Tribal Adoption of Children

On St Lawrence Island it is also common for babies to be adopted by other members of the family through "tribal adoption" procedures. This takes place for a number of reasons and is a decision that can be made by a senior elder, that is, the husband's parents or grandparents. It can also be made by the couple, but not without the endorsement of the husband's senior family members. Marriage is not complete without children. When a couple is childless, a sister or sister-in-law will give up a new baby to them. Elderly couples are sometimes given babies to raise so that they will not be lonely. In some instances, the first-born child of a newly married couple will be given to the young wife's parents to take her place. When a couple has many children, a baby may be given up for adoption because of the difficulty the couple faces in trying to manage another child.

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