“Well, they obviously want to raise her. I couldn’t qualify that compared to the way I feel. I know how I feel. So -- and it feels to me like we really want her more than anybody.”
Sometimes, just a few sentences can say SO much . . . The above quote comes directly from Melanie Capobianco's testimony in the case Adoptive Couple vs Baby Veronica.
Just as you see so often in those who believe they have a right to take a child away from his or her own natural family, she self-determined she wanted Veronica over her own father and had every right to fight him for his own daughter . . . I want that baby more so I deserve her more!
This is the mindset Dusten Brown has faced from the start. With Melanie's testimony now released and added to the testimonies of Christy Maldonado, Dusten Brown and Alice Brown, it’s clear that the Capobianco’s were willing to do whatever it took and pay as much as required to obtain a baby as quickly as possible.
They didn’t care if it was an unethical adoption, if they had to bypass some pesky Federal law protecting Native American children. They cared only about getting a child however they could. And after they got her, decided nobody could possibly “want” her like they did.
Unfortunately, for Dusten, he didn’t have the power of the multi-billion dollar adoption industry behind him. He had no knowledge of the laws created to get around a father’s rights or the fact that the mother of his child would be instructed how to make sure he, himself, would be penalized under such laws.
While the Capobiancos paid good money for their attorney, Ray Godwin (involved in another, current unethical adoption) and for Christy’s first attorney, Phyllis Zimmerman, Dusten was ultimately denied any chance to seek representation for himself. By making sure the plans for adoption were kept hidden from him, they kept themselves in the position of power to satisfy their quest for a child.
From the start of this, the Capobianco’s PR team has promoted the same old story, created to make them look like the innocent victims in this case and Dusten as the monster swooping in after two years to steal their child away.
But those of us who have fought in the world of adoption reform recognize the same pattern that fathers before, and unfortunately after, Dusten have been forced to face in having their rights stripped away.
And we know, and understand, Dusten never had a chance.
As the testimony comes out, it becomes clearer and clearer that Dusten started out in this entire situation as an ordinary, average guy with the same good points and faults as the rest of us. He was a man madly in love with his fiancée . . .
- - - “I decided I was going to get engaged with her because, you know, she was the love of my life at that point in time and I was for certain that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
He was also a solider, living on base (four hours away from Christy Maldonado) training for an upcoming deployment to Iraq . . .
- - - “Q. Prior to being deployed to Iraq, you were stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma; is that correct?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And how far away is Fort Sill from Barters – Bartlesville, Oklahoma?
A. It’s approximately four hours.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
And he was excited to learn his fiancée was pregnant . . .
- - - “Q. Can you explain to me – explain to the court, the time you were engaged – well tell me this. When did you find out she was pregnant?
A. It was in January 2009. She called me up and told me that – that we were expecting a child.
Q. What was your reaction?
A. I was very happy.
A. This is the person that I loved. I was wanting to unite my family, my daughter with her kids, and, you know, start this family. This is the person I want to spend my life with.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
But his happiness was short lived. While on base, training and preparing for deployment to a war zone, contact with Christy suddenly started to dwindle away . . .
- - - “Q. But you were saying in March – or April, April of 2009 I think you said, that it began to decrease. Did you call her and did she answer your phone calls?
A. Sometimes she answered. At some point it stopped where I didn’t get no answer from either text or phone call.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
- - - “I was still texting him, up until, like I said, March or April, maybe even May, to let him know every single month on what the doctor said.” (Christy Maldonado’s testimony, Sept. 2011)
Then, in May, Dusten was able to go home for a short period of time and though he had tried to see Christy, she denied him whenever he asked. And then that family he had counted on, that life he had planned, crumbled around him . . .
- - - “I get half-way home to Fort Sill and I get a phone call or a text message stating that I needed to find someone in Lawton, Oklahoma, to be with instead of being with her.
