Minnesota

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption [1]

No child shall be adopted without the consent of the child’s parents and the child’s guardian, if there be one.

If there is no parent or guardian qualified to consent to the adoption, the agency having authority to place a child for adoption shall have the exclusive right to consent to the adoption.

If an unmarried parent who consents to the adoption of a child is under age 18, the consent of the minor parent’s parents or guardian, if any, also shall be required. If either or both the parents are disqualified for any reason, the consent of such parent shall be waived, and the consent of the guardian only shall be sufficient. If there is neither a parent nor guardian qualified to give such consent, the consent may be given by the commissioner.

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd. 3

When the child to be adopted is age 14 or older, the child’s written consent also shall be necessary.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd. 1

Consent shall not be required of a parent:

  • Who is not entitled to notice of the proceedings
  • Who has abandoned the child
  • Who has lost custody of the child through a divorce decree or a decree of dissolution, and upon whom notice has been served as required by § 259.49
  • Whose parental rights to the child have been terminated or who has lost custody of a child through a final commitment of the juvenile court or through a decree in a prior adoption proceeding

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd. 2a

No sooner than 72 hours after the birth of a child and no later than 60 days after the child’s placement in a prospective adoptive home, a person whose consent is required under this section shall execute a consent.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd. 2, 5

The agency overseeing the adoption proceedings shall ensure that the minor parent is offered the opportunity to consult with an attorney, a member of the clergy, or a physician before consenting to adoption of the child.

All consents to an adoption shall be in writing, executed before two competent witnesses, and acknowledged by the consenting party.

All consents by a parent shall contain written notice:

Revocation of Consent Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd.6a

A parent’s consent to adoption may be withdrawn for any reason within 10 working days after the consent is executed and acknowledged. Written notification of withdrawal of consent must be received by the agency to which the child was surrendered, the agency supervising the adoptive placement, or the district court of residence in the case of adoption by a stepparent or any adoption not involving agency placement or supervision, no later than the 10th working day after the consent is executed and acknowledged. On the day following the 10th working day after execution and acknowledgment, the consent shall become irrevocable except upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction after written findings that consent was obtained by fraud.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Ann. Stat. §§ 245C.08, subd. 1 & 2; 245C.15

A background study shall review:

  • Records of substantiated perpetrators of maltreatment of vulnerable adults
  • Records relating to the maltreatment of minors in licensed programs
  • Information from juvenile courts, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the National Crime Information Center

A background study for a child foster care application for licensure also shall review:

  • The child abuse and neglect registry for any State in which the individual has resided during the past 5 years
  • Information from national crime information databases for any individual age 18 or older

Applicants can be permanently disqualified if they have been convicted of murder, manslaughter, spousal abuse, child abuse or neglect, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, criminal sexual conduct, arson, drive-by shooting, harassment, or stalking.

Applicants are disqualified if:

  • Less than 15 years have passed since the termination of his or her parental rights.
  • Less than 15 years have passed since they have committed a felony-level offense of wrongfully obtaining assistance, false representation, Federal food stamp program fraud, criminal vehicular homicide and injury, assault, criminal abuse or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, use of drugs to injure or facilitate crime, robbery, repeat offenses of criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree, medical assistance fraud, theft, identity theft, insurance or financial fraud, check forgery, weapons charges, indecent exposure, or a conviction involving alcohol or drug use.
  • Less than 10 years have passed since they committed a gross misdemeanor-level offense of any of the offenses listed above.
  • Less than 7 years have passed since they committed a misdemeanor-level violation of any of the offenses listed above.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Ann. Stat. §§ 245C.08, subd. 1; 259.41, subd. 1 & 3

An adoption background study shall include:

  • A check of the child abuse and neglect registry for any State in which the individual has resided for the past 5 years
  • Information from national crime information databases for any person age 18 or older

Each prospective adoptive parent must provide all addresses at which he or she and anyone in the household over age 13 has resided in the previous 5 years and disclose any names used previously.

