For example, In re Adoption of T.A. W.252 involved a child born in 2007 to C.B., a
member of the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, and a non-Indian birth father, C.W.253 C. W. was a
methamphetamine addict, and in 2009, after an incident of domestic violence, C.B. obtained a
temporary protection order against him.254 C.W. had what the trial court later called a
“significant criminal history,” including convictions for drug possession, car theft, fleeing the
police, and burglary.255 At some point in 2009, he stopped visiting T.A.W.256 When, in 2012, he
was released from prison, C.B. obtained a protective order against him from the Shoalwater
tribal court.257 It ordered C. W. to undergo six months of domestic violence classes before he
could visit with the child.258
In the meantime, C.B. met and married another man, R.B.—an Indian—in June, 2013.
C. W. was back in prison by then, this time to serve two years for robbery.259 C.B. and R.B. then
asked a state court to terminate his parental rights, preparatory to R.B. adopting the child as his
own. The tribe supported this move, and the trial court found beyond a reasonable doubt that the
providing for Jessica. Id. She volunteered her child for adoption, and the day after the child’s birth, in August, 2014,
signed the adoption placement agreement. Id. at 1–3, 4–7. Two days later, the adoptive parents filed a motion to
terminate Tyler’s rights. Id. at 3. Jessica was unaware of any Indian ancestry. Id. But Tyler never received the
form asking if he had any Indian ancestry. Id. As a result, in January, 2016, the California Court of Appeal ordered
that the case be remanded to the trial court to determine whether Tyler had Indian ancestry. Id. at 8–9. If he were
to answer yes, the adoption proceeding would be subject to vacatur and tribal intervention, and the child’s adoptive
parents—who have taken care of the child for more than two years—could lose custody to a family chosen by the
tribe. See also In re S.L., 2006 WL 477772, 1 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006) (remanding termination case for non-compliance with ICWA seven years previously).
252 383 P.3d 492 (2016).
253 Id. at 494.
254 Id. at 494–95.
255 Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order of Termination, In re Adoption of T.A. W., No. 13-5-00015-9
(Aug. 21, 2014) (on file with Goldwater Institute); Memorandum Opinion, In re Adoption of T.A.W., No. 13-5-
00015-9 (July 24, 2014) at 3–5 (on file with Goldwater Institute).
256 383 P.3d at 495.
258 In re Adoption of T.A. W., 188 Wash. App. 799, 804–05 (2015).
259 Supplemental Brief of Respondent, In re Adoption of T.A.W., (Wash. Sup. Ct. No. 92127-0) at 2 (on file with