Tribal Adoptions

This page contains information on two types of Tribal Adoption documents:  
(1) The State of Alaska Cultural Adoption Packet; and
(2) Tribal Court Adoption Orders

For information on petitioning for adoption in
state court cases, please go to the Adoptions tab under State Court Cases, or click here.

As a Tribe, you have the decision whether to document tribal adoptions using either the Cultural Adoption Packet provided by the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) or your own tribal court orders. 

What are the differences in the processes?  Check out our guide: Differences Between Cultural and Tribal Adoptions.    

Whether your Tribe decides to use the Cultural Adoption Packet or issue its own tribal court adoption order, it will always be important to follow your Tribe's written or customary laws, and to hold a hearing by the council or court.  This Tribal Adoption Flowchart and Adoption Hearing Checklist outsides the key steps in completing a tribal adoption.   

Cultural Adoption Packet
In this process, after holding a council meeting on the adoption, the Tribe fills out the Cultural Adoption Packet and submits it to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics to obtain a new birth certificate.  The BVS Cultural Adoption Packet is available here.  The link to the State of Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics is here.

Tribal Court Adoptions    
Your Tribe may instead choose to issue its own Tribal Court Adoption Order after holding a hearing. 

Because there is often confusion surrounding the process for getting a new birth certificate after issuing a Tribal Court Adoption Decree, here are some helpful instructions and templates:    

-  Sample Tribal Court Adoption Order
              -Sample Tribal Court Adoption Order (Fillable PDF)
-  Instructions for how to get a new birth certificate from BVS after issuing a Tribal Court                         Adoption Order

PRACTICE TIP:  If a Tribe is submitting a tribal court adoption order to get a new birth certificate, it does NOT need to complete the cultural adoption packet.

Interested in reading more about the duty of states to give Full Faith and Credit to tribal court adoption orders? Link to the Kaltag case here.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2015-AL-BX-0001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.