reverse open adoption). It really is a terrible situation for the adoptive parents but I think they should step away. I truly feel for them, but I hope they don’t take Veronica away from her dad.

  18. Avatar Laura Jean says:

    As an adoptive parent I do not think I would have fought to retain custody once the biological father changed his mind. In this situation where the birth father is known despite relinquishing his rights (perhaps in haste) I would want that parents consent in writing that they were informed and consented to the placement of the child.

    I think moving this child again especially from a caring biological parent with whom she has bonded will do irreparable harm to the child and will make her relationship with her adoptive parents challenging.

    Regardless of the ICWA I believe the biological father should have been given the same rights as a birth mother to change his mind within a certain timeframe. While a text could be considered legally binding it is foolish to rely on this without following up and having the parent sign documentation or at least be able to demonstrate the effort was made to have the parent sign forms relinquishing custody and that they have been made aware of the adoption plan for their child. Ideally receiving consent of the adoption would be best but failing that something that would have proven the parent fully intended to relinquish custody and knew that by doing so the child would be placed for adoption.

    • Laura Jean, I’ve been trying to put myself back in the adoptive parents’ shoes when Veronica was 4 months old and they first realized that the birth father did not consent. Even though they might have had a legal claim that he had relinquished his rights, they knew then that he did not in fact actually consent in reality. I wonder if they were hearing things from the birth mother that made them concerned about turning Veronica over to her father? Does anyone know. Not sure whether this would really change what the “should” have done, but it might explain why they decided to fight for her in the courts.

  19. Avatar Robyn says:

    I wrote a blog post about this myself. It’s a very complicated case, with a lot of he said/she said.

    Veronica should not have been removed from her adoptive parents.

    When Brown obtained custody, not only did he cut off all contact with the Capobiancos, he cut off all contact with Christy Maldonado, Veronica’s birthmother, and her family. Until I found that out, I, too, thought that perhaps it would be best for Veronica to stay with her biological father. However, cutting off contact with Maldonado is, I believe, unacceptable. In the open adoption community, we’d chastise any adoptive parents who chose to cut off contact with a safe birth mother, so why should our reaction be any different when a bio parent does it?

    When it came time to sign the papers, he basically didn’t read what he was signing. Maldonado has said that he didn’t want to support the baby, and I think his actions bear that out – until he found out what he had actually signed.

    • Robyn, I hear what you say about cutting off contact with both her birth mother and the family she had lived with for 27 months. I agree neither of these actions is right or in my opinion in the best interest of the child. However, we are steeped in understanding of open adoption and “best interest of the child” theories. Most of the rest of the world is not, probably including Dusten Brown. Plenty of people I speak with every day think open adoption is a crazy concept and awful for children. It is a relatively new concept in American adoption, and many people find it uncomfortable who haven’t seen it in action or read about it. I suspect Brown was in that camp. His actions, while perhaps uninformed, weren’t necessarily motivated by spite or evil intent.

  20. Avatar Robyn says:

    (oops – hit the Submit button by accident)

    Many birth fathers have been in a position in which the birthmother cuts off contact. Some have hired lawyers to assert their rights. Some sign the putative father registries. Brown did neither. But when he found out “his” child was being placed for adoption, he all of a sudden wanted to be a dad?

    It’s unfortunate that Brown has denied Veronica a decent transition period to return to her parents. I hope the Capobiancos will be up to the task of parenting her through this time. I don’t think, as others seem to, that she will be forever scarred, or hate the Capobiancos.

    • Robyn, I’m all over the board on my emotions on this case. I feel one way, and then I read what you wrote and I feel another way. I’d like to rewind the clock to almost 4 years ago, when Veronica was 4 months old and her bio dad first found out. Wouldn’t it have been possible to get a mediator/counselor/clergy involved with all parties to help sort out some sort of arrangement going forward. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems like some version of this outcome was predictable. Not the state and US Supreme courts’ involvement–that was totally unexpected, but the fact that Veronica was being torn between two families and that this is absolutely not in her best interest in the short term and not in her best interest as an adult when she will surely read all about this case. Way back then, how strong at that point was the adoptive families “claim” on her? Did this claim trump her bio dad’s claim?

  21. Avatar Maj John Adair says:


    JAG provides lawyers to every soldier being deployed. Also, several family specialists/social workers to help soldiers get their affairs in order when they deploy overseas. All soldiers would know their rights under the Sailor and Solider Relief Act (SSCRA.) SSCRA can stop any adoption proceeding until the soldier return from a deployment. JAG would explain that TPR agreements don’t work in the manner you you say, “it seems reasonable to me that when Brown relinquished his right to parent that he thought the birth mother was going to parent the child.” JAG would have used the SSCRA to put the adoption on hold, instead of recommending a soldier sign a TPR.

