FAQs

Who Pays the Cost of an Adoption?
In Minnesota, the law requires that the adoptive family must pay certain expenses for birth parents. These include: • Legal fees for your lawyer. • Counseling charges before the birth and up to six months after. In addition, your adoptive family can help you with: • Any uninsured medical bills for the pregnancy and birth. • Necessary living expenses if you need help supporting yourself during the pregnancy and for up to 6 weeks after the birth.

What is Independent Adoption?
An Independent Adoption is one in which the adoptive parents and the birth parents plan their own adoption. There are no arbitrary agency rules or policies, which must be followed regardless of circumstances, so every independent adoption is unique. It is up to the birth parent and the adoptive parents to decide how they want their adoption to go.

How is an Independent Adoption different from an agency adoption?
In an Independent Adoption, the birth parent gives her legal rights to her child directly to the adoptive parents. This guarantees her that only the family she has chosen can adopt the child. If this family does not complete the adoption, the birth parent has the legal right to choose what happens next for the child. In an agency adoption, the birth parent gives her legal rights to her child to the agency. This means she has no legal guarantee that the family she has chosen will be the family to adopt the child. If the family she picked does not complete the adoption, the agency is not legally required to involve the birth parent in deciding on a new family.

Who decides which family will adopt a birth parent's child?
In an Independent Adoption, the birth parent chooses who she wants to adopt her child. The adoptive family can be anyone she knows or hears about or someone she chooses from the families working with Adoption Minnesota. There are no restrictions on who can be an adoptive parent. In an agency adoption, adoption agencies may limit who they will work with as adoptive families. Sometimes they limit families based on their religion, age, or how many children they already have.

Does the baby have to go into foster care after it is born?
In an Independent Adoption, the baby goes right home from the hospital with the adoptive family. However, if the birth parent is uncomfortable with that, the agency has families available to provide short-term care until she decides to move forward with the adoption. In an agency adoption, some agencies require that the baby go into foster care until the birth parents give up their rights to the agency. This can be a period of two weeks up to three months, depending on the agency.

How do adoptive parents or birth parents know what their legal rights are?
In an Independent Adoption, the birth parent and adoptive parents will each have their own attorneys. Each lawyer will explain the process to their client and make sure they understand what is happening at each step along the way. In an agency adoption, the birth parent does not usually have an attorney. The agency does the legal work to have the birth parent give her rights to them. Some agencies will even discourage adoptive parents from having an attorney to finalize the adoption.

How long does a birth parent have to change her mind about placing her baby with an adoptive family?
The birth mother can change her mind about placing her baby with an adoptive family until she signs a Consent to Adoption and it becomes final. She cannot sign the Consent to Adoption until 72 hours after the baby is born. Once she signs the Consent, she has 10 working days until it becomes final. Once the Consent is final, she cannot change her mind as to the adoptive family she has chosen adopting the child unless she could prove fraud was involved in getting her signature. However, if the adoptive family she has chosen cannot complete the adoption, the birth mother has all her legal rights to decide what happens next for her baby.

Does the birth father have to be involved in the adoption?
While it is a good idea to involve the birth father if he is at all willing, it is not required in an Independent Adoption unless he is married to the birth mother, has been adjudicated the father by a court, or is on the baby's birth certificate. In an agency adoption, the agency can require the birth father to be notified of the birth and adoption plan and to be involved in the adoption process. While this is not legally required, some agencies have policies that require birth mothers to name the birth father.

Does a birth parent get information about the child after the adoption?
In an Independent Adoption, the birth parent and adoptive family can make an agreement about exchanging future information. This can include having letters and pictures sent to the birth parent on a regular basis or even visits with the child. It also includes arrangements for exchanging any future medical information, which might be important for the adopted child or birth parent. In addition, Minnesota law requires notification of a terminal illness or death of either the child or the birth parent to the other party. In an agency adoption, it is up to the agency to decide what information the birth and adoptive families can exchange.

Can adoptive parents pay any expenses for a birth mother?
The adoptive family can help the birth mother by paying certain expenses for her. Minnesota law requires adoptive parents to pay for a birth mother's legal expenses and counseling charges. In addition, adoptive parents can pay for uninsured medical expenses related to the pregnancy and birth as well as necessary living expenses. All payments made by adoptive parents must be reported to the court.