604 W. 2nd Av. Anchorage, AK 99501 907-771-8300 lbn@noroffices.com

ICWA Adoptions

ICWA Adoptions In Anchorage


Adoptions done in cooperation with the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) require extensive familiarity with the act, with the needs of the people involved, and profound respect for the background of the children, birth parents and families involved.

Having been raised in Alaska, our attorney Lisa B. Nelson is familiar with the issues facing native Alaskan parents and children. Many calls have been received from birth mothers seeking our services to help them find homes for their children, and are honored to be trusted with this very serious task.


Considerations For Indian Children And Parents


ICWA adoptions have a series of additional requirements, designed to protect children, parents and the cultural heritage of Alaska’s native tribes. The child’s tribe or custodian may intervene at any stage, and may move to have the adoption removed to a tribal court.

Termination of parental rights is a particularly sensitive issue in ICWA adoptions. If it is done by consent, it must be in writing and done before a judge after the child is 10 days old. The judge will certify that the consequences of consent were fully explained in English or the parent’s first language. If the termination is involuntary, our lawyer will work with the tribe and respect the rights of the parents, children and tribe.

As part of our services, we will:

  • Work to facilitate adoptions of native children by relatives or members of their native tribe where possible
  • Work to facilitate adoption of native children by members of other tribes, where relative and same-tribe adoption is not possible
  • Ensure that non-native adoptive parents are aware that there are over 200 tribes and multiple ethnicities in Alaska, and that their child is more than just “Alaskan Indian” but has a unique heritage that must be preserved
  • Be aware of any possible additional problems the children may face, including issues of alcohol and drug abuse or family violence
  • If the adoption is carried out without ending parental rights, discuss why and how this will impact the adoption and how it will enable the child to maintain contact with family, tribal culture and heritage
  • Ensure that ICPC requirements are met if the child is adopted by parents outside of Alaska


Contact Lisa B. Nelson


Call Lisa at 907-771-8300 or contact her online if the child you hope to adopt is native Alaskan. We regularly travel outside of Anchorage to facilitate adoptions in cooperation with the ICWA.