Family Law Resources
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, of which Mark is a Fellow, is comprised of more than 340 attorneys who practice adoption law. The Academy focuses on advocating for adoption law reform and sharing information about ethical adoption practices.
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 (ICWA) is a federal law that governs child custody proceedings that involve Indian children. The ICWA is a significant exception to adoption law, which is in most other cases regulated at the state level. The ICWA takes precedence if a state adoption law conflicts with it. Some of the legal matters that must be resolved in adoptions involving Indian children include:
- If the tribe is recognized by the U.S. federal government
- If the child is eligible for membership in the tribe or already considered a tribe member
- Varying time periods between sets of laws for revoking consent
- Specific preferences surrounding the adoption by relatives or the tribe
- Whether a birth mother or child request that the preferences not be followed
Adoption agencies may be sued in federal court for violations of the act. Also, in our state, the Father’s Adoption Registry does not impact the adoptions of Indian children.
Most violations of the ICWA occur because an agency or adoption attorney do not apply its consent requirements properly. Legal advice in this specific area of adoption law is essential to a successful adoption of a child of Indian heritage.
- “ICWA, the statute”
- “ICWA, Bureau of Indian Affairs Regulations”
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 nonprofit 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 for licenced home study services. Minnesota residents may use them for embryo donations, domestic adoptions or designated adoptions. 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 Osband, LLC, does not condone unlawful discrimination in provision of adoption services.