The agency shall immediately initiate a background study on each person over age 13 living in the home. A home study used to consider placement of any child on whose behalf title IV-E adoption assistance payments are to be made must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction at any time for:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • A crime against children, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery

A home study must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction within the past 5 years for:

  • Physical assault or battery
  • A drug-related offense

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. §§ 260.012; 260C.301

The juvenile court may, upon petition, terminate all rights of a parent to a child if it finds that one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has substantially, continuously, or repeatedly refused or neglected to provide the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, and other care and control.
  • The parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child or financially aid in the child’s birth and has continuously failed to do so without good cause.
  • The parent is found to be unfit because he or she is unable, for the reasonably foreseeable future, to care appropriately for the ongoing physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child. A parent is presumed to be unfit if his or her parental rights to another child have been terminated involuntarily.
  • Following the child’s placement out of the home, reasonable efforts have failed to correct the conditions leading to the child’s placement.
  • The parent has failed two or more times to successfully complete a treatment program for chemical dependency.
  • The parent has subjected a child to egregious harm that is of a nature, duration, or chronicity that indicates a lack of regard for the child’s well-being.
  • An unwed birth father has failed to register with the fathers’ adoption registry.
  • The child is neglected and in foster care.
  • The parent has been convicted of a crime listed below:
    • Murder, manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon that results in serious bodily injury, or sexual abuse that was committed against the child or another child of the parent
    • An offense that requires registration as a predatory offender
  • The child is an abandoned infant.
  • The provision of services or further services for the purpose of reunification is futile and therefore unreasonable under the circumstances.

It is presumed that reasonable efforts have failed upon a showing that:

  • The parent has been diagnosed as chemically dependent by a professional certified to make the diagnosis.
  • The parent has been required by a case plan to participate in a chemical dependency treatment program.
  • The treatment programs offered to the parent were culturally, linguistically, and clinically appropriate.
  • The parent has either failed two or more times to successfully complete a treatment program or has refused at two or more separate meetings with a caseworker to participate in a treatment program.
  • The parent continues to abuse chemicals.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. § 260C.301, Subd. 3 and 4

The county attorney shall file a termination of parental rights petition within 30 days of a determination that a child has been subjected to egregious harm unless:

  • The county attorney files a petition for transfer of permanent legal and physical custody of the child to a relative, including a determination that the transfer is in the best interests of the child.
  • The responsible social services agency has documented in the case plan a compelling reason why filing a termination of parental rights petition would not be in the best interests of the child.

A termination of parental rights petition shall be filed when a child has been in out-of-home care for 15 of the most recent 22 months unless:

  • There is a compelling reason approved by the court for determining that filing a termination of parental rights petition would not be in the best interests of the child.
  • The responsible social services agency has not provided reasonable efforts necessary for the safe return of the child, if reasonable efforts are required.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

The background study must be completed on each person older than age 13 living in the home. The required background study must be completed as part of the home study.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

The study and report shall be completed by a licensed child-placing agency and must be thorough and comprehensive.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Admin. Code R. 9560.0140

When determining the suitability of prospective adoptive parents, the child-placing agency shall consider at a minimum the following:

  • The applicant shall be motivated to meet the child’s needs, emotionally mature with healthy interpersonal relationships, in good physical and mental health, and able to adequately support and parent a child in a healthy and emotionally secure environment.
  • The applicant shall have the capacity to accept and incorporate into the family a child born to other parents and to assist the child in understanding the child’s genetic background and adoption.
  • The applicant must not be delayed or denied the opportunity to adopt based on the race, color, or national origin of the applicant or the child involved.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.41; 245C.33

The adoption study must include at least one in-home visit with the prospective adoptive parent. At a minimum, the study must document the following information about the prospective adoptive parent:

  • A background study that includes:
    • An assessment of the data and information provided by § 245C.33(4) to determine if the prospective adoptive parent and any other person older than age 13 living in the home has a felony conviction consistent with 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(2)
    • An assessment of the effect of any conviction or finding of substantiated maltreatment on the capacity of the prospective adoptive parent to safely care for and parent a child
  • A medical and social history and assessment of current health
  • An assessment of potential parenting skills
  • An assessment of ability to provide adequate financial support for a child
  • An assessment of the level of knowledge and awareness of adoption issues including, where appropriate, matters relating to interracial, cross-cultural, and special needs adoptions

The adoption study is the basis for completion of a written report. The report must be in a format specified by the commissioner and must contain recommendations regarding the suitability of the subject of the study to be an adoptive parent.