Q. And that was from Christinna?
A. Yes ma’am.
Q. Did you text back?
A. I text back wanting to know what was going on and what happened. Was there anything I did wrong, you know, trying to get some sort of answer. And the only answer that I got was that I needed to find someone else to be with.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
And from that point on, his life was about to take a drastic turn. Though he didn’t know it yet, the wheels had already begun spinning and soon a multi-billion dollar adoption industry, a desperate couple with the money to get what they wanted, and the woman he loved, would all be a part of deceiving him in the worst of ways – to gain off of his daughter, Veronica Rose Brown.
In June, Matt and Melanie Capobianco were matched with Christy Maldonado. And ironically at that same time the well-known, damning text message was delivered . . .
- - - “Q. Okay. You said that she had asked you if you wanted to sign your rights away?
A. Yes ma’am.
Q. Why did you think she was asking you to do that?
A. Honestly I don’t know. It was a big surprise to me because, you know, because the whole split up, breakup, was a shock, you know. We had a really good relationship.
Q. And at some point in this June text conversation did you – did you tell her that you would agree ---
A. I want to say ---
Q. --- to sign?
A. --- it was a couple of days later that, you know, I believe she sent me another text message back. I’m not for certain, but I replied back in a text message to her stating that I would sign my rights to her.
Q. Why did you do that?
A. In my mind I thought that if I would do that I’d be able to give her time to think about this and possibly maybe we could get back together and continue what we had started.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept 2011) - - -
What Dusten didn’t know was at that point, he’d already lost. That the text message used (and yet not allowed in court because the phone conveniently disappeared and all that they had to show as proof was one-sided, disjointed pictures) to get him to say what they wanted was a common practice used on fathers before him. That, more than likely, Christy was just another pregnant mother of many who had been coached by the adoption industry on what to say to get the desired response.
The use of text messages to trick a father out of his rights is such common practice these days that I don’t believe for a minute that there is any coincidence in the events coming together as they did – the matching of Christy and the Capobiancos during the same time she was pushing Dusten to give up custody. The process had already begun and the only thing standing in the way of the Capobiancos getting the child they desired was Dusten Brown.
Dusten is very upfront and honest (which is more than I can say for either Christy or Melanie in their fumbling testimonies) in his cross examination when asked about supporting Christy . . .
- - - “Is it accurate to say that you did not pay any medical bills connected with baby girl’s birth?
A. No, sir, I didn’t.
Q. And prior to the birth on September 15th of 2009 you did not pay for any living expenses or pregnancy-related expenses connected to baby girl’s birth?
A. That is correct.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
But, at that time, Dusten had absolutely no experience with adoption. He was unaware, as most fathers are, of the adoption industry abandonment laws created to strip fathers of their rights. While the Capobiancos and Christy had the coaching of the adoption agency and adoption attorneys who know exactly how to manipulate the laws, Dusten was in mandatory training, facing the upcoming deployment to Iraq . . . where so many of our soldiers never returned from . . . while having to deal with a fiancée who not only broke off their engagement but was pushing him to give up custody of his child to her.
There was no way Dusten knew it was very deliberate that Christy avoided his attempts to contact her during that time.
- - - “I contacted friends and family to see if maybe they’d seen her around or about because I had made phone calls and text messages that never got replied from or back to me. I didn’t know if maybe she had possibly changed her number or moved away. I did not know at all.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
The giant of the multi-billion dollar adoption industry had officially taken over, not just his life, but the life of his unborn child. It was no longer about him and Christy as the parents. It wasn’t about any hopes they might work it out between them or find common ground for their child. At that point, it was about the couple paying for his child – Matt and Melanie Capobianco – and satisfying their desires.
Those with the power and knowledge knew better than to allow Dusten to pay a single penny for his daughter . . .
- - - “Q. Was there any time, any other time that you can think of, that the birth mother ever asked you for financial assistance?
A. She never asked for financial assistance.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
- - - “Q. Did you ever make any attempt, through either the state of Oklahoma or the Cherokee Nation to collect child support from the birth father?
