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Court administration processes a variety of adoption petitions:
- Stepparent adoptions
- Agency adoptions
- Relative adoptions
- Adult adoptions
- International adoptions
Adoption filings are considered confidential cases and adoptions files are not open to the general public.
Minnesota statutes require licensed background studies on prospective adoptive family members who are over the age of 18. Fingerprints must be submitted to the placement agency to facilitate criminal background checks with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Placement agencies must also conduct checks with local law enforcement, social services, and courts to see if adoptive parents have any record of maltreatment of children or vulnerable adults.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I send information to obtain an adoption background check?
Forms and the instructions for background checks are available from your adoption agency. Follow the instructions they give you.
General requirements for filing adoptions in the State of Minnesota
- There is a one-year residency requirement for filers. This requirement may be waived if the petitioner is a relative.
- The Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner's agent, or a licensed child placement agency must have placed the child unless:
* the child is over the age of 14
* the petitioner is a relative
* or another state lawfully placed the child under
its laws, or the child was legally placed through
the direct adoption process.
- The Petition should be filed within twelve (12) months of the adoptive placement.
The Petition should be filed in the county of the petitioner's residence.
How to file a Petition for Adoption
Adoption forms may be obtained from a legal publisher, a licensed adoption agency, or the Department of Human Services. Petitoner(s) must sign and date three copies of the petition in the presence of a notary public or deputy court administrator. The petition must be accompanied by the appropriate parental consent forms, other required documents, and the court filing fees.
Various consent forms and information about adoptions are available on the DHS website: www.dhs.state.mn.us
The adoption of a child by a Minnesota resident under laws of a foreign country is valid and binding if the validity of the foreign adoption has been verified by the granting of an IR-3 VISA for the child by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
What Documents are Required in Filing a Foreign Adoption
- A signed, sworn, and notarized petition/application by the adoptive parent(s) requesting that the court issue a Minnesota birth certificate and stating that the adoptive parents completed adoption under the laws of a foreign country and that the adoption is valid in this state.
- A copy of the child's original birth certificate, if available.
- A copy of the final adoption certificate or equivalent as issued by the foreign jurisdiction.
- A copy of the child's passport including the U.S. VISA indicating IR-3 immigration status.
- Proposed order/decree confirming the validity of the inter-country adoption that also orders that the Minnesota Department of Vital Statistics issue a Minnesota birth certificate.
- Certificate of Adoption.
- Minnesota Birth Certificate Application.
- Appropriate filing fees.
What happens after I file the documents?
Court Administration reviews the documents for accuracy before a court file is opened. Your agency will notify you when it is time to contact the Court Administrator's office to request a hearing date and time. If the documentation is acceptable to the court, the Judge will approve adoption and the appropriate documents will be forwarded to the petitioners, Minnesota Department of Vital Statistics and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
A Certificate of Adoption form must also be submitted either with the Petition or at the time of the final court hearing. This document is forwarded by court administration to: Minnesota Department of Health along with a check from the petitioner made payable to the "Minnesota Department of Health," for recording the adoption along with at least "a. & b" below ($56.00 minimum is collected from the petitioner for recording & one certified copy)
a. $40.00 for recording the adoption
b. $26.00 for the first certified copy of the new birth certificate
c. $19.00 for each additional certified copy(s) of the new birth certificate
Commissioner of Human Services
Attn: Adoption Unit
444 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-3831
Minnesota Department of Health
Vital Statistics Registration
717 Delaware Street SE Box 9441
Minneapolis, MN 55440-9441
Where do I get adoptions forms?
You need to contact a legal publisher or your adoption agency for forms.
To file an agency adoption, the petitioner must file the following with District Court: (below listed forms require Adobe Acrobat Reader to be installed - go to http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html to download a free copy or open them as a Word document.)
Forms are available here. It is recommended that petitioners seek legal counsel for assistance in filing the required documents. The following documents must be filed with the District Court:
- Petition for Adoption (Step-parent).
- Consent of Parent to Adoption and Waiver of Notice of Hearing form.
- Certificate of Adoption form.
- Judgment and Decree form.
- The child's parent(s) or guardian(s) must consent to the adoption
- If a child over the age of 14 is up for adoption, the child must consent to the proceedings and the child's parent(s) or guardian(s) must consent to the adoption.
- Someone over the age of 18 must sign a consent in front of two witnesses and a notary public. No parental consents are needed in an adult adoption.
- If consent of a parent cannot be obtained, a Petition for Termination of Parental Rights must be filed.
- If a parent resides outside of Minnesota, he or she must sign the consent in accordance with the statutes of the state.
- A parent who is active in the military must complete the standard consent AND file a Waiver of Rights under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.
- An Indian child requires a special consent form meeting requirements under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How much are filing fees?
There is a filing fee due at the time a Petition is filed with District Court. Check the fee schedule provided by this link.
Certified copies of the Judgment and Decree: Fees for each certified copy should be paid the day of the hearing. Check the fee schedule provided by this link.
Minnesota Certificate of Adoption: To be paid at the hearing also.
Filing fee: $40.00
First certified copy: $26.00
Additional copies: $ 19.00
When can I call and obtain a hearing for finalizing the adoption?
In most cases when the court has received all the necessary documents from the local social services agency or the licensed adoption agency involved with the adoption, you will be notified by that agency to call the court for a hearing date and time.
More information regarding the hearing
What should I bring to the hearing?
Both petitioner and the adoptee must attend the hearing. Family members and friends are welcome. If the parties wish to bring still/video cameras into the courtroom, they need to request permission in writing from the judge prior to the hearing. If the judge approves their request, they will need to bring that letter to the courthouse and present it to courthouse security when they check in. Also, your checkbook will be needed to pay fees for certified copies and the new/amended birth certificate. Cash will not be accepted for payment of the amended birth certificate.
What if the adoptee is over the age of 14?
If the adoptee is between the ages of 14-17 years, the adoptee must consent to the adoption in the presence of a representative of the Commission of Human Services. Please contact Kandiyohi County Social Services for this service.
What can I do if I cannot obtain the birth parent's consent?
If you cannot obtain consent from the adoptee's birth father/mother, it is possible that you will need to terminate their parental rights prior to the adoption being filed. For information on terminating parental rights, please contact Kandiyohi County Family Services (320) 231-6232 or contact your legal advisor.
What if I am going to adopt more than one child?
If you are adopting two or more children who have the same biological parents, you may file one Petition for Adoption that includes all the children along with one filing fee. Each adoptee will need to have separate closing documents for finalizing the adoptions.
Those documents include:
- Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law, Order for Judgment.
- Judgment and Decree.
- Certificate of Adoption.
- Minnesota Birth Certificate Application.
If you are adopting two or more children who do not have the same biological parents, you must file a separate Petition for each child and pay separate filing fees for each.
How can I obtain a certified copy of an adoption decree after the hearing?
If you wish to obtain a certified copy of the Judgment and Decree, you should do so on the day of the hearing. You may purchase certified copies or plain copies for from court administration. Check the fee schedule provided by this link.
The information contained on this site is not intended as legal advice but as a general guide to explain the legal process
Affidavit of Service by Mail (PDF Format) (Word Format)
Findings of Fact and Adoption Decree (PDF Format) (Word Format)