The commissioner shall review the following information regarding the background study subject:

  • Information from the child abuse and neglect registry for any State in which the subject has resided for the past 5 years
  • Information from State and national crime information databases

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

A home study must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction at any time for:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • A crime against children, including child pornography
  • A crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery

A home study must not be approved if a background study reveals a felony conviction within the past 5 years for physical assault or battery or a drug-related offense.

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

An approved adoption study, completed background study, and written report must be completed before the child is placed in a prospective adoptive home. In an agency placement, the report must be filed with the court at the time the adoption petition is filed. In a direct adoptive placement, the report must be filed with the court in support of a motion for temporary preadoptive custody.

An agency may update an adoption study and report as needed, regardless of when the original study and report or most recent update was completed. An adoption study is valid if the report has been completed or updated within the previous 12 months.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.53

Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the court shall immediately refer the petition to an agency for completion of a postplacement assessment and report.

The agency to which the petition has been referred shall conduct a postplacement assessment and file a report with the court within 90 days of receipt of a copy of the adoption petition. The assessment and report must evaluate the environment and antecedents of the child to be adopted, the home of the petitioners, and whether placement with the petitioners meets the needs of the child. The report must include a recommendation to the court as to whether the petition should or should not be granted.

In making evaluations and recommendations, the postplacement assessment and report must at least address the following:

  • The level of adaptation by the prospective adoptive parents to parenting the child
  • The health and well-being of the child in the prospective adoptive parents’ home
  • The level of incorporation by the child into the prospective adoptive parents’ home, extended family, and community
  • The level of inclusion of the child’s previous history into the prospective adoptive home, such as cultural or ethnic practices, or contact with former foster parents or biological relatives

No petition shall be granted until the child has lived for 3 months in the proposed home, subject to a right of visitation by the commissioner or an agency or their authorized representatives.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.41; 259.53

Placement for adoption with an individual who is related to the child is subject to a background study. In the case of a stepparent adoption, a background study must be completed on the stepparent and any children, except that a child of the stepparent does not need to have a background study completed if he or she is a sibling through birth or adoption of the person being adopted.

The required investigation and period of residence may be waived by the court when the petition for adoption is submitted by a stepparent.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260.851; Admin. Code R. 9560.0150

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

In regulation: No child may be brought into or sent out of Minnesota for adoptive placement into a nonrelative’s home unless one of the following conditions is met:

  • The commissioner, as State administrator of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, issues written approval for the importation or exportation pursuant to the requirements of that compact.
  • The commissioner has, in situations that do not involve the compact, issued a written consent to importation or exportation of the child, pursuant to applicable State law.

The commissioner shall not issue consent or approval for the movement of a child across State lines if the proposed placement is planned or made by an unlicensed third party.

The commissioner, upon receipt of all required documentation, shall issue consent or approval for importation when:

  • An authorized child-placing agency in the sending State has adoptive planning rights to the child and requests the importation into Minnesota.
  • A family plans to move to Minnesota and has a child placed with them according to the laws of the other State.

The documents required for the commissioner’s consent and approval are:

  • An authorized child-placing agency’s written confirmation that the family is approved for adoptive placement
  • A document that identifies the child, the child’s birth date, birthplace, and parentage
  • Legal documents that demonstrate that the child has been properly released for adoption

Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.41

In the case of a licensed foster parent seeking to adopt a child who is in the foster parent(s)’ care, any portions of the foster care licensing process that duplicate requirements of the adoption home study may be submitted in satisfaction of the relevant requirements of this section.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 145.902; 609.3785

A newborn may be relinquished provided that:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the hospital, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.139, Subd. 3

A mother or any person with the mother’s permission may bring a newborn infant to a safe place during its hours of operation and leave the infant in the care of an employee of the safe place. The mother or a person with the mother’s permission may call 911 to request to have an ambulance dispatched to an agreed-upon location to relinquish a newborn infant into the custody of ambulance personnel.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

The infant may be left at a safe place. The term ‘safe place’ includes a licensed hospital, a health-care provider who provides urgent care medical services, or a licensed ambulance service dispatched in response to a 911 call from a mother or a person with the mother’s permission to relinquish a newborn infant.

