American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, in which Mark is a Fellow, is a national association of approximately 340 attorneys who practice, or have otherwise distinguished themselves, in the field of adoption law. The Academy’s work includes promoting the reform of adoption laws and disseminating information on ethical adoption practices. The Academy publishes a newsletter, holds annual meetings, and hosts professional educational seminars.
Minnesota Statutes (laws are found under “Chapters.” Adoption, Chapter 259; Third party Custody, Chapter 257C; Child Protection, 260C).
Minnesota Department of Human Services Children’s Home Page This is an excellent resource on foster care, adoption, Indian Child Welfare, permanency, and other related issues.
Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program: The Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program provides advocates who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Guardians Ad Litem are professionals who are paid staff people or volunteers and are appointed by the Juvenile or Family Court to represent a maltreated child’s best interests in court proceedings.
Social Security Administration Click here for information on how to apply for a social security card for your adopted child.
The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law designed to strengthen and preserve Indian families and tribes. It applies to all child custody proceedings involving an “Indian child.” While adoption proceedings are typically regulated by the states, the Indian Child Welfare Act is a major exception. The ICWA, as federal law, supercedes state laws that are in conflict with it. Knowing whether and how the ICWA applies to an adoption matters can be a complex question involving issues such as:
- whether the child is a member or eligible for membership in an Indian tribe
- whether the tribe is federally recognized
- consent procedures in adoption matters which are different from state law
- a different time period for revoking consents
- a tribal right of intervention in voluntary adoption proceedings
- specific relative and tribal placement preferences
- how a birth mother or child may request that the preferences not be followed
An agency may be sued in federal court for violations of the ICWA. In Minnesota, the Father’s Adoption Registry may have no effect on adoptions of Indian children.
There are over 3900 case opinions interpreting the ICWA in state court proceedings. By far, the most significant violations of the ICWA in adoption cases occur because agencies and attorneys fail to apply the ICWA and its heightened consent requirements. This law is simply too complex for an agency, adoptive parents, or tribes to handle without legal advice.
North American Council on Adoptable Children: This site has great resources on adoption, including: how-to information, adoption subsidy, parent groups, post-adoption support, articles & publications, and much more.
Adoption Agencies to Consider
I work with and recommend several adoptions agencies. But I especially like the ones listed below (in no order of preference!):
Adoption Minnesota, (birth parent and adoptive parent services, ICPC, consent-only services, in-hospital birth parent services).
American Adoptions is a licensed non-profit adoption agency our office works with providing adoption services to birth mothers and adoptive families.
Bethany Christian Services, (Christian-centered services include adoption, foster care, and pregnancy counseling)
Children’s Home Society-Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota, (longstanding Minnesota adoption agencies that joined together in 2012).
New Horizons Adoption Agency, (Christian-based Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota licensed agency providing full range of support services to pregnant mother and adoption parents).
Summit Adoption Home Studies is a local agency we work with that specializes in licensed adoption home study services for residents of Minnesota for domestic adoptions, designated adoptions, or embryo donation programs. Minnesota families can choose from many child referral sources from anywhere in the U.S. or locate a child eligible for adoption independently with an approved home study from Summit.
Fiddler Law Offices, P.A., does not condone unlawful discrimination in provision of adoption services.