Veronica Brown: Think it forward

My family has just passed one of those major milestones they tell you will shake up your life: my husband and I just drove across the country to bring our daughter to her new home on the other coast. Three straight days of driving were followed by two frantic days of moving, job interviews and some needed down time with our son, who has been in the same city working for over a year.

We left the car out there for our two hard-working kids (who are far from kids anymore) to use, and took a red-eye home to a far-too-quiet house. We’ve experienced the quiet before, but only temporarily, while both were away at college. This, I’m pretty sure, is permanent. And it has generated a lot of nostalgia and reflection.

As I’ve begun to catch up on the latest in the adoption world, the Veronica Brown case has dominated discussion. You all know about it, so I won’t repeat what’s happening; you can both sides of the story at Dusten Brown’s website or that of the Copobiancos.

And oh, there’s plenty of outcry around the internet on both sides of this terribly-handled case. Yet to me, the only right outcome is clearly for Veronica to remain with the father who has sought custody of her from the moment he realized that she was being sent to another state for adoption. I have seen the quibbling over dates and timelines and such, but at the end of the day it’s very clear to anyone with a shred of sense that this man wanted his child, but the perverse adoption laws in the states in question prioritized his rights as a father below those of prospective adopters.

It’s incredibly sad to realize that these same laws may take this little girl from a father who wants to be her dad, sadder still to face the fact that there are people who are willing to adopt in circumstances like these.

Perhaps I delude myself by thinking I would have acted more appropriately had one of my children’s adoptions been contested after they had lived with us for a year. But I am absolutely sure I would not have proceeded in the first place with an adoption under the circumstances surrounding this one. The very fact that this case continues is a stark reminder of just how skewed American attitudes around adoption have become. For if a loving parent cannot be sure the courts will honor their right to love their own kids, what can we really be sure of?

I am sure the Copobiancos are hurting. I sympathize. But I also encourage them to consider a day when their child is a peer - and let me tell you, that day comes a lot sooner than you expect it to. Think it forward. Think of the day on which you must explain your actions. How will you say to her that you prevented her from living with her father? Will you misrepresent him by painting a picture of evil, or dismiss his love? Do you believe you can perpetuate such a lie?

No story can be concocted, no justification invented and no law called upon to make the adoption of Veronica Brown right. If it proceeds, it will stand as one of the starkest examples of the failure of adoption policy in America.

Show your support for Dusten and Veronica Brown on their webpage and Facebook at Standing our Ground for Veronica Brown, and follow on Twitter with hashtag #keepveronicahome and #babyveronica.

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