By Trace L Hentz, blog editor, adoptee
I am making a list of questions and answers:
Did you know you can use ICWA to open your adoption?
How hard is it to open your adoption?
How hard is it to find help, or know how to start?
THIS IS HOW YOU GET YOUR FILE from the BIA:
CONTACT the Secretary of the Interior:
Who may request access to adoption information?
Under 1917, an "Indian individual who has reached the age eighteen and who was the subject of an adoptive placement" may apply to the court that rendered the final decree, while 1951(b) allows the "adopted child over the age of eighteen, the adoptive or foster parents of an Indian child, or an Indian tribe" to request the adoption information.
If you are an adoptee, call the BIA today... then call again and again - flood their phones and request help! Talk about ICWA. They kept many many records on adoptees. They can tell you your tribe. DO NOT GIVE UP...
What role does the Secretary of the Interior have regarding an Indian adoptees access to his or her adoption records?
Supposedly, under 1951(a) the Secretary of the Interior serves as a central registry for adoption records of Indian children since November 8, 1978. However, the registry in most cases is extremely limited and often times is unhelpful. Although, state courts entering adoption decrees involving Indian children are required to provide to the Secretary of the Interior the Indian child's adoption records, it is routinely overlooked. In any event the registry, in accordance with 1951, should include information that shows:
(1) The name and tribal affiliation of the child;
(2) The names and addresses of the biological parents;
(3) The names and addresses of the adoptive parents; and
(4) The identity of any agency having files or information relating to such adoptive placement.
Should the registry contain pertinent records and upon a request by an adult Indian adoptee, adoptive parent(s) or Indian tribe, the Secretary is required to disclose the information necessary to establish tribal membership. 25 U.S.C. 1951(b). If the biological parent(s) indicate by affidavit to remain anonymous, the Secretary shall insure that the confidentiality of such information is maintained and such information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 522 (2000). 25 U.S.C. 1951(a). To accommodate the confidentiality request, the Secretary can then certify the child's parentage or other information necessary to satisfy a tribe's enrollment requirements and establish the Indian adoptee's membership in that tribe. 25 U.S.C. 1951(b).
ALSO: Make your voice heard! Be proud to protect ICWA for future generations!
Call or write:
Bureau of Indian Affairs
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240
Telephone: (202) 208-5116
To request a meeting with the Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, please use the Meeting Request Form
The Bureau of Indian Affairs will issue a Certificate degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) that shows your blood quantum and tribal affiliation. You will want to contact the BIA agency that provides services to the tribe you’re claiming heritage from in order to obtain the CDIB card, that information can be found in the Tribal Leaders Directory.
- Guide to Tracing Your American Indian Ancestry (.pdf) - 77 KB
- Certificate Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) Application & Instructions (.pdf) 28 KB
- Tribal Leaders Directory
- The Complete List of Federally Recognized Tribes(link is external) (Last Updated Jan. 30, 2020)
((This blog was created for adoptees like me... I will be back with more questions and answers))
To be continued
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