Women and Children’s Law Center handles more than just divorces. We handle business law, estate planning, and criminal law, as well as other matters of family law. Family law includes issues surrounding the well-being of children, including guardianships and adoptions. Because of Oklahoma’s history of having been the designated territory of Native Americans before it was opened up to white settlers, Oklahoma is home to 39 Native nations. Each nation has its own laws, but all are governed by some federal and state legislation. This has created some complications when it comes to the issue of adoption.
Under the Indian Children Welfare Act of 1978, Native American children have a whole set of laws to protect children of Native American descent and to regulate the removal of children from their parents. Adoption out of native communities was historically used as a tool to destroy their culture and to force assimilation. This law was established to work against this phenomena. This does not mean that a Native American child is not adoptable; it means, instead, that all the mandates of the ICWA are required to be fulfilled during and after the adoption.
One such mandate, for example, is that, to adopt a child of Cherokee descent, “one of the adoptive parents must be affiliated with the federally recognized tribe, either by membership or Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood,” according to adoptuskids.org. The regulations can be, what many consider, strict, but their efforts are an attempt to maintain tribal integrity, and they deserve respect.
If you are considering adopting or giving up for adoption a child with an affiliation to a native American nation in Oklahoma, call Women & Children’s Law Center for a free consultation.
We have experienced attorneys who are set to help you in this process.