Selfish Dad Gives Up Rights to Baby Then Sues to Get Her Back Once She's Happily Adopted

Say What!? 62

baby bootiesA father who approved the adoption of his biological daughter changed his mind and decided he wanted the baby after all. He sued for custody -- and after two years the adoptive parents were forced to give the girl to her biological father. Doesn't sound fair, considering the father had already given up his parental rights, does it? But wait -- this father was 2 percent Native American. He used the Indian Child Welfare Act to claim the girl he had once given up.

Is that fair? The Supreme Court heard this case today. A law that was passed in 1978 to keep families together has been used to tear one family apart. The court must decide if that's legal -- but is anyone considering what's best for the child?

When Oklahoma single mother of two Christy Maldonado found herself pregnant by her fiance, Dusten Brown, the relationship fell apart. Dusten sent her a text message saying he wanted nothing to do with the baby and would not accept any responsibility for her. So Christy made the best choice she could: She chose an open adoption with a North Carolina couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco.

Dusten signed the adoption papers and then deployed overseas. Christy's lawyers contacted the Cherokee Nation to make sure they would not contest the adoption. They couldn't find any record of Dusten. So the adoption went forward. But soon afterward, Dusten changed his mind and sued for custody. After two years with the Capobiancos, the baby girl was torn from her adoptive family and handed over to Dusten.

The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act was passed to prevent Native American families from being forcibly broken up. Before that, children had been ripped from their homes to be raised by non-Indian families. I remember the church I was raised in had an adoption program that was all about taking Indian kids away from the reservation so they could be raised in "civilization." It was a horrible, misguided practice, and I'm glad it's been done away with.

But that's so clearly what's not happening here. Dusten Brown chose to walk away from parenthood. Meanwhile, the baby girl became attached to her adoptive parents. I hope the Supreme Court acknowledges that this is a misuse of the Indian Child Welfare Act (you can follow the case on the Supreme Court's blog). But I also hope they consider what this baby girl needs most -- the parents who have been raising her all this time.

How do you think the Supreme Court should rule in this case?


Image via normanack/Flickr

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MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

2% Native American?  TONS of people are 2% Native American.  If the Cherokee Nation did not contest the adoption and found no record of him, then he should not be allowed to use the ICWF to take that poor child back.  This is SO not what's best for the child-if he wanted her, he shouldn't have signed the paperwork!

LostS... LostSoul88

WTF is wrong with our justice system? That is beyond BS. The birth mother did all she needed to do to make sure there wouldnt be a problem with the adoption and was given the green light. Now that bastard decided he wanted to play daddy 2 years later and was able to take that poor child away from the people she knows and placed with a stranger. 

jrphelps jrphelps

Sick.  Just plain sick.

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

Wow. So sad. I don't know the whole story but I can only hope that 'everything happends for a reason' and this little girl was meant to be with her father. Further more I hope he will be a good father now that he was given another chance. Wrongfully given another chance in my opinion, but he was so I hope for the best for all involved. 

Mommi... MommietoJB

He signed off on the paperwork, the baby was not taken without his consent. So how can he use an ICWF? Shit like this just deters good people from adopting.

Teresa Harris

I'm impressed with your utter failure to understand the situation. He is a member of the Armed Forces. He has been trying to get custody of his daughter since she was born. The mother, adoption agency, and adoptive parents alsified documents to ensure they could keep Veronica all while knowing that ICWA would have placed her in an adoptive home with members of the Cherokee Nation. Veronica has been happily living with her father for the past 2 years. 

ashbe... ashbert13

This is so so horrible.  Also, how hard for the kid at this point. She has been with the bio dad for a while now--I wonder if she is attached to him now too.  A child should never be forced to go through this sort of psychological craziness. I feel like child protective services should have taken the kid until the courts heard the case before giving her back to that man.  So unfair. Poor adoptive parents!!!

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

Wasn't this the plot to last night's Secret Life of the American Teenager? (yes, I watch TERRIBLE tv!) 

nonmember avatar blh

2% ?? Seriously I think everyone is a little bit native american. I was under the impression you had to be a certain percent native American for it to count. I'm part Cherokee and have no affiliation with any tribe or whatever.

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