A. No.” (Christy Maldonado’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
Even Veronica’s own grandmother had to be denied the chance to help if they were going to build the abandonment case and make sure the Caopbiancos walked away with the baby they wanted.
- - - “And I finally got her number, oh, shortly before she had the baby. And we found out that she had had the baby and it was about two weeks after she delivered. And I had called her and left a message because she wouldn’t answer the phone. And I left a message and I said, Chrissy [sic], this is Alice, Dusty’s Mom. I said, we have some gifts from the family. It was money and a little blanket that I made for the baby and some little socks, Elmo, Kissy Baby, and a rabbit we had bought the baby – or Dusty had bought the baby for Easter it was. And I had bought the baby a little book. I think it was me who bought it, but I’m not sure.
(Deputy handed tissue to witness.)
WITNESS: Thank you.
Q. And did she return your phone call?
Q. At some point did you attempt to call her again from a different phone?
Q. Can you tell me about that?
A. I went to Wal-Mart and I called from a pay phone so that she wouldn’t recognize the phone number and she didn’t answer it either.
Q. Do you recall if you left a message?
A. No, I didn’t leave a message. I just hung back up.
Q. And did all of your attempts to contact Christy before and after her pregnancy go unanswered?
A. That – yeah.” (Alice Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
Because, not only did they need to manipulate the abandonment laws to their advantage, they also needed to make sure they did what they could to cut Christy off from any help or support from others so that the Capobiancos could come in, use their money to “help” Christy and, in every way, buy Veronica by manipulating Christy into feeling obligated to them and giving them her baby in exchange for the expenses, bills, gifts, they gave her.
- - - “Q. Have you received some financial assistance from the adoptive couple?
Q. They paid for your lawyer?
Q. And what else have you received from them?
A. After I had the baby, they paid some of the bills to help me out, and I have received some money for food.
Q. Is that all?
Q. Did they pay your rent?
Q. Did they pay ---
A. Actually, I don’t remember what bills they have paid. I can’t remember. But I know they did pay some bills.” (Christy Maldonado’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
- - - “Q. Did you provide, you and your husband provide funds for the birth mother’s medical expenses?
A. I’m not exactly sure. I know – probably, yeah. We probably did.” (Melanie Capobianco’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
And yet, Matt and Melanie Capobianco and the multi-billion dollar adoption industry still weren’t done with Dusten Brown or his unborn child. Even though they had done all they could to make sure the abandonment laws came into play and that Dusten’s ex-fiancee would be indebted to, and firmly controlled by the Capobaincos, there still was that risk of knowing he would never agree to his child being given away for adoption.
So the best way to overcome such a pesky obstacle was to simply not let this soldier, in training to be deployed to a war zone for our country, know that there was a couple paying good money in the hopes of adopting his child. To make sure he wasn’t informed of what was happening. To guarantee that the cash and power happening behind his back would ensure the Capobiancos walked away with his baby, because that is what they paid for and what they expected in return.
- - - “Q. Did you have any idea that she was asking you that because she intended to give this child up – your child up for adoption?
A. I had no idea that giving that child up for adoption. I had nothing in the back of my mind thinking that even.
Q. If you had known something that you would have agreed with?
A. If I knew that that’s – the adoption was going on, I would have said no, I wanted to keep my rights. And I would have fought them. I would have started right then and there. I would have went to military JAG and got a military lawyer and got started in the process of what I needed to do.” (Dusten Brown’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
- - - “Q. Okay. I – I just want to make sure on this question, was it your testimony earlier that you – you never personally told the biological father that you were placing this child for adoption?
Q. You did not tell him?
A. No.” (Christy Maldonado’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
But deceiving Dusten and denying him the chance to know that the Capobiancos had paid to adopt his child, wasn’t enough guarantee. The adoption industry and Matt and Melanie Capobianco also needed to make sure that they worked around ICWA, the Federal Law in place to protect Veronica from ever suffering the loss of her family, her heritage, her culture.
