Minnesota Family Law: What You Need to Know About the Adoption Process and How an Attorney Can Help

Adoptions are a great way to expand the family; whether you are a stepparent, a relative, or a first-time mom bringing your baby home, it is a time to celebrate. However, the legal adoption process can be tedious and confusing, leaving parents sometimes feeling overwhelmed. That is why if you are planning to adopt in Minneapolis, let our legal team at Beckman Steen & Lungstrom help you. We will assist you through the whole adoption process and ensure that it is completed as efficiently as possible. To help your adoption journey along, check out the below guidelines of everything you need to know.

Different Types of Adoption

In Minnesota, there are quite a few ways to adopt a child. The following list will explain the most common types of methods that are used in the state, as well as how each one of them works.

  • Agency Adoption: This form of adoption involved placing a child with specific and assigned adoptive parents through either a private agency or a public agency.  Both of these agencies are regulated by the state and the local jurisdictions and are always licensed.
  • Independent Adoption: If there is no agency involved, then this type of adoption is usually referred to as an independent adoption or private adoption. And it requires a direct agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents. This type of adoption also usually uses an intermediary, such as an attorney, to oversee and complete the legal documents that are required.
  • International Adoptions: This adoption happens when a parent in Minnesota decides to take over the legal responsibilities of a minor, who is a citizen of another country.
  • Foster Care Adoptions: This is a form of adoption where the child is placed into a home as a foster child. The exception, however, is that the child will become legally free and can be adopted by the foster parents.
  • Step-Parent Adoptions: This adoption happens when a stepparent wants to adopt their spouse’s children legally. If both of the child’s biological parents approve the adoption, the process can be quite simple, however, if one of the parents does not agree, or they cannot be located, additional legal proceedings need to be made.
  • Relative Adoptions: Also known as Kinship Adoptions, these adoptions usually result when someone cannot take care of their child, and a family member takes responsibility for legally caring for them. This adoption often happens when the child’s biological parents are legally ordered to stop their parental rights for the following reasons:
    • Drug abuse problems,
    • Imprisonment,
    • Mental health problems,
    • Death

How Can I Adopt a Child in Minnesota?

To qualify for adoption, Minnesota provides the following requirements for individuals who want to adopt:

  • Any individual who resides in the state of Minnesota for more than one year can adopt a child unless the length of residence is reduced to 30 days when it is in the child’s best interest or waived altogether.
  • Even though there is no age limit to adopt in Minnesota, many agencies will indicate their own age conditions.

How Does the Adoption Process Work?

If the above adoption qualification requirements are met, then the adoptive parents will need to undergo a home study, which determines if they are ready to adopt. This home study process involves a documentation phase, a home inspection phase, and an interview phase.

  • Documentation Phase: During this phase, it is required for the adoptive parents to gather essential documentation that will show they are capable of providing the child with a safe and stable home. This information will include financial and health records, as well as a background check.
  • Home Inspection: This phase will require a home study professional to enter the adoptive parent’s home and observe them and their household. The professional uses the home inspection to ensure that the child is safe in their care.
  • Interview: Finally, during the interview phase, a social worker will sit down with each family member individually, and discuss their thoughts about the adoption and decide whether they meet the emotional qualifications to adopt.

Home studies should be conducted as soon as possible and usually take about one to three months to complete.

How An Attorney Can Help

Adoptions are complicated and require a lot of attention to detail when it comes to timelines and paperwork. Whether you are trying to adopt your step-child or taking over for a family member that can no longer take care of their kids, let our legal team help you. Our experienced attorneys will make sure the process is done right and will answer any questions or concerns you may have. For more information, contact Beckman Steen & Lungstrom today.