Adoption is a way to build a family and create a permanent and loving bond with a child. Everyone involved in an adoption brings something to that relationship. Children and their new families bring their personalities, their genetic makeup, their hopes and dreams, and some children bring with them a lifetime of rejection experiences. Because of the profound losses children experience, many adoption veterans state that any child who grows up separated from the family into which he/she was born is a child with special needs.
A child who joins a family through adoption has the same rights as any children born into that family, including the right to inheritance and the right to bear the family name. In the United States, a child’s adoption into a family must be approved by a court of law. The court issues a birth certificate for the child with the adoptive parent’s name listed as the child’s parent.
Adoptive parents need not have a high income, nor own a home. Adoptive parents may be single, married, or same sex partners. When adopting older children, there is generally no upper age limit placed on the adopting parents. Depending on the type of adoption they are pursuing, families may work with a public adoption agency or a private adoption agency. Infant and international adoption services are usually provided only by private adoption agencies.
RELATIVE ADOPTION – WHO MUST COMPLETE A HOMES STUDY As of August 1, 2012, an approved adoption home study must be completed before placing any child under guardianship of the commissioner in a home for the purpose of adoption. This is required even for children under guardianship of the commissioner being adopted by relatives.
Over the past years, the number of healthy infants waiting for adoption has decreased. In most cases, there are more than enough prospective adoptive parents waiting for the limited number of infants available for adoption. Adopting an infant can involve lengthy waits and hefty adoption-related fees. For more information on adopting an infant, contact a private adoption agency that specializes in such placements.
Adopting children from other countries is an alternative for prospective parents wishing to adopt an infant or very young children. International adoption services are provided by numerous private agencies. International adoption services are costly, and do not include adoption assistance. For more information about international adoption, contact a private adoption agency that specializes in such placements.
Adopting children with special needs from another state involves an interstate adoption contract. Generally the adoption assistance is provided through the child’s state or county of origin. For more information about interstate adoption, contact the Department of Human Services Adoption Interstate Compact Division. Procedures for interstate adoptions of healthy infants vary depending on the private agencies involved.
Special Needs Adoption
Many adoption professionals believe that any child who grows up separated from his or her family of origin has special needs. However, for the purposes of the Minnesota’s Waiting Children program, we define children with special needs to mean those children who have or are at risk of having physical, mental, emotional or behavioral disabilities that make it difficult for them to be adopted. Sibling groups who need to be placed in an adoptive home together are also considered to have special needs.
Many special needs are physical and can result from prenatal exposure to chemicals, genetic birth defects and early neglect or physical abuse. Emotional and behavioral special needs often result from neglect, sexual, or physical abuse, which are all usually accompanied by emotional abuse. Many behaviors of children with special needs are actually skills for coping and survival. These behaviors are often reasonable responses to unreasonable situations.
Individuals who are interested in adopting Minnesota’s Waiting Children must attend pre-adopt/foster parent training classes offered by one of the 87 Minnesota County Social/Human Service divisions or a private adoption agency that is part of the Public Private Adoption Initiative (PPAI). Call the training agency prior to attending to verify time, date, location and cost.
~ updated September 2015