Adoption

Adoption is a way of forming a legal parent-child relationship. Because the adoption makes a new parent(s) legally responsible for the child’s physical, material and emotional well-being, the law requires prospective parents to meet certain requirements.

If you’re considering adopting a child, you need an attorney who has the best interests of children and families at heart. My law practice is a child focused law practice. I take great joy and pride in helping children find loving environments in which they and their new parents can flourish.  Preparation and informed planning is crucial in your interactions with the people involved in the process including the adoption agencies, birth parents and the court. As your adoption attorney, I can assist you with advice and counsel in this wondrous process:

Various Types of Adoptions

  • Direct placement adoption

  • Agency adoption

  • International adoption

  • Step parent adoption

  • Co-parent adoption

  • Relative adoption

Significant Considerations

  • Birth parent representation

  • Termination of parental rights

  • Interstate compact compliance

  • Indian Child Welfare Act

  • “Open” and “Closed” adoptions

Financial Considerations for Adopting Families

Cost 

The expenses associated with adopting vary according to the type of adoption you pursue and where your child is from. Such expenses can include application fees, the cost of the social worker's home study, court costs, birthparent counseling, adoptive parent training, prenatal and delivery medical expenses, foster care fees, orphanage donations, foreign fees, and travel costs. Many adoption attorneys will tell you that the general ballpark estimate of your total adoption cost is $10,000 to $25,000.

Potential Sources of Assistance

Many employers provide their employees with adoption benefits. If you work for a large company you might be eligible to receive adoption assistance of up to several thousand dollars. Some employers provide this assistance as a cash bonus; others view it as reimbursement for expenses incurred in the adoption process.

In addition, the law requires that most employers give you leave from work when you first adopt so that you can stay home to care for the child. Your company might provide paid leave to care for your newly adopted child, just like it provides maternity leave for the employee who has just given birth.

If your employer does not yet have a program to provide some kind of adoption assistance, you might consider asking for such benefits. Adoption attorneys and other adoption professionals can give you advice about how to raise this topic with your employer. Adoption benefits are valuable to the company as well as its employees.

Subsidies and/or Financial Assistance  

Governments may provide grants, subsidies and/or financial assistance for persons wanting to adopt. Especially in cases of older children or special needs children. Many adoption organizations offer adoption grants and low-interest loans to help families fund an adoption. Usually there are certain criteria the family must meet to be eligible for a grant or loan. Often the grants and loans are only available to fund a certain type of adoption, such as adoption of a child with special needs. If you are considering adopting a child with special needs, you also might be eligible for a special adoption subsidy from the agency that places the child.

For further information and examples, see The Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN). In Minnesota adoption assistance (also called adoption subsidy) is a program that makes adoption possible for children with special needs. The Department of Human Services defines children with special needs as children who have, or who are at high risk of having physical, emotional or behavioral disabilities that make it difficult for them to be adopted. Children who are siblings and who need to be placed together in the same home are also referred to as children with special needs. Many children who receive adoption assistance have been neglected or abused and many of them have medical issues. The Adoption Assistance Program reimburses families for the cost of non-medical items and provides adoptive parents with the resources to help them get the services and support necessary to meet their child's special needs. Families may also receive monthly financial assistance or Medical Assistance.

Detailed information regarding the Adoption Assistance program is published by the Department of Human Services.  Download it here or call 651-215-9413.

Tax Benefits

As of 2004, the Federal Adoption Expense Tax Credit increased to up to $10,390 per adoption, as long as the family's modified adjusted gross income is under $155,860. This Tax Credit is not a deduction, but an actual credit against your tax liability. That means if you owe $15,000 in taxes, you can deduct $10,390 from that amount for the tax year you adopt your child. In addition to the federal tax credit, some states also have a tax credit for the adoptive family.  

Additional Adoption Related Resource Links

These resources and Internet sites provide both legal information for adoption professionals and general information about adoption for the public. Most sites contain articles, news, and links to other sources. They can assist families in the information-gathering stage of their adoption journey to better understand the issues involved. For further information, contact an adoption attorney for specific advice and guidance.

General Adoption Information

  • Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Educates the public about adoption through foster care.
  • North American Council on Adoptable Children Advocate for adoption through foster care.
  • Adoption.com Virtual resource of adoption services, products, professionals and news.
  • National Adoption Information Clearinghouse Under a division of the Department of Health & Human Services, a resource of information on all aspects of adoption.
  • AdoptNet Offers on-line adoption information and support services.
  • The Adoption Guide Advocacy group for adoption families.
  • Minnesota Adoption Support and Preservation (MN ASAP):
  • MN ASAP Parental support organizes groups to help families work through the difficult transition period of building a new family. There are a variety of groups to fit any family's needs.