A safe place shall receive a newborn left with an employee on the premises of the safe place during its hours of operation provided that:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the safe place, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

A safe place that is a health-care provider who provides urgent care medical services shall dial 911, advise the dispatcher that the call is being made from a safe place for newborns, and ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance or take other appropriate action to transport the newborn to a hospital. An ambulance with whom a newborn is left shall transport the newborn to a hospital for care.

Within 24 hours of receiving a newborn under this section, the hospital must inform the responsible social service agency that a newborn has been left at the hospital but must not do so in the presence of the mother or the person leaving the newborn. The hospital must provide necessary care to the newborn pending assumption of legal responsibility by the responsible social services agency.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 145.902

A safe place with responsibility for performing duties under this section, and any employee, doctor, ambulance personnel, or other medical professional working at the safe place, are immune from any criminal liability that otherwise might result from their actions if they are acting in good faith in receiving a newborn, and are immune from any civil liability that otherwise might result from merely receiving a newborn.

A safe place performing duties under this section or an employee, doctor, ambulance personnel, or other medical professional working at the safe place who is a mandated reporter under § 626.556, is immune from any criminal or civil liability that otherwise might result from the failure to make a report under that section if the person is acting in good faith in complying with this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 145.902; 609.3785

The safe place must not inquire as to the identity of the mother or the person leaving the newborn or call the police provided the newborn is unharmed when presented to the hospital. The safe place may ask the mother or the person leaving the newborn about the medical history of the mother or newborn but the mother or the person leaving the newborn is not required to provide any information. The safe place may provide the mother or the person leaving the newborn with information about how to contact relevant social service agencies.

A person may leave a newborn with an employee at a safe place without being subjected to prosecution for that act, provided that:

  • The newborn was born within 7 days of being left at the safe place, as determined within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
  • The newborn is left in an unharmed condition.
  • In cases where the person leaving the newborn is not the newborn’s mother, the person has the mother’s approval to do so.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Stat. § 260C.139

A responsible social service agency with responsibility for the child is not required to attempt to reunify the child with the child’s parents. Additionally, the agency is not required to search for relatives of the child as a placement or permanency option or to implement other placement requirements that give a preference to relatives if the agency does not have information as to the identity of the child, the child’s mother, or the child’s father.

For purposes of proceedings under this chapter and adoption proceedings, a newborn left at a safe place is considered an abandoned child.

The agency contacted by a safe place shall have the legal responsibility to place the newborn infant in foster care for 72 hours, during which time the agency shall file a petition under § 260C.141 and ask the court to order continued placement of the child in foster care. The agency shall immediately begin planning for adoptive placement of the newborn.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.55, Subd. 1

A prospective adoptive parent or anyone acting on behalf of a prospective adoptive parent may pay only the following expenses of the birth parent:

  • Reasonable counseling, medical, and legal fees, which shall be paid directly to the provider of the service
  • Reasonable expenses for transportation, meals, and lodging incurred for placement of the child or to access permitted services
  • Adoption services provided by an agency at the request of the birth parent that shall be paid directly to the agency
  • Reasonable living expenses of the birth mother that are needed to maintain an adequate standard of living that the birth mother is unable to otherwise maintain because of loss of income or other support resulting from the pregnancy

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.55, Subd. 1

Payments for living expenses shall not extend beyond 6 weeks after delivery, unless the court determines that the mother is unable to work due to physical limitations relating to the birth. ‘Reasonable living expenses’ does not include lost wages, gifts, educational expenses, or other similar expenses of the birth mother.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.55, Subd. 3(b)

A person may not give money or anything of value to the birth parent if the person is engaged or has engaged in any placement activity.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.55

A contract purporting to require a birth parent to reimburse a prospective adoptive parent for expense payments under any circumstances, including circumstances in which a birth parent refuses to consent to adoption or withdraws consent to adoption, is void as against public policy.

