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The decision to adopt a child (or adult) can be an exciting and emotional event, but it is also a serious matter because it involves the well-being of a child. Adoption laws are based on the best interests of the child and certain laws give special protection for children based on their age, race (e.g., Indian Child Welfare Act) and other factors. Different types of adoptions include:
- relative adoption (also called "kinship" adoption)
- step-parent adoption
- agency adoption (including children who are wards of the state and children placed through private agencies such as charitable or religious organizations)
- private adoption (usually arranged between biological parents and adoptive parents, and facilitated by an adoption lawyer)
- international or intercountry adoption
Minnesota law requires that adoptions be processed in court so that the best-interests of the child can be protected. An adoption involves much more than filing papers with the court, and the exact steps you need to follow and papers you need to file depend on the type of adoption. Generally, the steps of the court process include:
- Petitioner(s) must reside in Minnesota for one year (or less if related to the adoptee);
- the juvenile court of the Judicial District for the county where Petitioner(s) live has jurisdiction;
- Petitioner(s) must file a "Petition" (and consents or other documents depending on the type of adoption) and a proposed adoption "Decree";
- a home-study and background check is done of the Petitioner(s);
- there is a hearing before a judge; and
- if the judge grants the Petition, the court issues an adoption Decree.
NOTE: Adoption cases, including court files and hearings, are confidential and not open to the public or non-parties, except by court order.
You should check with your local court administration about the procedures in your District Court.
You may also want to view Adoption - 8th District Court (Kandiyohi County) for more detailed adoption information. CAUTION: The information on that website is specific to the 8th District Court and Kandiyohi County, so if you are a Petitioner and you live in another county, remember that you must comply with the procedures for the District Court in the county where you live.
The MN Judicial Branch does not publish every adoption form, and court staff cannot give legal advice, so we strongly encourage you to talk with an attorney licensed in Minnesota who has experience with adoptions.
Father's Adoption Registry
If you think you may be the father of a child born to a woman who is not your wife, but paternity has not yet been established by a Recognition of Parentage form or court order, you can register with the MN Father's Adoption Registry. The Registry makes it possible for you to be notified if a petition to adopt the child is filed in a Minnesota court. To register, you must do so no later than 30 days after the child's birth.
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