The closeness of a father-child relationship is sometimes demonstrated with special fervor and profound love through legal proceedings that amply evidence a dad's all-out attempts to remain close to his child and be a strong and continuing presence as a parent.
Many fathers in Ohio and elsewhere across the country might have heard of the story and extraordinary travails of one dad in his long-time odyssey to be a mainstay and loving fixture in the life of his young daughter. In fact, Dusten Brown's child custody battle has received prominent national attention over the past several years, and it is certainly a tale that readily resonates with many loving fathers.
Brown is a registered member of the Cherokee tribe. His liaison several years ago with a non-native American birth mother produced a baby girl. Brown and the woman never married and, unknown to him, she concluded an adoption with a Caucasian couple.
When Brown found that out, he sought relief under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The adoptive parents were ordered in 2011 to turn the young girl over to her father, with whom she lived together in Oklahoma for a time until that state's Supreme Court ordered that Brown return the girl to the adoptive parents.
The case continued on appeal, ultimately landing before the United States Supreme Court. In June of this year, the Court ruled that Brown was not entitled to rely on the ICWA, because he lacked custody when the adoption proceedings were initiated.
In a tearful press conference yesterday, Brown stated that he and the ICWA would cease litigating the matter further because, as Brown noted, the time had come to let his daughter "live a normal childhood." Brown stated that it was "no longer fair to keep her in the middle" of a protracted and high-profile legal dispute.
Brown acknowledged the adoptive parents' love for his biological child and expressed hope that he will be allowed regular visitation rights to see her.
Brown's story is certainly heart-rending and points very directly to the need for any father involved in a child custody matter to obtain early, knowledgeable and aggressive representation from a proven fathers' rights attorney.
Source: HLN, "Baby Veronica's father calls for end to fighting," Kisa Mlela Santiago, Oct. 10, 2013