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How to Adopt in Minnesota

Thousands of Minnesota families have completed their families through adoption. Whether you are considering adopting a child or placing your baby for adoption in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth or anywhere else in the Gopher State, the following guide provides all the information you need about adoption in Minnesota.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Minnesota

If you are interested in adopting a child in Minnesota, you will need to follow all state laws and qualifications for adopting a child. The following information will help you better understand the adoption process, laws and qualifications to adopt in Minnesota.

What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Minnesota?

Any person who has resided in Minnesota for at least one year may adopt. The residency requirement may be waived if the prospective adoptive parent is related to the child or an important family friend with whom the child has had significant contact.

What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Minnesota?

The following expenses may be paid by or on behalf of adoptive families in Minnesota:
  • Reasonable legal, medical and counseling costs
  • Reasonable travel and lodging expenses incurred in connection with the adoption
  • Adoption services provided by an agency
  • Reasonable living expenses for the birth mother if she is otherwise unable to maintain an adequate standard of living because of loss of income resulting from the pregnancy
Adoptive families may not continue to pay reasonable birth mother living expenses beyond six weeks after delivery unless the mother is unable to work because of physical limitations resulting from the birth. Lost wages, gifts and educational expenses are not considered reasonable living expenses.

What are the laws to become a foster parent in Minnesota?

Every Minnesota foster parent must complete a home study in accordance with state laws. Additional requirements vary by foster agency. For more information, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Minnesota?

An international adoption is valid and binding if the validity of the foreign adoption is verified by the granting of a visa for the child by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An adoptive parent may petition the court in his or her county for a decree confirming and recognizing the adoption, changing the child’s legal name and authorizing a new birth record for the child. The decree will be issued upon receipt of certain documents, including:
  • A petition by the adoptive parent requesting the decree and stating that the child was adopted under the laws of a foreign country and that the adoption is valid in Minnesota
  • A copy of the original birth record
  • A copy of the final adoption certificate
  • A copy of the child’s passport and visa
  • Certified English translations of any of the above documents if they are not written in English

Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Minnesota?

Only the commissioner or licensed agency may knowingly engage in placement activities, except for the placement of a child by a birth parent in a pre-adoptive home. Placement activities include placing, arranging short-term foster care, conducting a home study and witnessing consent to an adoption. The use of advertisement is not addressed in Minnesota statutes.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Minnesota

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may have several questions about the rules and regulations of placing a baby for adoption in Minnesota. The following will help answer some of your questions about Minnesota adoption laws.

When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?

Consent must be given at least 72 hours after the child’s birth and no later than 60 days after the child’s placement in a prospective adoptive home. All consent must be given in writing before two competent witnesses and acknowledged by the parent giving consent. If the parent is a minor, the agency overseeing the adoption must offer the parent the opportunity to consult with an attorney, clergy member or physician before executing consent.

Who must consent to the adoption?

In Minnesota, written consent must be executed by the child’s parents and the child’s guardian, if there is one. If the child’s parent is a minor, the minor’s parents or guardian must also consent to the adoption. If the child is at least 14 years old, his or her consent is also necessary.

When is consent not needed?

Consent is not required of a parent who is not entitled to notice of adoption proceedings, a parent who has abandoned the child, a parent who has lost custody of the child and who has received notice, or a parent whose rights have been terminated.

When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?

Consent may be withdrawn within 10 days of signing consent. Written notification of revocation must be received by the placing agency within 10 days. After that, consent is irrevocable unless the court finds that the consent was obtained by fraud.

What rights does the father of the baby have in Minnesota adoptions?

