Is adoption in Veronica’s best interest?

ImageI see so many people who are so quick to use their anger, frustration and judgments of Dusten as a reason to “give Veronica back to the Capobiancos”. Please try to remember that Veronica is not an item or a trophy to be won by the ‘more worthy’, more likeable, wealthier, longer married or ‘less jerky’ family. Veronica is her own person with rights that are all hers as an individual citizen of the United States of America, that have nothing to do with ICWA or either side.

The Declaration of Independence granted all US-born people the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The right to pursue happiness protects the individual’s ability to live for his own sake, rather than for the sake of society. It is based on the idea that the pursuit of one’s self-interest is one’s highest moral purpose.

The Constitution of America grants all citizens the right to ‘Due Process’ which means that each citizen legally must be able to access all their rights without discrimination or being skipped over.

Things that adoption takes from her:

– Her right to be raised in her culture.
– Her right to genetic mirroring.
– Her right to her original birth certificate, which will be altered to list the Capobianco’s as her genetic parents. Both Christy and Dusten’s names (if his is on there) will be removed. Her hospital of birth will be removed. South Carolina adoption law does not allow even adult adoptees to access their original birth certificates. This can make it difficult to trace lineage, access tribal rights (since your birth certificate which is often used as proof now lists two non-Natives as her biological parents).

It mean the TRUTH. I currently possess a ‘Birth’ Certificate which lists my adoptive parents names as if they were my bio parents – even my adoptive ‘rents found it weird and wrong that a vital record was made up with lies. I want to be able to walk into the Vital Records office and order a true copy of my true Birth Certificate just like anyone else can. It’s humiliating to stand in line (with my natural mother in tow!) watching everyone being issued their records with no questions; only to be told once I reach the counter that no, I’m not entitled to THAT (my own birth record!) [The Lost Daughters: What Does your Original Birth Certificate Mean To You]

– Her right to timely medical history and information. ‘Open adoption’ is not legally enforceable. The majority become closed within a few years. There’s little reason to believe that they’ll still have an open adoption 10 years from now and when it becomes closed, all that medical information from Christy and Dusten about any genetic and potentially inherited diseases go with them. Does Christy have the BRCA1/2 gene? She’s young yet. If she develops breast cancer in 10 years Veronica will have little way to know that she herself is much more likely to develop it. Same with other issues like Diabetes (more common in Natives). I was 25 before I was able to learn, by luck, that my natural father is insulin dependent.

The fact she can ‘google herself’ does not really negate any of these issues. Fox News blogs or Facebook posts are not accepted forms of identification. It’s easy for people who are not adopted and have not had to grow up with a fake name, raised by people outside your family, who have not lost a strong cultural identity to simply go “Meh! None of that matters!” but most of you would not accept a different name and family if it was forced upon you now but that is what adoption is and it’s not necessarily any easier for young children. Children grow up…often into confused adolescents with self-esteem issues because they don’t ‘fit’ or accept their adoptions. This is especially prevalent for Native children because they miss out on so many rituals, such as naming and coming of age rituals, gatherings and so forth.

The loss of culture, heritage and language seemed to encompass the total lifestyle that the respondents had missed. One said, “I was supposed to have a naming ceremony when I was two years old, and I didn’t get it. I don’t have a name. How can I go back to my tribe if I don’t have a name?” Another wrote, “Somebody said that we could learn all we needed to learn about our culture and heritage from books and videos from our school. What a laugh! What we got was a watered down, Indian-style-Sesame-Street version of what some white person thought all Indians were like.” [Split Feathers Syndrome by Carol Locust]

Veronica is her own person. If she does not NEED to be adopted — if she is not being abused, molested, neglected, deprived of medical care and education (which she is not) — than it should be HER right NOT to be adopted, PERIOD. That should fall into part of life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness and her own self-interest to NOT have to even chance facing the myriads of issues that adoptees face.

Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio: Adoptees differed significantly from nonadoptees on 4 of 26 variables. They were more likely to have attempted suicide (7.6% vs 3.1%) and to have received psychological or emotional counseling in the past year  (16.9% vs 8.2%), and their mothers reported higher parental education and family income.

A recent study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine found that adolescents adopted as infants were twice as likely as nonadoptees to be diagnosed with externalizing disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder.

Marshall D.Schechter. M.D., Beverly Hills California. In his paper on the Observations of Adopted Children. In a series of cases seen by him the percentage of adopted children was 13.3 as compared with the national average of 0.134. This indicates a hundredfold increase of patients in this category compared with what could be expected in the general population.

