Thinking About Adoption, but I Need Some Help!

Updated on November 28, 2009
R.K. asks from Saint Paul, MN
15 answers

Hello! I am thinking about adopting a baby/toddler, but I really don't know anything about the process or what I should do. Ideally, I am interested in adopting a little Native American boy. Any moms with experience in this? If you could give me some resources or websites or ANYTHING that would be great! Thanks!!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great responses... I definitely know now not to be too specific. I am probably going to call an agency that some moms suggested and see where to go from there. We're still in the early stages of looking into it. I have pretty much counted out the American Indian idea, because I'm not sure how long I would be able to wait to go through all the legal hoops if it is even possible at all. The reason we wanted a Native American boy is because my husband is very interested in their culture and I thought we would be a good family for involving the child in their own culture.

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T.

answers from Minneapolis on

R.,
I am an adoptive mom of 2 great kids and can say that adoption is a wonderful thing. However it can be difficult esp. with american indian children. Do a quick google on ICWA there is a NICWA site that has a frequently asked section that will be helpful. The biggest factor is if this child is a registered tribe member and if the tribe is willing to work with you. Hopefully you are a tribe member also that would be the best for your case. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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C.R.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hey, R.. I don't know if this would be an option for you, but many of the counties have a foster parent program that allows you the option of adopting a child who is placed with your home should you decide to do so. It might be something worth looking into.

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K.B.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi there,

I was a foster parent to 2 little Native girls with intention to adopt but their mother ended up getting better and was able to take them back.

From my experience, there are separate laws pertaining to Native adoption. They will often have 2 social workers- 1 from the state and 1 representing their Native rights/interests.

I was essentially asked to introduce them to things related to their culture (preferably their tribe).

In addition, Tribal Laws will always give preference to other Native parents unless the mother strictly says she doesn't want them going to them.

I'm not sure how it works for adoption situation if the child qualifies for Percaps (tribal grant money) but there is a chance they will qualify which could also help pay for their education etc...

Good luck and I think you're doing a wonderful thing!

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P.P.

answers from Minneapolis on

As an adoptee, I think its wonderful that you are wanting to provide a home for a child. There are so many children out there who need homes.

However, as a Native American woman who practices law in the area of Indian children, I would caution you in your desire to adopt a Native American boy. As some of the previous readers have noted, there is a federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Under that act, there are specific placement preferences that must be followed in regard to Indian children. If you are a non-Native individual, you do not fall within the preferences unless you can argue a legally recognized reason. In addition to ICWA, Minnesota law also reinforces ICWA and actually provides even more protections. As some of the other Moms have noted, there is a long history of Indian children being taken from their homes and their Tribes, so the Federal Government enacted the ICWA. Unfortunately, as someone who witnesses it every day, I can tell you that Indian children continue to be removed from their families and Tribes. As a result, Tribes are willing to enforce the law in regards to their children.

I'm not sure what your rationale is behind wanting to adopt a Native American boy. But you decide to proceed, you will definately need an attorney, well-versed in the ICWA and Minnesota law in regard to Indian child adoptions. Otherwise, as one of the other mothers wrote, if the adoption is done wrong, the tribe (and birth parents) can have the adoption erased and you could lose the child.

Good luck.

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B.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi R., we adopted a baby by going through an adoption laywer - Gary Debele, from the firm "Walling, Berg and Debele". He was excellent. There are some very reputable adoption societies in Minneapolis - Children's Home Society, Catholic Charities, to name just two. I know that there are some different laws and procedures involved when adopting a Native American, so make sure that you are well represented legally. Good Luck.

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M.J.

answers from Omaha on

I would google like crazy. I don't really have any other advice than that, but God Bless you in your endevor. I would try not to be too tied to specifics if I were you though. I mean once you get in contact with the right people, I would tell them what you have in mind and see how plausible it is. Good luck!

B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

Like Melissa said, there are alot of rules pertaining to the adoption of a Native American child. I don't think they apply as much if you are Native, or part Native, yourself, however if you are not, I would think its almost impossible.