In Minnesota, a man is presumed to be a child’s father if:
  • He is or was married to the child’s mother, and the child is or was born during the marriage or within 280 days of the end of the marriage
  • He and the child’s mother attempted to legally marry each other before the child’s birth, but the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born during the marriage or within 280 days after the end of the marriage or cohabitation
  • He and the child’s mother married or attempted to marry after the child’s birth, but the marriage could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has filed a written acknowledgment of paternity with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics
    • He consented to be named as the child’s father on the birth record
    • He is obligated to support the child voluntarily or by court order
  • He receives the child into his home and openly claims the child as his biological child
  • He and the child’s mother file a signed acknowledgment of paternity with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics
A fathers’ adoption registry has been established to determine the identity and location of putative fathers whose children may be the subject of an adoption proceeding. Putative fathers must file with the registry to preserve their right to notice of the adoption proceeding.

Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Minnesota

Before you may legally adopt a child or become a foster parent in Minnesota, you must complete a home study. The home study is an important step in the adoption process that evaluates your ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child.

What is included in the Minnesota home study process?

The Minnesota home study includes the following:
  • At least one in-home visit with the prospective parent
  • A background check to determine if the prospective parent and any resident of the home age 13 or older has had a felony conviction or any conviction or finding of substantiated maltreatment that may affect the ability of the prospective parent to safely care for and parent a child
  • A medical and social history
  • An assessment of parenting skills, financial support and understanding of adoption issues

Who is included in the home study process?

Background checks must be performed for each person older than age 13 living in the home.

Who will conduct the home study?

The Minnesota home study must be completed by a licensed child-placing agency.

When must the home study be completed? When does the home study need to be updated?

The home study and written report must be completed prior to placement of a child in an adoptive home. The report must be filed with the court with the adoption petition. An adoption study is valid only if the report has been completed or updated within the past 12 months.

On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Minnesota?

The home study will not be approved if the background study reveals a felony conviction at any time for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children (including child pornography) or a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide but not including other physical assault or battery. The home study will not be approved if the background study reveals a felony conviction within the past five years for physical assault, battery or a drug-related offense.

What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Minnesota?

A post-placement assessment and report must be completed within 90 days of filing the adoption petition. The assessment will evaluate the environment of the child to be adopted and determine whether the placement meets the child’s needs. The report will address the adaptation of the parents to parenting the child, the child’s health and wellbeing, the incorporation of the child into the home and extended family and the inclusion of the child’s previous history into the adoptive home, such as cultural practices and contact with former foster parents and biological relatives. The adoption petition will not be granted until the child has lived in the adoptive home for at least three months.

What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Minnesota?

Relative and stepparent adoptions are subject to the background checks. The required investigation and post-placement period of residence may be waived for stepparent adoptions.

What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?

Any interstate adoption is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). No child may be brought into or sent out of Minnesota for adoption in a nonrelative’s home, unless the placement is approved in writing by the commissioner. The commissioner will not approve an interstate placement if it is planned or made by an unlicensed third party.

What are the pre-placement requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?

If the child being adopted has been in the prospective parents’ foster care, any portion of the foster care licensing process that duplicates requirements of the adoption home study may be submitted to satisfy home study requirements. In Minnesota, you are required to obtain a home study prior to an adoption placement. Contact one of these trusted home study providers to get started:
  • Adoption Minnesota 613-333-0489 Adoption Minnesota provides home studies for families adopting from their agency or any other agency. The agency also provides embryo adoption home studies.
  • New Horizons 507-526-3518 New Horizons offers a variety of adoption services for birth parents and adoptive families, including state-licensed home studies.
Visit 1800HomeStudy.com to learn more about Minnesota home study providers.

Minnesota Adoption Professionals

When you are ready to begin the adoption process, your adoption professional can work with you to answer your questions and arrange necessary adoption services. These adoption professionals are experienced in completing Minnesota adoptions and can help guide you through your adoption journey: For more information about foster care in Minnesota, visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Things to do in Minnesota

If your adoption plans bring you to Minnesota, there is plenty to keep you busy in the land of 10,000 lakes. Here are a few fun things you can enjoy during your stay in the North Star State: For more information about traveling to Minnesota, visit www.exploreminnesota.com.
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