Except as authorized above, it is unlawful for an individual to give or for a birth parent to accept money, anything of value, or compensation for the placement of a child for adoption.

Payment shall not be contingent upon placement, consent, or cooperation in the completion of an adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Ann. Stat. § 317A.907, Subd. 6

A licensed agency may receive payment for expenses related to adoption services in an amount that fairly reflects the agency’s reasonable and necessary expenses of:

  • Adoptive counseling, whether or not legal adoption is completed
  • Provision of services to children before adoptive placement
  • Supervision of children in the home until legal adoption is completed
  • Expenses of a birth parent authorized under § 259.55 if they are paid to the agency to forward to the birth parent

Only that part of the expenses that the person seeking to adopt is financially able to meet may be requested. No person may be barred from receiving a child for adoption because of inability to pay part of the expenses referred to in this subdivision.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Ann. Stat. §§ 257.52; 257.55

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and the child’s biological or adoptive parents on which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. It includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

A man is presumed to be the biological father of a child if:

  • He and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage, or within 280 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage, or within 280 days after its termination.
    • If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 280 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child’s birth, he and the child’s biological mother have married, or attempted to marry, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth record.
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • While the child is under the age of majority, he receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his biological child.
  • He and the child’s mother acknowledge his paternity of the child in a writing signed by both of them and filed with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Paternity Registry Ann. Stat. § 259.52

The Commissioner of Health shall establish a fathers’ adoption registry for the purpose of determining the identity and location of a putative father interested in a minor child who is, or is expected to be, the subject of an adoption proceeding, in order to provide notice of the adoption proceeding to the putative father who is not otherwise entitled to notice.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Ann. Stat. § 257.57

A child, the child’s biological mother, or a man presumed to be the child’s father may bring an action:

  • At any time for the purpose of declaring the existence of the father and child relationship
  • For the purpose of declaring the nonexistence of the father and child relationship, only if the action is brought within 2 years after the person bringing the action has reason to believe that the presumed father is not the father of the child, but in no event later than 3 years after the child’s birth

The child, the mother, or personal representative of the child, the public authority chargeable by law with the support of the child, or a man alleged or alleging himself to be the father may bring an action for the purpose of declaring the nonexistence of the father and child relationship if the action is brought:

  • Within 6 months after the person bringing the action obtains the results of blood or genetic tests that indicate that the presumed father is not the father of the child
  • Within 3 years after the party bringing the action has been provided the blood or genetic test results
  • By the minor signatory within 6 months after the minor signatory reaches age 18

If the child has been adopted, an action may not be brought.

Required Information Ann. Stat. § 259.52

The fathers’ adoption registry must contain the following information:

  • With respect to the putative father:
    • His name, including any other names by which he may be known
    • The address at which he may be served with notice of a petition, including any change of address
    • His Social Security number, if known
    • His date of birth
    • If applicable, a certified copy of an order by a court of another State or territory of the United States adjudicating the putative father to be the father of this child
  • With respect to the mother of the child:
    • Her name, including all other names known to the putative father by which the mother may be known
    • If known to the putative father, her last address
    • Her Social Security number, if known
    • Her date of birth
  • If known to the putative father, the name, gender, place of birth, and date of birth or anticipated date of birth of the child
  • The date that the Commissioner of Health received the putative father’s registration
  • Other information the Commissioner of Health determines by rule to be necessary for the orderly administration of the registry

Revocation of Claim to Paternity

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Access to Information Ann. Stat. § 259.52

The Commissioner of Health shall notify the mother of the child whenever a putative father has registered with the father’s adoption registry. Notice shall be sent to the name and address submitted by the putative father.

