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Did you know, if the potential adoptee has any Native American in them...

the tribe is notified and the court waits for a reply before an adoption is final?

I need to do my own research (so I could be wrong. 2nd hand info), but it is interesting why they do this. I heard that missionaries were going on to reservations, took and adopted Indians to "civilize them". I suppose when we became more civilized ourselves we decided to make sure this would not happen anymore.

What I still do not know and intend to find out (if you know please join in), what does the tribe do with this information, what are they looking for and what would happen next?

fyi: My adopted Son and his bio brother, my foster Son are about 1/16 Cherokee Indian, Mexican American and Caucasian.

Answer Question

Asked by adopteekjt at 4:40 PM on Jan. 12, 2012 in Adoption

Level 18 (5,995 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • i've always been under the impression they wish to 'keep it in the family', so to speak. crazy, yes, considering the high need for adoption across the board, not just within the indian nations.

    Answer by dullscissors at 4:48 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • My husband is native and we've discussed this. If he was here, I'd ask him...all I remember him saying about native american adoption is that they prefer/try to put the children with a native family first. They want the children to grow up in a home that knows the native traditions/religions and will respect it and pass it on to the native children. I'm sure every tribe is different, but that is the preference and how it works with his tribe.

    Answer by fricky29 at 4:55 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • This all stems from the Indian Child Welfare Act which I think was signed into law in the 1970's. There used to be a HUGE number of kids adopted off rez. Historically, they were just taken for assimilation.

    IIRC, the tribe uses the information to determine lineage and to make its voice heard with regard to cultural education of that child. Typically this isn't done for every NA child adoption; just those who are eligible for tribal registration. So, your foster kids who are 1/16 wouldn't qualify for membership I don't think.**

    **Disclaimer - I'm operating off an old memory/brain so you should do your own research if you can. Also, I don't know the actual blood quantum percentage for the Cherokee tribe so you should look into that too. :)

    Answer by Brawnwyn at 5:10 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • Thank you Brawnwyn for doing some of my homework and giving me a starting point for doing more. It is very interesting!

    Comment by adopteekjt (original poster) at 5:16 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • yes this is true, my bio dad was full cherokee adn bio mom was 1/2 we were allowed to be adopted because we were older and had already bonded. Had we just been in foster care and no real direction, the adoption would havenever taken place.

    the reason is they do want to keep the tribes intact and not become extinct per say.

    Answer by luvmygrandbaby at 5:17 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • Interesting. I'm a birthmom, and long story short, I did tell multiple people that my child could possibly have some Indian blood, per the sperm donor's words. They never did anything like that. He wouldn't have known what tribe or anything as he was adopted himself.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:19 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • Hi Birthmom, I wonder if they didn't do much about that knowlegde because they did not have much to go on. Once we told them they had some native american background, they wanted to know all that we (birthmom and birthdad) could offer. Best to you and your's.

    Comment by adopteekjt (original poster) at 7:49 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • Could it be due to the agency I went through, and the fact that he himself was not open about it when meeting about signing his rights over, it was just me telling them what I told them? Hmmm. Oh well, she's 12 and was adopted at birth and we're all happy and healthy. And of course nothing could be proven. This was interesting to learn though.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:54 PM on Jan. 12, 2012

  • My daughter is about 1/4 Kickapoo and we did have the give the tribe the first option to place her with one of their own families. They declined because she is only 1/4, but it may vary with each tribe. I asked out lawyer to make a copy of their denial for us, just in case it ever came up again. I would love to visit the reservation sometime and learn more about the tribe firsthand (instead of just reading about them), but I have some fear that we could cause problems for ourselves, even though we have the letter showing that they declined. Birth father's last name is the same as the last name of the tribe's chief. I totally understand why they need to do this, but it is a nailbiter for families hoping to adopt children with some Native heritage.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 4:55 PM on Jan. 13, 2012

  • Someone posted this a week or so ago. Also, that a child that is even 1% NA can be taken from foster-to-adoptive parents if they want to and no matter how long the child has been with them. The argument is that they don't get involved until the 11th hour and if they wanted to intervene, it should be done early on, not once the children have been in care for years. I think that this law began for good reason, but question it's use in some cases today.


    Answer by doodlebopfan at 10:46 PM on Jan. 13, 2012

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