Frequently Searched

Equal Protection for Native American Children

In re. A.L.M.

Case Status

Date Filed

October 31, 2017

Last Step

Filed friend of the court brief in the Texas Court of Appeals.

Next Step

VICTORY! After our brief was filed, the parties reached a settlement that allowed the adoption to proceed.

Case Overview

Two-year-old Andy* is a Texan child who’s lived most of his life with his foster parents, Charles and Janet.* They want to adopt him—and his birth parents support that. If Andy were white, or black, or of nearly any other race, that adoption would probably be approved swiftly. But because Andy is part Navajo and part Cherokee, a different law applies to him: the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) which imposes race-based restrictions on adoption. Those rules require that Indian children be adopted by “Indian families”—even if they’re of different tribes—rather than by adults of other races.

When Navajo tribal officials objected to the adoption in this case, a Texas trial judge agreed, and rejected it. Within hours, Texas officials announced plans to send Andy to New Mexico to live with a Navajo family he’s met only once, for three hours—and who have not filed an adoption request for him. Charles and Janet want to give Andy the permanent family he needs—but their skin is the wrong color.

As part of its Equal Protection for Indian Children project, the Goldwater Institute has filed a friend of the court brief in support of Charles and Janet’s appeal.

*-not their real names

Donate Now

Help all Americans live freer, happier lives. Join the Goldwater Institute as we defend and strengthen freedom in all 50 states.

Donate Now

Since 1988, the Goldwater Institute has been in the liberty business — defending and promoting freedom, and achieving more than 400 victories in all 50 states. Donate today to help support our mission.

We Protect Your Rights

Our attorneys defend individual rights and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Need Help? Submit a case.

Get Connected to Goldwater

Sign up for the latest news, event updates, and more.