Suzette Brewer
Veronica, then 3, playing in her pink-covered room at the home of her biological father Dusten Brown.

Adoptees Express Anguish Over Veronica’s Separation Through Poetry


Three adult adoptees, all non-Indian, have turned to poetry to share their overwhelming grief for Veronica Brown’s inevitable separation anxiety; for Dusten Brown’s loss of his child; and for the Cherokee Nation’s heartache over the removal of an Indian child who should be raised among her family and tribal community, immersed in her culture.

RELATED: An Emotional Reaction: Mothers, Adoptive Parents, Adoptees Speak Out About Baby Veronica's Removal

Cherokee Nation Mourns As Veronica Is Returned to Adoptive Family

Capobiancos Sue Dusten Brown for Nearly Half a Million in Fees


"Veronica" by Rebecca Hawkes


They tell us this has nothing to do with us.

They say we aren't you.

But we know better.


We are experiencing our own separation all over again.

We are both inside and outside our own bodies.




Projection, they say.

Reaction, I say.


It is happening again.

It is happening to you.

It is happening to us.


The only difference is that this time

We have not only our cries but also

Our voices.







Rebecca Hawkes is a reunited adult adoptee and a mother to a daughter by birth and a daughter by open adoption from foster care. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and daughters and is a co-founder of You can read her writings on adoption, family and identity at her blog Sea Glass & Other Fragments.

Hawkes’ poem was originally published by


"Equality" by Rosita (she requested ICTMN use only her first name)

Her cries are real, and his too. There is anguish in the eyes of a small four-year-old.

Baby Veronica is now in the arms of her adopted parents, Matt and Melanie Capobianco. Yet, whose arms are now empty?

A man. A father. Dusten Brown weeps for his daughter as she does for him. Here is where our system has failed. A man who desperately wants to be a father was denied the right. He was overlooked in the process. 

As a feminist, I should make clear that I believe in the true definition of feminism … “the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.” But this assumes that men have rights. 

In the case of Baby Veronica, her father did not have the rights that her birth mother did. He was misled. Birth fathers should have equal rights and protections, especially in the welfare of their children.

If a birth mother decides she cannot parent her child, and the birth father wants to raise his child, he should be given the opportunity to do so. No other adult should be given that right unless both birth parents have relinquished it.

Dusten Brown has proven that he loves his daughter. He has provided for her, cared for her, cuddled her and nurtured her for almost two years. 

Baby Veronica knows he loves her, and she wants to stay with him. Her right in all this is paramount. She deserves the love of her birth father, the man she will never forget.

Rosita is a transracial, Korean-American adoptee. She is married to a Brit who refers to himself as an Anglo-American and is a mother to two Hapa children. Adopted in 1968 at the age of one, Rosita has not searched for her biological family. Her road has been speckled with Puerto Rican and Appalachian relatives and her biracial sister. While quite content with her role as a “Tennerican,” her curiosity has grown recently as her children explore their own ethnic identities. She considers herself a lost daughter, not because of the loss of her birth family, but more because of the loss of her adopted mother, who died in 2001 as Rosita became a first time mother. When she is not supporting her children on their individual paths, Rosita spends her time as an art educator and an art photographer. She also shares her adventures as an adoptee and parent on her blog, mothermade.

Rosita’s poem was originally published by


Baby Veronica by Mary Oishi

23, 24 & 25 September 2013


this day is begging for a poem

this day is running crazy down an oklahoma street, screaming

chasing carloads of federal marshalls and one little girl

who wants grandparents and cousins

a clan, a community, a daddy who looks like her


this day is chasing those marshalls, wailing







the cavalry of marshalls disappears from sight.


