When a potential client comes into my office seeking to learn more information about Florida adoption (whether it be stepparent adoption, close relative adoption, second parent adoption, or non-relative adoption), two questions almost always seem to catch the potential client off guard:
- Is the prospective adoptee/child a member of an Indian tribe?
- Is the prospective adoptee/child eligible to be a member of an Indian tribe?
If the answer to either of those questions turns out to be yes, then a federal law known as the Indian Child Welfare Act (“ICWA”) is triggered and special procedures must be observed. In determining whether an adoption should be granted, a court must not only look at the best interests of the child, but also take into consideration the interests of the child’s Indian tribe. Preference for adoption is to be given to the child’s extended family within that tribe over a non-tribe member non-relative.
A recent South Carolina adoption case involved the Indian Child Welfare Act. The following video from CNN discusses this case of “Baby Veronica” and the impact of the Indian Child Welfare Act on her adoption: