Adopting a child can be a wonderful, life-changing event. When parents cannot take care of their child, they rely on families like yours to take in their children and give them a loving home. However, if you are thinking about adopting a Native American child, there is key information you should know.

U.S. News and World Report explains that there are special rules in place for the adoption of Native American children. Since 1978, the law has stood that Native American families have priority over other ethnicities to adopt Native American children.

A recent ruling by a federal appeals court upheld this law, which caused some turmoil. A lower court has previously ruled against the law, allowing non-Native American families to adopt without considering Native American families first.

The bigger issue

The big issue here is the constitutionality of the law. Opponents say that it is racial prejudice, and not allowing anyone to adopt the children without giving preferential treatment is violating states’ powers.

However, the higher court’s ruling states that race is not an issue and classifying children as Native American is a political classification. Furthermore, the court holds that this is a federal issue because of the involvement of Native American sovereign rights, over whom the federal government holds regulation powers.

The fallout

The problem with the upper court reversing the lower court’s ruling is that some adoptions already underway due to the lower court’s ruling could face reversal. On the other hand, many Native American tribes are satisfied with the ruling because it helps to protect them as a people and secure their heritage.

The takeaway from this situation is that the law stands as it is and as it has been for decades. If you want to adopt a Native American child, you need to be sure to follow the proper protocol and that you are in the clear to adopt the child before proceeding.