Data in the fathers’ adoption registry, including all data provided in requesting the search of the registry, are private data on individuals and are nonpublic data. Data in the registry may be released to:

  • A person who is required to search the registry if the data relate to the child who is or may be the subject of the adoption petition
  • The mother of the child listed on the putative father’s registration form
  • A public authority responsible for child support enforcement
  • An attorney who has signed an affidavit from the Commissioner of Health attesting that the attorney represents the birth mother or the prospective adoptive parents

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.21; 259.47; 259.55, Subd. 3; 260.93

It is unlawful for a person, other than the commissioner or an agency, knowingly to engage in placement activities without being licensed by the commissioner, except for the placement of a child by a birth parent or legal guardian in a preadoptive home. Placement activities include:

  • Placement
  • Arranging or providing short-term foster care pending an adoptive placement
  • Facilitating placement by maintaining a list in any form of birth parents or prospective adoptive parents
  • Collecting health and social histories of a birth family
  • Conducting an adoption study
  • Witnessing consents to an adoption

It is unlawful for any person to give money or anything of value to the birth parent of a child if the person is engaged or has engaged in any placement activity in connection with the adoption of the child.

A private child-placing agency is any private corporation, agency, foundation, institution, or charitable organization, or any private person or attorney, that facilitates, causes, or is involved in the placement of a child from one State to another and is not an instrumentality of the State or acting under State law.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.22

Any person who has resided in the State for at least 1 year may adopt. The court may waive any residence requirement if the petitioner is an individual who is related to the child, a member of a child’s extended family, or important friends with whom the child has resided or had significant contact.

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.22

Any child or adult may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.22; 259.47

A child must be placed by the Commissioner of Human Services, the commissioner’s agent, or a licensed child-placing agency. An exception may be made if:

  • The child is age 14 or older.
  • The child is sought to be adopted by an individual who is related to the child.
  • The child has been lawfully placed under the laws of another State while the child and petitioner resided in that other State.
  • The court waives the requirement in the best interests of the child or petitioners.
  • The child has been lawfully placed by a parent or guardian in a direct placement.

Direct placement by a parent or guardian must be approved by the court and an adoption study must be completed.

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.83; 259.89

Nonidentifying information may be provided to:

Identifying information may be provided to:

  • The adopted person who is age 19 or older
  • The birth parents
  • Adult genetic siblings, if disclosure does not violate the confidentiality of the birth parents or if they give consent

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.83

For adoptions finalized on or after August 1, 1994, the adopted person, if age 19 or older, or the adoptive parent may receive the detailed medical and social history that was provided at the time of the adoption. In addition, the adult adopted person or the adoptive parent may request the agency to contact the birth parents to request current nonidentifying social and medical history of the adopted person’s birth family.

When the agency receives information about a medical or genetic condition that has affected or may affect the physical or mental health of genetically related persons, the agency shall make a diligent effort to contact those persons in order to transmit the health information.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.83; 259.89

Agencies shall provide assistance and counseling services when the adoptive parents, birth parents, or adopted person who is age 19 or older request current information. The agency shall contact the other adult persons or the adoptive parents of a minor child in a personal and confidential manner to determine whether there is a desire to share information or to have contact. The agency shall provide services to adult genetic siblings if there is no known violation of the confidentiality of a birth parent or if the birth parent gives written consent. The adopted person also must be advised of other siblings who were adopted or relinquished to the commissioner but not adopted.

In adoptive placements made on and after August 1, 1982, the agency shall obtain from the birth parents an affidavit attesting that:

  • The birth parent has been informed of the right of the adopted person at age 19 to request the name, last known address, birth date, and birthplace of the birth parents named on the original birth record.
  • Each birth parent may file an affidavit objecting to the release of information about that birth parent, and that parent only, to the adopted person.
  • If the birth parent does not file an affidavit objecting to release of information before the adopted person reaches age 19, the information will be released upon request.
  • Notwithstanding the filing of an affidavit, the adopted person may petition the court for release of identifying information about a birth parent.
  • The birth parent shall then have the opportunity to present evidence to the court that nondisclosure of identifying information is of greater benefit to the birth parent than disclosure to the adopted person.
  • Any objection filed by the birth parent shall become invalid when withdrawn by the birth parent or when the birth parent dies.

