Nevertheless, the Minnesota Supreme Court overruled this concern and reversed the trial
court’s adoption order. 282 It found that the expert witnesses E.C. and C.C. offered were not
qualified experts specifically on Indian tribal culture and childrearing practices, which meant
their testimony was insufficient to support a beyond-a-reasonable-doubt finding that the
children’s “cultural needs” were being met.283 Thus, although nobody disputed that adoption by
E.C. and C.C. was in the children’s best interests, the court subordinated the children’s
individual needs to other matters; indeed, it found that the best interests standard was improper
under ICWA because it is “imbued with the values of majority culture,” as opposed to Indian
In a South Dakota case, In re N.S., a non-Indian mother with recurrent psychiatric
problems and alcoholism volunteered her child for adoption, then withdrew the request, then
requested it again, then withdrew her request again.285 Twice more, she offered the child for
adoption and changed her mind.286 Social services workers reported a “lack of bonding between
N.S. and his mother and that N.S. was extremely out of control.”287 After two foster placements,
the child was returned to the mother, who then volunteered the child for adoption yet again.288
Then the child was placed in his grandmother’s care, but less than a month later, she asked social
services to take the child away.289 Finally, when the child was a little more than two years old,
282 In re Custody of S.E.G., 521 N.W.2d 357, 365 (Minn. 1994).
284 Id. at 363.
285 474 N.W.2d 96 (S.D. 1991).
287 Id. at 98.
289 Id. at 97–98.