    If the adoption occurred four months into the deployment, while the soldier was in country, then JAG would have automatically filed a SSCRA motion to put the adoption on hold until the soldier returns.

    Again, in my unit we have similar issues and JAG/SSCRA resolves these issues for my soldiers. I don’t think the military is the issue here. The problem here is the bio parents and as such, the child needs to return to the legal parents.

  22. Avatar Wendy says:

    I was thinking about this last night. If only someone had considered the child’s best interest from the beginning.

  23. Avatar Lonni says:

    Ugh! This case is so yucky! My heart goes out to all sides.

    I have wondered what Baby Veronica’s thoughts might be 10/15/20 years from now if she does go back to her adoptive parents. With all the national attention this case has received, it seems next to impossible that they would be able to keep any of the details from her. (Not that they should keep those details from her anyway.) I wouldn’t want to be the parent who had to look at my daughter and say, “Well, you came to live with us and then the Courts said you had to go back to your bio dad. He wanted you and fought to have you live with him, but we got you back again. You’re living with us even though your dad wanted and had the ability to raise you.”

    Realizing that adoptees have emotions across the board about their stories, I wonder just how Baby Veronica will deal with her story someday. I could be totally wrong, but my thinking at the moment is that it would be better for her to stay with her bio dad.

    I think… =(

  24. Avatar Erin says:

    Exactly, it’s easy to give an opinion but when faced with reality I don’t think any of us knows what we would do or are even capable of doing. 🙂 thanks for having your podcasts they’ve been very helpful to us in our journey to parenthood. We aren’t there yet but I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  25. Avatar Cindy says:

    there is a no longer a right answer here. that was lost long ago, by many people.

  26. Cindy, so very true. There is no answer that won’t leave that child with a heavy burden.

  27. Avatar Dina says:

    It is a horrible situation and I hope only the best for the little girl. Another sad outcome of this case is the part that is on the evening news gives only a snapshot of the whole case and therefore people relate it to ALL adoptions. I’ve had people ask if we were worried either of our boys birth families would try to take them away from us because of what they’ve heard.

  28. Avatar Lily says:

    this is another example of how adoption laws have to be implemented and put into motion in all cases. this is a mess! for the little girl, her adoptive parents and her dad. poor thing.

  29. Avatar Janettee says:

    Oh crap! I spent an hour or more composing a huge reply… Wondered why no one responded, now I see it didn’t go through on my phone 🙁 I’ll re-respond later… Dinner time LOL.

  30. Avatar Janettee says:

    I find myself reluctant to re-write all that LOL… Maybe tomorrow.

  31. Avatar Leisha Tompkins says:

    I have pretty strong feelings about this case, although I can see both points of view. A child should have 2 parents, preferably 2, who love and want her. I am an adoptee. I was adopted by m paternal grandparents. I was not wanted by my bio parents who were teens, even after I was born. Although my grandparents physically provided for all my needs, they had already had 4 children and raised many more. I wasn’t really “wanted” by them either but I am grateful. In my mid 30s, I still do not know what it is like to be someone’s daughter. I have been a granddaughter but never a daughter. My mother had another baby and placed her for adoption, I heard, and for a long time I wished that would happen to me. How this is relevant is that she has 2 “adoptive” parents who wanted her and raised her during a CRITICAL moment in her brain development and primary attachment phase. Her bio father did not want her. He did not fight for her then, when he “thought” he was giving bio mom all the legal rights and full custody. This girl needs a mother who wants her, because we do not know, in looking at bio dads actions, if he does truly want her or not (there could be a lot of reasons for the legal battle). When he and stepmom have their “own” children, will she still be wanted? Yes you could ask the same questions about the adoptive parents. I, too, would like to go back in time and work this out but I think it is sad for a person to show with his actions that he does not want a child and then espouse suddenly that her best interest is with him. All children deserve and should be wanted. That is what is in Baby Veronica’s best interest IMO.

  32. Avatar Janettee says:

    I’m just gonna shorten it… Basically it was all about my son being in DHS custody (the long part was how we got there) and then how he was adopted out and the judge was saying how great it was to have everyone only caring about his welfare… And basically after things got better I probably could have claimed coercion but didn’t because I’m not that selfish and want better things for him… My point was that if everyone involved was more worried about this little girl than themselves, she’d have a ton of people who all love her, rather than just one family or the other…

  33. Avatar Suzanne Schlotterback says:

    As an adoptive mother, I find myself in full support of the bio father. He was served papers outside of a mall, and signed on the spot, trusting that what he signed was just to give full custody to the child’s mother.