Upon receipt of a death record for the birth parent, the agency shall release the identifying information to the adopted person if requested.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.89

An adopted person who is age 19 or older may request the Commissioner of Health to disclose the information on his or her original birth record. Within 5 days, the commissioner shall notify the Department of Human Services or child-placing agency of the request. Within 6 months after receiving the request, the department or agency shall make reasonable efforts to notify each birth parent.

If the department is unable to notify a parent identified on the original birth record within 6 months, and if neither parent has at any time filed an unrevoked consent to disclosure, the information may be disclosed as follows:

  • If the person was adopted prior to August 1, 1977, he or she may petition the court for disclosure, and the court shall grant the petition if, after consideration of the interests of all known persons involved, the court determines that disclosure of the information would be of greater benefit than nondisclosure.
  • If the person was adopted on or after August 1, 1977, the commissioner shall release the information to the adopted person.

If either birth parent has ever filed with the commissioner an unrevoked affidavit stating that the information on the original birth record should not be disclosed, the commissioner shall not disclose the information until the affidavit is revoked by the filing of a consent to disclosure by that parent.

If a parent named on the original birth record has died, and at any time prior to the death the parent has filed an unrevoked affidavit stating that the information not be disclosed, the adopted person may petition the court of original jurisdiction of the adoption proceeding for disclosure.

The State Registrar shall provide a copy of an adopted person’s original birth record to an authorized representative of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe for the sole purpose of determining the adopted person’s eligibility for enrollment or membership in the Tribe.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Adoption Archive, Minnesota Department of Human Services

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.59

The birth parents shall be relieved of all parental responsibilities and shall not have any rights over the adopted person or the adopted person’s property.

The child shall not owe the birth parents or their relatives any legal duty, nor shall the child inherit from the birth parents or their family, except that the adoption of a child by a stepparent shall not in any way change the status of the relationship between the child and the child’s birth parent who is the spouse of the petitioning stepparent.

If a parent dies and a child is subsequently adopted by a stepparent who is the spouse of a surviving parent, any rights of inheritance of the child or the child’s issue from or through the deceased parent of the child that existed at the time of the death of that parent shall not be affected by the adoption.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.59

By virtue of the adoption, the adopted person shall inherit from the adoptive parent(s) or their relatives as though the adopted person were the birth child of the adoptive parent(s).

If the adopted person dies intestate, the adoptive parent(s) and their relatives shall inherit the adopted person’s estate.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 524.2-302; 524.2.705

If a testator’s will fails to provide for any child who was adopted after the execution of the will, the omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate as follows:

  • If the testator had no child living when the will was executed, an omitted after-adopted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received had the testator died intestate, unless the will gave all or substantially all the estate to the other parent of the omitted child and that other parent survives the testator and is entitled to inherit under the will.
  • If the testator had one or more children living when the will was executed, and the will gave property or an interest in property to one or more of the then-living children, an omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share in the testator’s estate as follows:
    • The portion of the estate in which the omitted after-adopted child is entitled to share is limited to bequests made to the testator’s then-living children under the will.
    • The omitted after-adopted child is entitled to receive the share of the estate, as limited above, that the child would have received had the testator included all omitted after-born and after-adopted children with the children to whom bequests were made under the will and had given an equal share of the estate to each child.

The above does not apply if:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • The testator provided for the after-adopted child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted persons and their respective descendants, if appropriate to the class, are included in class gifts and other terms of relationship in accordance with the rules for intestate succession.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. § 259.58

Adoptive parents and a birth relative or foster parents may enter an agreement regarding communication, contact, or visitation with or between a minor adoptee, adoptive parents, and a birth relative or foster parents.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement? Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement may be entered between:

For purposes of this section, ‘birth relative’ means a parent, stepparent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, or aunt of a minor adoptee. This relationship may be by blood, adoption, or marriage. For an Indian child, birth relative includes members of the extended family as defined by the law or custom of the Indian child’s Tribe or, in the absence of laws or custom, nieces, nephews, or first or second cousins, as provided in the Indian Child Welfare Act.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement regarding communication with or contact between minor adoptee, adoptive parents, and a birth relative is not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.

