In re Baby Boy L.

643 P.2d 168 (1982)

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In re Baby Boy L.

Kansas Supreme Court
643 P.2d 168 (1982)

Facts

Carmon Perciado (Perciado) (defendant) was an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe (the tribe) (defendant). Perciado had a child, Baby Boy L., with Miss L., a non-Indian woman. Baby Boy L. had five-sixteenths Kiowa blood and was eligible for enrollment in the tribe. When Baby Boy L. was born, Miss L. immediately placed Baby Boy L. in the custody of Robert and Diana Lewis (plaintiffs), who were non-Indians. The Lewises filed a petition to adopt Baby Boy L. Miss L. consented to the adoption on the condition that the Lewises and no one else adopt Baby Boy L. Pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the tribe was notified of the proceedings. The tribe moved to intervene, but the trial court denied the tribe’s motion. Against Miss L.’s wishes, the tribe enrolled Baby Boy L. Perciado’s parents, Quelin and Ernestine Perciado (defendants) joined the litigation. Perciado wanted to take custody of Baby Boy L., but Perciado was incarcerated and found to be an unfit parent. Perciado moved the court to adhere to the ICWA placement-preference hierarchy. Miss L. stated that if Baby Boy L. were placed with Perciado’s family, a member of the tribe, or anyone besides the Lewises, Miss L. would withdraw her consent to adoption and would keep custody of Baby Boy L. The trial court found that ICWA did not apply to the proceedings and approved the Lewises’ adoption petition. The tribe, Perciado, and Perciado’s parents appealed, arguing that the trial court incorrectly held that ICWA did not apply.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)

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