The recent cases of Baby Veronica and Baby Desaray make me fear for young adoptive children, especially those of color. The similarities of these two cases, including the same adoption agency attorney in both, demand a closer look into these children’s civil rights.
As an African-American mother, it disturbs me to read of all the cheering and celebration of Veronica’s return to her adoptive parents. Where have we come as a country when we all allow ourselves to go back to the days when the purchase of humans, especially minorities, is accepted and even applauded?
The reported stories around the relationships between the biological fathers and mothers suggest that these mothers are giving birth to minority children with the express intent of giving them up for adoption. The biological mothers are even generously compensated for doing so. The implication becomes that the fathers were used as sperm donors, which is surely cheaper than in vitro fertilization.
Any sympathy for the adoptive parents continues to diminish as it becomes increasingly clear that something very sinister is going on here, and the birth mothers may be part of it. In fact, the Charleston Post and Courier took a close look at this disturbing issue in its September 21 article, "The Price of Adoption." The reporter quotes Shannon Jones, the Charleston attorney who represents the biological fathers of both Veronica and Desaray as saying: “Once these agencies and lawyers get the birth mother on the hook … they tell these birth moms not to answer any calls from the dads. Of course, then they argue the dad is a deadbeat.”
If it’s true that the mothers set out to deceive or mislead the biological fathers, that is the saddest of all elements surrounding these adoptions.
Our children are not chattels to be conveniently sold to adoptive parents who care more about what they want than what is best for the child. What gives them the right to take a minority child when a loving and adoring father wants to raise her? While contributing eggs and sperm doesn’t necessarily make a good mother or father, neither does fighting a prolonged court battle to win custody and securing a public relations to accuse the birth father of being a deadbeat dad.
Real mothers and fathers will always do what’s best for the child, and if that child is happy with her biological parent, no one should attempt to sever that bond.
From all accounts of both the Baby Veronica and Baby Desaray cases, I believe that there should be a thorough investigation of the birth mothers, the adoptive parents, and the attorney for the adoption agency to ensure that the civil rights of these children and their biological fathers have not been violated.
We as a nation must protect the civil rights of children of all races. Above all, we must remember that the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King remind us that our children too are “created equal."
Dot Scott is the president of the Charleston Branch of the NAACP.