Has anyone dealt with the ICWA?

Sorry, it’s long, but I need the advice to thank you. Have any of you dealt with icwa? I’m going through the process to adopt my stepdaughter she is half Native American and Caucasian in a prominent native American state (Oklahoma) neither her father nor I am Native American. Her mother has not been in her life going on two years when she was in her life it was nothing but hell from her stepfather doing drugs with my stepdaughter present (we saved those messages) to her biological mother flat out refusing to give her the medicine her dr prescribed her to her biological mother threatening to turn her over to cps custody because her biological mother couldn’t handle her and so much more. She has never had a stable living situation, always couch hopping little on a job for that matter or car. She also has two other children she signed her rights away at birth that live with a family member because she didn’t want the financial responsibility. My stepdaughter now only knows me as her mom and does not know her biological mother at all her bio mother knows where we live knows our phone number everything she just tries to see her when her and her husband split up so march of 2019 she tried seeing her but she’s not al,lowed because warrants for her arrest and then December 2019 she called to talk about it but was informed she still has warrants so twice in a year shes contacted us, but that’s it. We were wondering if we have to worry about icwa stepping in to stop the adoption or give her awful biological mother custody (we do have a lawyer, and he’s been trying to get us the answer but hasn’t yet) as of right now the native Americans have no jurisdiction because our custody agreement form 2018 was filed in state court with biological mothers consent. Please help I’m a worrier and can NOT lose my daughter; she’s my world.


There was a case about this, I can’t remember where. But since neither of you are Native American I’m not sure you’d be able to adopt her. At least not until she’s 18. I would worry about them stepping in. But if you have a custody agreement and she thinks of you as mom already. I would wait. Sometimes it’s best not to stir the hornets nest

Idk about her being native American but I do know you can lose custody and/or visitation rights if you have no contact with said child in 6 months straight.

It can be hell but it can happen.

I personally never felt with them. But my boyfriend is full Native American and his bio mother did not want him when he was born and gave him to the family he knows now. He was never officially adopted because of the Native American laws they have here in South Dakota. If his “adoptive” family went through court to adopt him, they would have lost. Only because the “adopted” family is white. They want Native American children to stay within their culture. If you look up the laws in your state you will be able to gather more information. If I were you, I would wait until shes 18 for your to adopt her. Just have her dad get full custody of her. That would probably be the best bet.


My ex husband was Native American and custody battle with anything ICWA is an absolute night mare. I had to find a lawyer that specializes in ICWA law. My advice would be to get a lawyer who is confident in ICWA law as well. But if your daughter is registered through the tribe you can reach out to them.
If she isn’t registered then for ICWA to be considered I believe she has to be a registered member of the tribe.

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There is still a law that gives native American parents, guardians the right to overturn the adoption at anytime. But only if the adoptive parents are non CDIB holders.

You may need another attorney who specializes in family law and head handled child in need of care cases. ICWA is applicable given the scenario you’ve laid out.

If she is registered, I would consider getting involved with the Nation. If you can show you are trying to preserve her culture and expose her to her own people, they may be an asset for you rather than an obstruction if it goes to court.

Since she is his biological daughter I think it’s different than being completely unrelated and non NA and trying to adopt.

ICWA is a crock of shit. They won’t let you adopt her. They don’t want Native American children being raised by anyone else. They ate the most racist group of people. They’ve stopped the state feom taking my nieces 4 children. My niece never cleans her house, the kids always have lice and she’s on meth. Yep. Great home.