We too looked into domestic adoption, and I researched Native American adoption considerably, and was disappointed ot learn we wouldn't be able to. We have went with an international adoption instead. If this is an option for you, the wait time for boys with an international adoption through any country is fairly short.

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K.W.

answers from Omaha on

I would encourage you to research different adoption agencies. You can find a listing of the licensed child placing agencies on htt://meadowlark.creighton.edu/naaa. The agency will help educate you both on what it means to parent through adoption, the legal aspects of adoption and ETHICAL practices of adoption. Remember that if you adopt an older child then he/she will typically be a ward of the state and more than likely you will need to be a licensed foster parent. However, since your child is so young...it would be wise not to alter the current birth order of your family.

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M.B.

answers from Davenport on

It is very difficult to adopt a child that is native American. The tribe will fight you if there is one drop of native American blood in the child. There is alot of research done prior to an adoption to avoid problems after the adoption. They will take that child away if it is discovered after the fact. I would look in other areas if I were you. There are so many children out there that there is alot less fight to bring into your home.

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D.H.

answers from Milwaukee on

R., we have adopted 3 times in 4 years. All domestics newborns. At the moment I don't have time to go into detail, I'm on the way out the door. Here is my email [email protected]____.com. I would LOVE to talk to you about the process!!! I have alot of info for you.

D.

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J.M.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

Hi R.,
My husband and I adopted through DHS and were very pleased with the process. Please understand that with US laws with Native American tribes, you will have a VERY difficult time adopting a child of that specific ethnicity. ALL tribal families must be given the opportunity to adopt the child before they will allow a non-tribe family to even be considered. Contact DHS for more questions about it. I can't see any private adoption agencies being able to be that specific but you could try them as well. It will be pricey if you go private. Good luck!

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J.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

R.,

There are lots of cultural reasons it is difficult to adopt a Native American child. I won't go into too many details, but there is a long history in this country of our government officials mandating removing Native American children from their homes, placed in "Indian Schools", not allowed to speak their own languages in an effort to "Americanize" them. Thankfully this is no longer the case, but it is one reason that it is now so difficult to adopt a child out of a Native American tribe.

http://www.adopting.org/adoptions/native-americans-and-ad...

Good luck to you,
J.

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L.M.

answers from Rapid City on

I think your best bet is to become a foster parent. I was a social worker for child protection here in South Dakota for a few years and dealing with ICWA and the tribal courts is a task and a half. However, there are many Native children that come into the foster care system in this area (I don't know about yours) and that will probably be the best way to ever get an opportunity to adopt a Native child. It will also afford you the opportunity to take children from other homes into your lives, make a difference to some needy children, and see if it's something that will work for you long-term.
Being able to adopt a Native baby or toddler through a regular adoption agency is a much slimmer prospective I believe.

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S.S.

answers from Madison on

My daughter who is now 19 months was adopted and she is 1/3 Native American. Depending on the tribe and if the child is registered Native American (or parents) is the deciding factor. Your first decision is to decide on private or agency adoption. I spent a year researching adoption and ended up meeting some shady people and some great people. I hired two lawyers, two facilitators and 3 agencies. The best, informative and honest person I found was Adoption Information Services (AIS) in GA. The owners name is Marcia Clark. My situation was a little complex. I am a guy, in my thirties and decided the time was right and wanted a baby. In most countries and some states it is hard to find a person or agency for a dad adoption. The entire staff was great and more imprtantly honest and upfront. I had been working on my adoption for a year. I hired the AIS team and as fate would have it I had a two day old girl in 2 weeks.
Part of that was timing and luck, a big part was their pushing and I have the most amazing beautiful girl.
Research is the key. Get books and know the questions to ask when you interview anyone you are paying. Good Luck!

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi! I'm in the process of adopting. I looked at many agencies and decided to go with Children's Home Society. They have been great with all my many questions. We have taken the MN waiting classes and decided that we would try to adopt internationally. We have those classes in a couple of weeks.
Just thought I would give you another option of agencies to check out!
C.

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