Customary Adoption Law and Legal Definition

To address the disproportionate number of Indian children placed in permanent and adoptive homes outside their tribes and culture, the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) along with the Dave Thomas Foundation have developed a national clearinghouse for tribal adoption issues. This enables to connect tribal communities and non-Indian adoption communities in serving the best interests of Indian children and families involved in adoption.

In a customary adoption, tribes are allowed to meet the permanency needs of their children while honoring their own tribal values and beliefs. NICWA supports this developing movement in Indian Country. It believes that offering a link to understanding this option to the larger culture is imperative. An adoption outreach program should understand these cultural influences for being successful with Indian families.