Adopting a new family member is cause for celebration, but the legal path can often seem confusing and stressful. Learning a bit about what to expect can help you relax and prepare for welcoming a new member into your family.
No two families are exactly alike, and neither are two adoptions. Minnesota law covers a wide range of adoptions, including relative adoptions, step-parent adoptions, agency adoptions and private adoptions. Still, there's a general roadmap most adoptions in Minnesota follow. Here are some of the basic steps in the Minnesota adoption procedure:
- First, to adopt in Minnesota, you usually must have lived in the state for at least a year. (This period is shorter for relative adoptions.)
- You'll need to file a number of documents with the court, including a petition and proposed adoption decree.
- You'll undergo a background check and a home study. While one purpose of the home study is to evaluate your family's readiness to welcome and support a new member, it's also an opportunity for you to learn more and prepare for parenting your adopted child.
- After a child is placed in your home, it will still take typically three months to a year for a court to finalize the adoption, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
- Once a judge grants your adoption petition, the court will issue an adoption decree, finalizing the adoption. At this point, you will become the full legal parent(s) of your adopted child.
Although the process may seem time-consuming and difficult at times, it's important to remember that the process is designed to protect the best interests of children and ensure that their adoptive parents are ready to care for them as well as possible. Adoption attorneys and child-placing agencies can provide more information and help guide you through the detailed steps for your particular situation.