What Is ICWA and Why Is It Important?

Adoption is a process that is often overlooked when people think about how a family is created, but it is a process that happens more often than you think it does. Many women consider adoption as an option, especially if they are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Regardless of your situation, you yourself may have considered adoption. 

The Colorado adoption process would provide your child and yourself with a new future. Although there are many resources available that talk about the process of adoption, there are not as many resources that talk about the adoption of Native American children. You may be of Native American descent, so the adoption process of your child may be a little different because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which works to protect the cultural heritage of Native Americans. You may be wondering what that means for your adoption process, and luckily, you have come to the right place to learn what this means for you.

What is the ICWA?

In short, the ICWA is a federal law that governs the removal and out-of-home placement of American Indian children who are within the state’s custody. In other words, this law works to protect Native American children while preserving the culture and stability of Native American tribes. In action, the ICWA works to preserve Native American culture by prioritizing keeping Native American children with their relatives or other Native American families. 

Adoption agencies in Denver are given an ICWA case have to take special measures to ensure the child is safe and that their culture and heritage are maintained. In order to be considered a Native American child, the child must be a registered member of a federally recognized Native American tribe or be eligible to be a member of a federally recognized tribe.

It is also important to note that Congress intended for the law to be only applied to involuntary custody proceedings. In other words, the law typically only applies to when a child is taken into protective services because the parents had their parental rights taken away by the court. However, many courts have begun to use ICWA in voluntary adoption processes. This has created tension between a mother who wants to place her child in a non-Native American family and the Native American tribe who wants the child to remain close to the tribe. Each state interprets the ICWA differently when dealing with voluntary adoptions. 

Why is the ICWA Important?

In order to understand why the ICWA is important, we have to understand the history of why the ICWA was implemented in the first place. The ICWA was enacted in 1978 as a response to the studies that showed Native American children being separated from their families and placed outside of their communities even though relatives were available. The removal of Native American children from their families was disproportionally high. In fact, the impact of these removals was that the culture of Native American tribes was threatened because Native American children would lose touch with their culture, never knowing their background, culture, and history. 

As such, Congress saw it fit to create a law that would protect the heritage and culture of Native American children. The implementation of the ICWA has promoted the protection of Native American children by requiring higher levels of parental engagement and has encouraged efforts to keep families together. These measures help reduce the trauma a child may experience when they are placed in foster care, and by helping the child maintain their culture, they are more likely to be resilient and to be able to create a deep bond with their family. 

Colorado Adoption

If you are a Native American pregnant woman, the adoption process can still be a process where you can get help. By contacting Adoption Choices of Colorado, our staff will help you through the process of adoption, and we will help you with all the paperwork needed for adoption. 

After contacting our staff, our birth parent counselors will work closely with you to create an adoption plan to map out what you want your adoption to look like. You will be able to choose how open you want your adoption to be, which means you will be able to choose if you want to have contact with the family you have chosen for your baby. Afterward, you will be able to look at the waiting family profiles to see which family is the best match for you. 

The adoption process may seem daunting, but it is a process you do not have to go through alone. By contacting our staff, we will diligently work with you so that you can make the best choices for yourself and your baby.

 If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Text us: 720-371-1099, Call us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.

Victoria CMeet the author: Victoria is a sophomore at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and she is currently a Literature, Media, and Communications major. She currently runs her own blog, where she shares her poetry and creative writing projects. When she is not working or studying for school, she is often reading or writing, as she seeks to pursue a career in writing.

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