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Who Can Adopt a Native American Child?

If you need to place your Native American child up for adoption or would like to adopt a child with Native American heritage, you probably have questions about whether there are restrictions in place for these sorts of adoptions.

Read on to learn more about the adoption of a Native American child.

The Indian Child Welfare Act

In 1978, The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was born. This federal law was enacted in order to administer the extractions and out-of-home placement of qualified American Indian children who are within the custody of the state.

The ICWA provides the principles for placement in foster and adoptive homes of American Indian children. Additionally, the ICWA provides legal authority to the tribes regarding child welfare cases. The Act also imposes rules regarding foster and pre-adoptive homes.

A significant goal of the ICWA is to focus on placing American Indian children with relatives or other Indian families. According to 25 U.S. Code § 1915, “In any adoptive placement of an Indian child under State law, a preference shall be given, in the absence of good cause to the contrary, to a placement with (1) a member of the child’s extended family; (2) other members of the Indian child’s tribe; or (3) other Indian families.”

Considering Culture

If you are a potential foster or adoptive parent, a good first step to take toward helping your Native American child understand their heritage is to speak with your caseworker in order to learn about the child’s tribal affiliation and cultural heritage. If it’s appropriate, it may also be beneficial to make connections and build a relationship with the child’s birth family (including immediate and extended family).

It may also be wise to do the following:

  • Motivate your caseworker to build a relationship with the tribe’s ICWA worker.
  • When it’s appropriate, request the child’s tribe or family to be engaged in the child’s growth.
  • Keep in mind that a tribe is invested in its children. It’s common for tribal family members to wish to stay connected to the child due to the widespread belief that the child’s well-being is contingent upon their connection to their tribe, culture, and traditions.
  • Provide continual educational opportunities for the child to develop culturally and spiritually by providing experiences that sustain their native culture and traditions.

We’re Here to Help

If you need to place your Native American child up for adoption or would like to adopt a child with Native American heritage, our attorneys at Circling Eagle Law are here to help. Our team has helped countless other families with their adoption needs, and we can help your family, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our team with your case right away.

Call Circling Eagle Law today at (701) 401-7404 discuss your child support case.


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