In honor of July 4th, we figured we may as well get a little politicky and stretch our freedom of speech leg. Amurica!! So, you battle with years of infertility or just simply decide you want to adopt as a way to build your family. Years of heartache and longing for a family have brought you to this point you have decided, blood does not define what a parent is. With fertility procedures you get probed, prodded, and sent home impoverished. In the adoption process, you have exposed your lives to the core. But you don't care! You will expose every inch of your personal, financial and intimate lives to prove to an agency that you are fit to be parents. Now, imagine this is your situation: a couple who has gone through years of fertility treatments, and came to the realization your path needs to shift, you will adopt.
This couple I am referring to is Matt and Melanie Capobianco. They, like all parents hoping to adopt pushed through the invasive home studies and paperwork. Background checks were welcomed if it meant that at the end of the rainbow would be a child. Much like seeing a positive pregnancy test, the Capobiancos got the call that would change their lives. A birth mother had chosen them. The birthmother chose an open adoption plan making the selfless decision to place her child with a couple that would give her child the Moon and more. She was stuggling financially and unable to provide the life she wanted for her baby and the biological father abandoned her during the pregnancy and made it very clear he was not interested in providing finanacial support to raise the child. He also signed a waiver not to contest the adoption. The adoptive parents were even able to cut the umbilical cord at the birth, an amazing opportunity that many adoptive parents do not often get. That beautiful baby girl was named Veronica. It wasn't until 4 months after she was born that the biological father decided that he would like to parent. A little late in the game don't you think? Regardless, he lawyered up and found a loop hole. He happened to have a teeny amount of Cherokee heritage in him which made Veronica a Cherokee descendant. The loop hole was The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). The law states that a child of Indian decent should be placed back with the biological family because of heritage. The biological father did not live on a reservation, practice any of the customs or have any real ties to the culture. He used his Indian wanna-be status to tweak the law in his favor.
Now in this case it is a blatant misuse of the ICWA law and was not in the best interest of Veronica. After a very expensive legal battle for the Capobiancos, because of course the biological father's attorney bill was covered by the Cherokee nation, Veronica as a 2 year old child was ripped from the home of the Capobiancos and put into custody of the biological father. What a huge A-Hole! More so, the real victim in all of this is Veronica. She was placed in a loving home where a couple for years cried, prayed and spent their savings to finally meet their daughter and then someone who waived his rights and stated he would not contest the adoption changed his mind on a whim.
What happened next will impact adoption law indefinitely. We IFers are a determined bunch. They put up the fight of their lives and took this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. 18 months later, on June 25, 2013, ruling 5 to 4 justices, the court ruled in favor of reversing the South Carolina Supreme Court order and that ICWA does not apply in this case and ruled in favor of the adoptive couple. The fight isn't over and custody of Veronica still has to be determined. We are hopeful that that the SC Supreme Court awards custody back to the Capobiancos. So please pray for this adoptive family so that they can get reunited with their daughter.
A Most Courteous Tirade: Compliments of Chris
First of all, let me say that we both hold great admiration for men that stand up when they find out, without prior indication, that they will be fathers. Maybe it was a one night stand, maybe it was a relationship that went awry. Regardless, there is much that could be said for what a great demonstration of a true man it is when these gentlemen step up. After that praise soaks in for a minute, keep reading ... It is a different story entirely when a male (intentionally not called a 'man' from here on as that would denigrate the definition of the word) decides at some later time that he would like to give this fatherhood thing a try and attempts to 'go back' on his previous decisions. Why do people like the biological father of Veronica or other males (we have other friends that are in a struggle right now with a biological father) decide that, all of the sudden they want to be fathers? Did they have some kind of epiphany one night or somehow mature rapidly to say that they would like to stand up and be a dad? Although these things are possible, another possibility is that they received some serious goading from their parents who often volunteer to raise this grandchild so that there is no 'separation' of their family. This is of course without even the first consideration of the best interest of the child who may still not have a father in their lives being raised by the grandparents.
If there was a way to pound this into these aloof and immature 'males,' this is what it would be: take responsibility of the decisions you made and act on what will truly be in the best interest of this child! You decided to waive your parental rights. Done! There are no takey-backies. You don't get to think 4 weeks, 2 weeks, or 1 minute after you sign the paperwork that you made the wrong decision. Regardless of what your outside influences tell you, if you are at the point in your life where you have the paperwork in front of you to waive your rights, you need to do some serious introspection. You need to realize the finality of this decision and then, after you have either picked up that pen or not, you need to act accordingly for the remainder of your life. With open adoptions being more and more popular, you are NOT signing away ever seeing the child or knowing how they are progressing. You ARE making the selfless decision that this child will have a greater future and be better equipped to have a successful like with these adoptive parents.
Final thought, best interest of the child, what does it mean to you? If it means that you plan on changing your entire life to be the best father you can be then stand up, rip up the paperwork, go buy a car-seat, and bring your child home ASAP. If it means that you think you want to be a dad and your parents said they will help, you need to dig deeper into your soul. You earn the right to be called a MAN when you make a responsible decision, thinking beyond just your nose, and stand behind your decision with the confidence that it was the right choice. PLEASE don't make these decisions that will impact the lives of these innocent children just as MALES!