In a strongly worded response, the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys has reacted to the issuance of new guidelines by the Bureau of Indian Affairs without seeking comments from appropriate interested professionals.
It used to be that most adoptions were agency adoptions. This was thought to be best for two reasons. First,it was thought that the decision regarding with whom to place a child should be made by trained social workers. Second, it was thought that adoptions should remain entirely confidential, so that the adoptive parents and birth parents did not know who eachother were. Adoptive prents frequently were afraid that birth parents might show up unannounced and want to see the child. Some imagined the birth mother hiding behind the hedge and looking in their windows. While this fear was almost never justified, it was common. Direct private placements were allowable, but usually only occurred in close family situations. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members adopted the child.
Many people are not aware that their adoption could be affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). After all, there are no federally recognized indian tribes in Virginia. However, there are many such tribes in other states, and persons affected by the act may have travelled to Virginia.