${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}
To talk to an experienced family law attorney about your case,
please call our Fargo office at
701-297-2234
Menu Contact

Can a non-Native person adopt an American Indian child?

Many prospective adoptive parents want to give a home to children most in need of a loving, permanent family. Here in North Dakota, for some that means adopting an American Indian child. However, there are legal restrictions in place that can make it difficult for non-Native people to adopt American Indian children.

According to 2013 data, 5.4 percent of North Dakota residents self-identified as American Indian or Alaska Native. In Minnesota, that number was 1.3 percent, which is still higher than in many states.

Back in 1978, the Indian Child Welfare Act became federal law. The purpose of the ICWA was to prevent what was considered to address the issue of what was considered a disproportionate number of Indian children being adopted into families or placed into foster homes where they weren't exposed to their tribal culture. The law requires states to make "active efforts" to help Indian families keep their children and raise them within their native culture.

Many states, including North Dakota and Minnesota, have state laws on the books to further enforce the intentions of the ICWA. For example, in Minnesota, Indian parents are required to notify their tribe before giving their child up for adoption.

Over the years, there have been challenges to the ICWA. It's been argued that the law is discriminatory, for example. However, advocates for the law contend that it's necessary to help American Indians preserve their culture.

If you are a non-Native person in North Dakota or Minnesota seeking to adopt an Indian child, regardless of the circumstances, it's essential to seek the guidance of an experienced adoption attorney who understands not only the federal law, but the laws of your state.

Source: Considering Adoption, "Understanding ICWA – Indian Child Welfare Act," accessed March 10, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
EMAIL US FOR A RESPONSE

Tell Us About Your Case

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

Our Location:

Melinda Weerts PLLC
2534 South University Drive Suite 2
Fargo, ND 58103

Fax: 701-271-0082
Fargo Law Office Map

Back to top