(Is this 1813 or 2013?)


this day falls in a heap exhausted

exhaling sobs

knowing the system always favors

wasichu values: more money.

greed washed righteous by “respectability”

flawless hygiene to cover a hollow life

numb with ritalin and prozac

its sterile feet squeezed into gold prada heels

parading as success


oh yeah, this day is begging for a poem

not a sonnet, not an ode, not some couplet 

contrived behind ivyed walls

this day begs a poem, no, a prayer, forgotten prayer

rising slowly like a feather on the wind

joined by an eagle's call, a wolf’s, a bear’s

then ten thousand buffalo 

thundering on ancient graves

a prayer that wakes the ancestors from

their too soon sleep from long walks and long rifles

until they rise up and follow Baby Veronica

walk beside her every step in the white man's world

whisper comfort so her Cherokee heart stays warm

in the strange cold heat of south carolina


Mary Oishi, a Japanese American woman adopted and raised in the Appalachians, is a performance poet and activist who now resides in New Mexico. Her first published book of poetry is Spirit Birds They Told Me (January 2011).

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Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
To the adoptive parents your win is self centered and self indulging. You wanted a child and yes you raised her for 2 years while her father fought to get HIS child back. You will regret it latter on when she learns of what you did to her and her daddy. You will never be her REAL PARENT, trust me I know this as FACT. I am a parent of a native american child who is now raised. I had custody of her since she was 13months old, she had been in 4 foster homes prior to mine. After 3 years I received legal guardianship. She grew up always feeling loved but something was missing. She was being raised in and all white family. She knew she was different, and we exposed her to her birth mom and her culture, yet it was not enough. Until you understand the native american culture and the importance it plays in these young kids hearts you will not get it. When she becomes a teenager, and I dont care how much you spoil and love her and raise her to the best abilities possible. She will still heart for her idenity. Yep I said Heart, you will never fill that and the pride that she will carry with it. I know, my one son is half native American and the other half of him is white. He will tell you he is native american and he is proud and he is not a half breed.....His pride in His people is strong and so is my daughters. She is 27 now and she has fought a tough battle with identy for so many years and now is just coming to terms with who she is. She will be the first to tell you I was raised white, BUT iam Native American and I am proud of that quality I can say I am..... With you she might live in a bigger house, have more toys, go on more vacations, have plenty of support and love, but you will never be able to give her what her father and his culture would have been able to give her and that is the pride in who she is and her nationality. My daughter loves me and yes I am her mom, but like you I was nieve enough to think that would be enough. She now has finally made the connection with her tribe and she feels complete knowing her people as she calls them and their traditions. I am so proud of her, but it was a tough road and I just wished she could of had her real parents or relative be able to be apart of her childhood so her life would of been a little more blessed and her place in society would of been defined while she was still young. I feel for this father, for all you out there saying he should not of claimed his own blood, you are the ones looking like you dont care for this precious little one. I too wanted a little baby and I went about it legally and my experience was alot of heart ache knowing at anytime I could lose her if her mom could complie to court mandates. Yet even after she knew she was going to lose her she was the one who started the legal guardianship papers to make us her parents. Yet I never took her mom away from her even if it meant setting up meatings and her never showing up. Calls in the middle of the night from her. I made sure all the windows were open for her to see her daughter. When her older brother also in the system turned 18 and wanted to see her, I complied on my own money and flew him from South Dakota to Washington to meet her. That is when I first saw her light up with a connection to her missing link. Thats when I realized you can give a child all the love in the world and all the opportunities, yet if they are of a different race something will always be missing that they subconsious or consiously know will hunger for to feel complete. To the adoptive parents please realize her daddy loves her just as much as you do and he has a conection that you so dreamed of before you got her. Its a sad story with a little one who will serch and question till she finds her answers. I pray for you all. Especially you deserved so much more than your birth mother ever allowed you to experience because of her selfish selfcentered neglegent greedy hateful personality in punishing your daddy.

Anna Tipton's picture
Anna Tipton
Submitted by Anna Tipton on
Yea, it looks to me like all kinds of different people who are biological family to the little cherokee are going nuts over her.She is a very precious for certain. But the ones who not her true blood seem very desperate.