At least once every month to month and a half, I get an email from a blog reader telling me they too are going through an adoption case where the ICWA law is being improperly used. Yesterday there was another such email. What stood out about this email is two things. One, the adoptive mom in this situation is native American herself. She is of a different tribe but was able to adopt a child 22 months ago. Now, the same birthmother has had another child and has placed the child with them for adoption. This child is a sibling to the first child this family adopted. At finalization the tribe stepped in and is fighting this couple for the child.
Let me recap, the adoptive mom is Native American, the family already has adopted (with tribe approval) the first child from this birthmother and yet, the tribe is trying to stop the adoption of the sibling. Unbelievable!
According to the adoptive mom who wrote me telling me about her case, the tribe doesn't consider the sisters, actual sisters, because the older sister was adopted. How much sense does that make? Why on earth would the tribe fight for this child? Why would they go against the wishes of the natural mother? Why, why, why? This law is absolutely being abused in this situation and so many other situations.
I would like to remind you, I am not against ICWA when it is used properly. In my opinion, properly means a lot of different things. Exmpl: when it is approved by the natural mom or father; When it doesn't upset a placement. (if a child is in a foster-to-adopt situation and then they find out the child's ancestry is of Native American heritage, I think it would be terrible if they removed the child from a stable loving home, just to have him or her in a Native American home.) But what is happening in cases like the above is criminal and I think the tribal nations should be ashamed of themselves and the tribal elders and attorneys who pursue cases such as this should be held accountable criminally.