Tribal families get priority in Native American adoptions. An appeals court will decide whether that’s fair.

Katie Mettler - The Washington Post

The U.S. Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), passed in 1978, "mandates that states prioritize placing Native American children up for adoption with members of their family, their tribe or other Native American families." The constitutionality of this law is now being challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, according to this article from the Washington Post. The court will hear the case of a non-Native American couple in the U.S. state of Texas that successfully filed a petition to adopt a Native American boy they fostered for 16 months and now seek to adopt his sister. 

"We never want to go back to the days when Indian children were ripped away from their families and stripped of their heritage," said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Martin, Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill and Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp in a joint statement. "ICWA provides a process for determining the best interests of Indian children in the adoption and foster care systems, which is why it is overwhelmingly supported across the political spectrum. We remain devoted in our efforts to defend ICWA because our number one priority remains fighting for the well-being, health and safety of children and families.”