Mental health professionals are surprised at the alarmingly high number of their patients who are adopted. Studies show an average of 25 to 35% of the young people in residential treatment centers are adoptees. This is 17 times the norm. (Lifton, BIRCO–Pannor and Lawrence)

60 to 85% of the teens at Coldwater Canyon’s Center For Personal Development, are adopted. That is 30 to 40 times the norm. The center is a private acute-care psychiatric hospital/school in Southern California. (Ostroff)

50 to 70% of the teens at The Haven in New Trier Township, Illinois, are adopted. That is 25 to 35 times the norm. The Haven is a resource center for street kids. (Henderson)

You do not have to like, accept, encourage or support Dusten to support Veronica’s rights [to not be adopted]. Being adopted is not ‘fun’ for the majority [it seems] of adoptees and money and a nice house does not make those issues better. Her rights have never really been framed in this context. It’s ALWAYS looked at as “Well, who had her longer! That side should keep her!” “Who has her now? That’s where she should stay!” “Who signed X paper first/second?” That is NOTHING to do with HER rights.

Is adoption in Veronica’s best interest?

Biological / Non-Adoptee Privilege

I have used this phrase on several articles about the Veronica Brown case and several times I have been called names for it. Many people do not even take time to think about it. Perhaps it’s time that they did.

So what is biological privilege?

Biological privilege is never having to doubt that the information on your birth certificate is correct. Adoptees in many states in the USA do not have that privilege. Their original birth certificates are altered. Their name at birth is removed and the name changed upon adoption is placed there instead. The names of the natural parents are removed and the adopting parents are placed in. The original birth certificate is often locked away forever. In Canada many adoptions allow you to keep your original birth certificate however a new one is still issued with your new name which becomes your legal birth certificate.

Read: The Declassified Adoptee: Why my Amended Birth Certificate is a Lie.
Read: The Lost Daughters: Birth Certificate tag search.

Biological privilege is being able to go to your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles to discuss your family heritage. Adoptees do not have this privilege. People do not adopt entire families, they adopt a child. The aunts, uncles, grandparents and family do not come with them. The knowledge of their family heritage is lost when these connections are severed.

Biological privilege is never having to worry about being raised in your culture of origin and heritage. Adoptees do not have this privilege. Adoption does not bring culture with it and while many adoptive parents make noble promises of continuation of culture, two people alone doth not a culture make. It’s difficult to partake in your original culture when you have been moved hundreds or thousands of miles away from it, when your adoptive parents know nothing about it and also have little to no support from anyone who knows anything about it, when schools you attend know nothing about it and even teach misinformation about it.

Read: Split Feather Syndrome by Carl Locust.
Read: Whispering Eagle’s Trading Post: Lost Birds.

Biological privilege is taking for granted that you are a person and not a commodity. Adoptees are commodities. We are purchased with expenses justified under the guise of ‘necessities’, ‘agency fees’ or ‘expenses’. How much would you pay for an asian child? A private adoption agency in Ontario says that child’s worth is $32300 if that baby is from South Korea, $26500 if he or she is from Vietnam and around $12000 for a child from China. For a private adoption agency in Texas a child from China is $14400. Black children are often cheaper, a child from Ethiopia is $7000 to $9450. How would you feel to have a price tag attached to you? To have to ‘live up to your cost’ when you know that your parent(s) purchased you for a large sum of money?

Biological privilege is the assumption of access to all your rights when you need them. Adoptees don’t have this. Many rights are tied to lineage and family, especially in trans-racial adoptions. Registering with your culture’s tribe, group or organization often requires specific data and documents, documents and data that is sealed away from you at the moment of your adoption. In some places this is forever. In others you can access this data but only after jumping through many bureaucratic hoops that can take months or even years and often at-cost. Many private agencies destroy records after a few years. Governments have routinely fought against adoptee rights to access their own records and information.

Visit: Adoptee Rights Coalition.

And perhaps most crucially, biological privilege is knowing that you are truly you. If a stranger gave you a piece of paper with a new name and list of strangers names and told you that that was who you were and your new family, would you accept it? Would you feel grateful? Even if the people on the list were ‘nice’ to you would it make any more ‘real’? Of course not. But this is the job that adoptees are saddled with, often before we can even sit up or count to two. Our job is to provide an infertile person or couple with a family. To go from being the individual we are at birth to whatever person they wish to create through name changes, alteration of the birth certificate, the residential change that occurs as part of the process and even language and cultural shifts. It legally terminates the person you were at birth while you go on living. Who you were at birth is issued what is essentially a death certificate while your new identity with your adoptive family issued a new birth certificate. The problem is that you never actually died but everyone treats it that way. This fake persona that is little more than a facade is a burden we carry every day of our lives.

Obviously this list does not fit everyone. I’m sure there are adoptees out there that are pleased with their adoptions but I find them to be the rarity and whenever I come across one I can’t help but wonder if the over insistence of happiness is simply denial. The lady doth protest too much comes to mind.

Biological / Non-Adoptee Privilege