  • MN ASAP Youth support Children may have a difficult transition, which can be eased by talking to other kids in their situation. There are a variety of support groups in order to cater to each child's needs. Kids are able to get support from each other and develop valuable relationships with their families and other kids. For a list of children's support groups click

  • Our Voices Matter In the Our Voices Matter (OVM) Group, youth whose lives have been affected by foster care and adoption come together to support and encourage each other and to advocate for systematic changes. OVM youth can be seen statewide sharing their insights and perspectives as a panel to education parents and professionals. Contact Our Voices Matter at 612-861-7114.
  • The Homecoming Project is a Minnesota Department of Human Services project to increase the number of adoptions of adolescents who are under state guardianship in Minnesota . The Minnesota Department of Human Services is contracting with the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN) to provide these services. This demonstration project, funded by a federal Adoption Opportunities and Activities Grant with additional funding from The Dave Thomas Foundation, provides an opportunity to expand efforts to recruit permanent families for teenagers.

Adoption Financial Assistance and Related Programs

  • A Child Waits Foundation Offers loans and grants to adoptive parents adopting internationally.
  • National Adoption Foundation Offers grants to adoptive parents on a quarterly basis as well as low interest, unsecured loans.
  • MBNA Bank Offers low interest, unsecured loans to adoptive parents as well as a credit card. 1-888-627-8767
  • Waiting Child Loan Fund No interest loans of up to $5,000 for children adopted with special needs through WACAP.
  • China Care Foundation Offers grants and loans to adoptive parents adopting children from China .
  • The Adoption Option Committee, Inc.  The Adoption Option Committee, Inc. is committed to promoting adoption as a selected outcome for unplanned pregnancies. There are specific rules regarding the types of payments a birth mother may receive from adoptive parents. A local non-profit agency recognizes the needs of birth mothers do not end when the adoption occurs. This unique organization issues grants to mothers who have made adoption plans for their children.
  • The Gift of Adoption Fund  The Gift of Adoption Fund helps families turn their dream of adoption into a reality when they otherwise could not afford to adopt.
  • Fundraising for Adoption is a listserve for families who are planning to adopt. It suggests many new ways to save for adoptions by using various frugal methods like cutting expenses, working extra, and saving all bonus and tax checks.

Public Policy and Advocacy Groups re Adoption

  • The Adoption Option Committee, Inc.   The Adoption Option Committee, Inc. is committed to promoting adoption as a selected outcome for unplanned pregnancies. There are specific rules regarding the types of payments a birth mother may receive from adoptive parents. A local non-profit agency recognizes the needs of birth mothers do not end when the adoption occurs. This unique organization issues grants to mothers who have made adoption plans for their children.

  • The American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law works to improve children's lives by advances in law, knowledge, justice, practice, and public policy. Its Website provides articles and other resources for the legal community interested in children's issues.

  • National Adoption Information Clearinghouse provides information on all aspects of adoption. It is a service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

  • Adoption.com is an organization that has had extensive experience with adoption. Adoption.com websites have been built with experience that includes adoptive parenting, foster parenting, adoption search, social work, unplanned pregnancy, and practicing adoption law for more than 20 years.

  • At National Center for Adoption Law & Policy (at Capital University Law School ) the mission is to improve the laws associated with child protection and adoption systems. The site contains news and information for adoption professionals and those interested in adoption and child protection.

  • Adoptive Families magazine’s website is an information source for families before, during, and after adoption.

  • The North American Council on Adoptable Children states that it is committed to meeting the needs of waiting children and the families who adopt them. The site provides information specific to foster children and adopting from the foster system.

  • The Legal Information Institute’s site contains legal information about adoption

Significant Laws Applying to Minnesota Adoptions

When you retain an adoption attorney, your adoption attorney will guide you as to how these apply to your situation.

STATUTE

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION

 

STATUTE

SUMMARY DESCRIPTION

257.02

Surrender of parental rights

 

259.29

Relative Placement

257C.08

Subd. 3a. Grandparent visitation with an adopted child

 

259.41

Adoption study

257.03

Notice to commissioner of human services

 

259.47

Direct adoptive placement

257.05

Importation

 

259.52

Putative fathers’ adoption registry

257.06

Exportation

 

259.59

Effect of adoption

257.0651

Compliance with Indian Child Welfare Act

 

259.60

Inter-county Adoptions

257.74

Adoption; termination proceedings

 

259.79

Adoption Records

259.21

Terms

 

259.89

Access to birth certificate

259.22

Petition

 

260.51

Interstate Compact

259.24

Consents

 

25 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.

Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA)

 

   

 

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