An order may be sought at any time before a decree of adoption is granted. The order must be issued within 30 days of being submitted to the court or by the granting of the decree of adoption, whichever is earlier.

The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the terms of the order have been approved in writing by the prospective adoptive parents, a birth relative, or foster parent who desires to be a party to the agreement, and, if the child is in the custody of or under the guardianship of an agency, a representative of the agency.

A birth parent must approve in writing an agreement between adoptive parents and any other birth relative or foster parent, unless an action has been filed against the birth parent by a county under chapter 260.

An agreement under this section need not disclose the identity of the parties to be legally enforceable.

The court shall not enter a proposed order unless the court finds that the communication or contact between the minor adoptee, the adoptive parents, and a birth relative as agreed upon and contained in the proposed order would be in the minor adoptee’s best interests.

Are agreements legally enforceable? Ann. Stat. § 259.58

An agreement regarding communication with or contact between minor adoptees, adoptive parents, and a birth relative is not legally enforceable unless the terms of the agreement are contained in a written court order entered in accordance with this section.

An agreed order entered under this section may be enforced by filing a petition or motion with the family court that includes a certified copy of the order granting the communication, contact, or visitation, but only if the petition or motion is accompanied by an affidavit that the parties have mediated or attempted to mediate any dispute under the agreement or that the parties agree to a proposed modification. The prevailing party may be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

Failure to comply with the terms of an agreed order regarding communication or contact that has been entered by the court under this section is not grounds for:

How may an agreement be terminated or modified? Ann. Stat. § 259.58

The court shall not modify an agreed order unless it finds that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the minor adoptee, and:

  • The modification is agreed to by the parties to the agreement.
  • Exceptional circumstances have arisen since the agreement order was entered that justify modification of the order.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Ann. Stat. § 259.60, Subd. 1

The adoption of a child by a resident of this State under the laws of a foreign country is valid and binding under the laws of this State 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. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

Ann. Stat. § 259.60, Subd. 2 & 3

A person, whose adoption of a child under the laws of a foreign country is valid in this State, may petition the district court in the county where the adoptive parent resides for a decree confirming and recognizing the adoption, changing the child’s legal name, if requested in the petition, and authorizing the Commissioner of Health to issue a new birth record for the child.

A court shall issue the decree upon receipt of the following documents:

  • A petition by the adoptive parent stating that he or she completed adoption of the child under the laws of a foreign country and that the adoption is valid in this State and requesting that the court issue a decree confirming and recognizing the adoption, changing the child’s legal name, if desired, and authorizing the Commissioner of Health to issue a new birth record for the child
  • A copy of the child's original birth record, 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
  • Certified English translations of any of the documents listed above that are not written in English

If a child is adopted by a resident of this State under the laws of a foreign country or if a resident of this State brings a child into the State under an IR-3 or IR-4 visa issued for the child by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the postadoption reporting requirements of the country in which the child was adopted, applicable at the time of the child’s adoption, must be given full faith and credit by the courts of this State and apply to the adoptive placement of that child.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Ann. Stat. § 144.218(2)

In proceedings for the adoption of a person who was born in a foreign country, the court, upon evidence presented by the Commissioner of Human Services from information secured at the port of entry or upon evidence from other reliable sources, may make findings of fact as to the date and place of birth and parentage. Upon receipt of certified copies of the court findings and the order or decree of adoption, a certificate of adoption, or a certified copy of a decree issued under § 259.60, the State Registrar shall register a birth record in the new name of the adoptee.

The certified copies of the court findings and the order or decree of adoption, certificate of adoption, or decree issued under § 259.60 are confidential and shall not be disclosed except pursuant to court order or § 144.2252. The birth record shall state the place of birth as specifically as possible and that the vital record is not evidence of U.S. citizenship.

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References

  1. Citation: Ann. Stat. § 259.24, Subd. 1, 2