If they were going to have their desires satisfied, they were going to have to make sure such protections were denied Veronica before she was ever born.
- - - “Q. You told everybody, every agency involved, this child’s father is an Indian. He’s a member of the Cherokee Indian Nation?
A. Yes.” (Christy Maldonado testimony, Sept 2011) - - -
- - - “Q. Okay, And did you understand prior to birth that there was the possibility this child could possibly be an Indian child? I believe the background report indicated some of that as you’ve already testified that you understood.
Q. Okay. Did you understand if the birth father and Tribe came forward, that again, you would not be able to adopt this child?
A. If they – you mean if she were Cherokee?
A. Yes.” (Melanie Capobianco’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
- - - “Q. What did you think would happen if the Indian Nation was alerted to the fact that this was an Indian child that you were trying to give up for adoption?
A. Well, I know that some things were going to come into effect, but I wasn’t for sure on what.
Q. Did you think it would help the adoption process or hurt it?
A. Well, I’m not for sure.
Q. Did you have any feeling on that either way?
A. Well, I was worried about it.” (Christy Maldonado’s testimony, Sept. 2011) - - -
Yet, even with all of that, with their well-paid attorneys and long-time operating agency, they still try to make the claim that it was nothing more than an innocent mistake to not only misspell Dusten’s name but to also put down the wrong birth date on the paperwork submitted to the Cherokee Nation to determine whether or not Veronica was protected by her father’s citizenship in the tribe.
And yet, ironic, isn’t it, if they hadn’t done everything they could to deceive Dusten and block him from having any say, any protection, any representation in the fate of his daughter being given away for adoption, they would have had the exact and correct information needed.
But, that wasn’t the intent. Dusten was the barrier in the Capobiancos getting what they desired so there was no way they were going to reach out to him in any way. Not when he represented the threat keeping them away from the baby they were paying for.
And so Dusten lost, Veronica lost, while Matt and Melanie continued to take advantage of the situation, of the power and knowledge of the multi-billion dollar adoption industry, to gain, to fulfill what they wanted for their own satisfaction.
Then it came time for Veronica Rose Brown’s birth and the worst of the coercion and manipulation came into play. The process of cutting Dusten completely out of Christy’s and his unborn child’s life had worked well. The deception, the games, the lies, were good tactics against a solider training to deploy to a war zone to fight for our country.
He was limited to what he could do, any actions he could take to continue the frustrating task of trying to get Christy to respond to him, because he was preparing to fight for the very rights of those who were working behind his back to strip his own rights away from him
Because yes, Matt and Melanie Capobianco and all their money, the well-paid attorneys, the adoption agency, and even Christy, herself, worked hard, did all they could to make sure Dusten had no rights to his own child. They took every advantage of the fact that he was training and preparing to fight for their rights. Used his service to our country against him to benefit their own selfish desires and used his disadvantage – the orders and regulations that kept him unable to leave base, focused on the deployment coming up – to take his child away from him, without his knowledge, while he prepared to fight for our country.
And so they did, proudly in fact, take the last bit of everything away from Dusten. After being a part of the deception to cut him out of Christy’s and his unborn child’s life, they delivered the final knife to Dusten’s fight. They snubbed their nose at him, flashed the middle finger at the sacrifices he was giving for THEIR OWN rights, and willfully, and gleefully, invaded the intimacy of birth so that they could be the ones in the delivery room, cutting the umbilical cord of the baby girl they had bought and deceived away from her own parents.
And it was then, when another man dared to believe he could pay for, deceive and trick his way into taking Dusten’s place as Veronica Rose Brown’s father that the everyday, average soldier and father began his journey to so much more.
It was then that he took the first steps, without even knowing yet, from being not just a hero fighting for our country. But an even greater hero fighting for his daughter . . . (To Be Continued)