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The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and Adoption

What is ICWA and How Does it Affect Domestic Adoptions?

The federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was passed in 1978 when an estimated one third of Indian children were being forcibly removed from their homes and placed into foster care and with non-Indian families. ICWA was passed to erect barriers to adoption outside the tribe, thus ensuring that Indian families were kept together and that Native American history and culture would be preserved for future generations at a time when tribe numbers and membership was declining dramatically.

About 5 percent of adoptions at American Adoptions involve a child with Native American heritage. American Adoptions is committed to following ICWA legal procedures in all of our adoptions.

Our social work staff has received ICWA training from Jay McCarthy, one of the country’s foremost Indian Child Welfare experts. Additionally, we work with qualified and experienced adoption attorneys, many of whom are members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) and have experience with the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Every time an adoptive family finds an adoption opportunity with a birth mother, they will be briefed on the financial, legal and birth father situation of the adoption, including any details related to ICWA.

To find out more about ICWA, call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free adoption information.


Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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