    What I can’t get over is how hard this father has fought for his child after learning of the adoption. As a human being, if I learned as a child/teen/or adult, that my biological father fought for me and my adoptive parents kept us apart, I’m not sure how I would feel towards the adoptive parents. Unless the biological father was abusive or otherwise unfit, I believe I would feel undeniable resentment and anger towards my adoptive parents. I certainly hope, for this child’s sake, that she will be provided counselling.
    I have a child baby Veronica’s age, and she is at the age where she will remember, and where she would grieve to the point of sickness if she was removed from our home. Thoughts of my child keep running through my mind. I and truly sad for this sweet child.

    • Suzanne, I wonder too how Veronica will feel about all this. She will know that both her biological father and adoptive parents fought for her. I also wonder if her father and his wife are going to make the transition to the adoptive family (assuming that will be the final outcome) worse by not helping to prepare Veronica and letting her know these are safe people. This case makes my stomach hurt. I keep going back to when she was 4 months old and wish I could change that outcome.

  34. Avatar Greg says:

    Like you Dawn I’ve gone back and forth on this case. This is a very complicated very emotional case for not only the parties involved but also people who have had their lives touched by adoption in some way. This case has brought out the worst in people directly involved and those outside parties speaking out on the case. It’s a very sad case where this little girl’s best interest was put to the side by each adult party at one point. In my opinion each adult party shares some responsibility for this mess.

    First the birth/first mother should have done more than just send a text message prior to the child’s birth. She should have made it clear to him that she was considering placing the baby for adoption if he refused to support the pregnancy and provide child support. That leads to Dusten’s responsibility for abandoning his pregnant fiancé and his daughter the first four months of her life. I have no doubts that if he was never served with the adoption papers that he would never have filed custody for her or ever been a part of her life. Sure I am assuming but it’s based on the fact that he didn’t get involved in her life until after he signed away custody of her. Whether or not she was being placed for adoption was irrelevant he should have been supporting the pregnancy and agreed to pay child support. Both of these parties are responsible for the mess of this case starting.

    That brings me to the Capobiancos, I am not an adoptive parent but if I were in their shoes like Lauren Jean the minute that Dusten Brown contested the adoption I would have relinquished Veronica and let the birth/first parents battle it out. It would have been extremely difficult to that with a lot of grief from doing so. In fact the grief may have been so intense that they decided to not pursue adoption all together. This is what those in the adoption community don’t get when they tell the Capobiancos to just “Go adopt a child who needs a home”. Those who say that don’t understand the grief they would go through in addition it devalues other children in the US Foster Care system. However, in the long run raising the child would have been extremely difficult especially when she found out that her birth/first father changed his mind and decided he wanted to parent four months after her birth.

    With that being said after almost two years of being with her birth/first father and stepmother in my opinion it’s in her best interest to stay with them. There has been damage done already to this girl and there will be even more if she goes to the Capobiancos. But I fear this case is past the point of no return. I don’t see either adult party backing down. I see this getting even more ugly and complicated. I hope it will end peacefully and this child doesn’t end up suffering but I am not confident that will happen.

    • Greg, like you, I wish I understood more what happened when Dusten first objected to the adoption when Veronica was 4 months old. It’s easy to say that the adoptive parents should have immediately relinquished Veronica, but that doesn’t take into account what they are hearing from the birth mother about what she wants and her opinion about whether she wants Dusten to have the baby. I don’t know the details in this case, but the birth mother might well have not made an adoption plan for Veronica if she had known that Dusten would contest the adoption. Relinquishment as soon as Dusten contested the adoption also discounts the fact that they love Veronica. Yes, I realize it might be selfish, but love is a powerful and wonderful motivator in parenting—thank goodness for the mental health of all humans.

      [But I fear this case is past the point of no return. I don’t see either adult party backing down. I see this getting even more ugly and complicated.] Yeah, I’m afraid you are so right.

  35. Janettee, oh I HATE it when that happens. Hope you’ll find the energy to re-write.

  36. I’m all over the board on my emotions on this case. I’d like to rewind the clock to almost 4 years ago, when Veronica was 4 months old and her bio dad first found out. Wouldn’t it have been possible to get a mediator/counselor/clergy involved with all parties to help sort out something. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but it seems like some version of this outcome was predictable. Not the state and US Supreme courts’ involvement–that was totally unexpected, but the fact that Veronica was being torn between two families and that this is absolutely not in her best interest in the short term and not in her best interest as an adult when she will surely read all about this case. Way back then, how strong at that point was the adoptive families “claim” on her? Did this claim trump her bio dad’s claim?

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