"My mom adopted her nephew."
Translation:Hānai koʻu māmā i kāna keiki kāne hanauna.
I wish I knew commentators' credentials. It seems likely to me that hānai represents a continuing status. Among its verbal meanings in Pukui and Elbert are "foster" and "to care for." One example: "Hānai maila 'oia iāia i ka meli" "He FED him the honey." But "lawe" is an action, so with "lawe hānai" of course the "ua" is important.
Credentials? My first Hawaiian language teacher was a schoolteacher from Niihau in 1972, and I've been teaching Hawaiian here on Kauaʻi for over 45 years. For the past 25 years, I've been a full-time teacher at Ke Kula Niʻihau O Kekaha, a public charter school for children of Niʻihau families dedicated to perpetuating the Niʻihau dialect of Hawaiian. Also author of ʻŌlelo ʻŌiwi which will have a revised edition coming out sometime this year. My perspective does tend to be Kauaʻi/Niʻihau oriented, but I've also had a lot of experience with Hawaiian speakers on other islands. Does that help? Or did I get carried away in answering your concern? Kala mai.
Me again. Sorry, I got so carried away with my "credentials" the first time around, I missed something in your question. Believe it or not, "Hānai maila ʻo ia iā ia i ka meli" IS a past tense statement because the MAILA indicates past tense. Doubt if that will ever be taught in DL, but it's interesting that you noticed it as a past-tense sentence. Good catch.
Mahalo for that clarification. I was adopted as an infant and that was always considered to be a one-time event that confers lifetime status as a part of the 'ohana, therefore putting it in a past tense. But I was born, adopted, and raised on the mainland, and was assuming, based on this sentence, that here, hanai is an ongoing process, since language and culture are tightly bonded together. I think i need to have some more conversations relevant to this topic with more of my Hawaiian friends.
In relation to a family, I consider the verb "adopted" to refer to a legal/ceremonial/conscious process that, once finished, creates a new official status in the family. As an adjective, it is a never-ending status, like being a biological child. Without context, this sentence refers to an event that has (already) happened in the past. My beginner-Hawaiian gut thought ua should be used here. Thank you, HklaniClee. Geraldmath4 may have supplied the key that Duolingo meant fosters. (My credentials in English are: native U.S. speaker, B.S. & M.A. in English . . . .) Are foster and adopt different words/concepts in Hawaii?
I notice my first comment on this issue was a year ago, but to answer your new question, "keiki hānai" could refer to either a foster child or an adopted child (I double-checked with some native speakers from Ni'ihau here at school). If you wanted to specify that a child has been legally adopted, however, you should add "hoʻohiki": keiki hānai hoʻohiki. That comes from "to legally adopt": lawe hānai hoʻohiki.
"Adopting" children is very common in Hawaiian culture, whether it's done informally or legally. In many families, a couple's first child is often "given" to grandparents who no longer have a young child at home, and this may--or may not--be done with legal paperwork.
Here on Kaua'i, if you look at obituaries or go to a funeral for Ni'ihau people, nephews and nieces are also often listed as "hānai children," mainly to show a close relationship with these individuals; this term may even be used to describe younger "special friends" who would otherwise probably not be listed in a traditional obituary.
As for another earlier question in this discussion, keep in mind that "hānai" and "lawe hānai" are both transitive verbs. Both can be made passive by adding ʻia: hānai ʻia, lawe hānai ʻia. Also, either of these can be used in any tense: ua lawe hānai ʻia, e lawe hānai ʻia, e lawe hānai ʻia ana, ke lawe hānai ʻia nei. (Come to think of it, I've been too busy to do much in DL for the past year, but I sort of remember that the passive may not have been taught in DL; if that's true, e kala mai! But it's important to know the passive if you want to speak--or understand--Hawaiian.)