When I asked my ex whether he wanted to be involved, he told me, by text message, that he wanted to give up all parental rights. And that was the last I heard from him. It was clear that my pregnancy and my baby were my responsibility.
I wasn’t sure I could go through with an adoption. I reviewed dozens of files before I found Matt and Melanie Capobianco. They lived in South Carolina, farther away than some couples I considered, but I immediately felt a connection. I could tell they were people of strong faith, like me. They had a great support system of family and friends and had tried for years to have children. From our first conversation, Melanie treated me with such warmth, respect and kindness. She also welcomed an open adoption that would allow me to be a part of my child’s life.
Matt and Melanie were with me in the delivery room, where I otherwise would have been alone. Matt cut the umbilical cord and was the first to hold Veronica. After a few days, Veronica went home with them.
Veronica’s biological father was out of the picture. He did not ask after her or even whether she had been born healthy. But after he got the adoption papers, he objected. His lawyers said that I could not choose my baby’s parents because he was a Cherokee and that either he would take custody or my baby would go to another member of the tribe. I could not believe that, after disappearing on us, he was trying to derail the family I had worked hard to give to my daughter. Why should a man who said he wanted no responsibility for his baby have more rights than I did just because he belonged to a tribe?
For 27 months, I watched Veronica grow and thrive with Matt and Melanie. I got regular updates, talked to her on the phone and watched her open presents at Christmas. They are wonderful parents, and I felt proud of the decision I had made for my child. But after more than two years in her happy home, a court ruled that my choice meant nothing.