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).