Janssen Law, PLC

What are special considerations for Native American adoptions?

Adoption is a wonderful gift you can give to a child in Iowa. Children up for adoption come from many backgrounds. You are not limited by race or ethnicity as to what child you can adopt, but if you are interested in adopting a Native American child and are not Native American yourself, there will be special considerations that must be made.

According to Adopt US Kids, adopting a Native American child involves following the Indian Child Welfare Act. The ICWA sets standards for how the process must go and what steps must be followed. This is designed to help ensure Native children do not lose their heritage and stay connected to their tribe if possible. The ICWA gives power to the child's tribe to become involved in the adoption process.

Typically, a Native child is not going to be put up for open adoption by anyone. Under the ICWA, the child's family and tribe members must first get the chance to adopt the child. If this is not possible, then another Native American is sought to adopt the child. If none of these situations are possible, then a non-Native family gets the option to adopt.

An ICWA caseworker is assigned to your adoption case. The caseworker will assist you with compliance with the ICWA. You will be instructed about the requirement to keep the child close to his or her tribe and allow tribe members and family members of the child to be involved in his or her life. You will be responsible for ensuring the child is aware of and familiar with his or her heritage.

In most cases, the tribe will be very helpful to you and assist you with everything possible to ensure the child remains involved and aware of his or her Native roots. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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