Minnesota at its finest! Do you live in Minnesota, are pregnant, and are giving serious consideration about putting your baby up for adoption? Or, are you prospective adoptive parents who want to adopt in Minnesota but do not know all there is to do there during the long adoption process if you must stay a while? You will want to see some of the attractions you can experience in this great state you are in. There is something for everyone from indoor enthusiasts to outdoorsy persons. According to midwestliving.com, some of these places are:

  • Brainerd Lakes Area- You may enjoy all the fun things to do here— resorts that are both older and others that are modern and chic, shops, restaurants, hike the many trails, play golf, or have a relaxing time at the Glacial Waters Spa.
  • Northshore State Park- For the outdoor individuals, this could be a great place to spend some time as there are many trails, waterfalls, and other areas to explore. 
  • Retro Chic at Detroit- This is yet another splendid place to spend some time. Here, there are resorts that have been around for one hundred years or more. There are activities to experience such as water skiing lessons, flea markets, and an awesome county fair. 
  • Lanesboro’s Root River- This place has great trails for biking or hiking, including the42 mile Root River Trail and the 18 mile Harmony-Preston Trail. 
  • Grand Marais’ Art Scene- This could be great for the artistic enthusiast as you experience the creativity in the area and possibly consider taking a class from basket-weaving to building boats. You may also enjoy the theater scene while there. 

Now that we have looked at a few of the many activities you can take part in, let’s discuss the different aspects of the maze called adoption. 

Minnesota Adoption

What does adoption mean? As it states on Adoption.org, adoption means, “A child or baby being raised by parents that they are not related to; non-biological.” There is also foster adoption and kinship adoption, but for the purpose of this article we will use the definition given. 

Steps for the Birth Mother

Are you a mom who is overwhelmed with many mouths to feed and cannot fathom taking on one more? Do you suffer from addiction or alcohol issues and are afraid the state might take your child?Or are you a college student who does not know whether you can handle a large class load, homework, and more than likely working as well? Giving your baby a better life can be a selfless, heroic, and hopeful choice that you can make for him/her.

There are many steps that must be followed. The first being making the decision to place your baby for adoption. As I stated before, this will not be an easy one but it is the first step you must take on your journey. You will most likely experience all five aspects of the grieving process as you ponder the choice you want to make. As it states on Betterhelp.com, everyone encounters grief differently, they may not feel each stage in any particular order, and there is no time limit on how long each stage or even the whole process lasts. These stages are:

  • Denial and Isolation- This is the first of the stages. You may want to deny what is happening and might even blame others, including yourself for the predicament you find yourself in. During this stage, people tend to isolate themselves from loved ones, friends, and their support systems, not wanting to burden anyone with what is taking place or the decision you must make. 
  • Anger- Anger is often the most prevalent of the stages because you can feel it, then think you are over it forit to come back out of nowhere with a vengeance. You could find yourself angry at just about anyone you can level it at including yourself, the birth father, or your parents.
  • Bargaining- When you find out you are pregnant, you might plead with God or a higher power that you will do anything in exchange for them taking the decision away. If you look at it, giving your baby a better life could be the answer to the bargaining stage.
  • Depression- You may experience depression even during the denial and isolation stage because thinking of the choice you must make, whether to keep your baby, abort him/her, or give him/her a better opportunity than you can provide can make you more than sad. 
  • Acceptance- This stage is a difficult one to attain, and a lot of times, it does not get reached. This one can take a great deal of soul searching and forgiving yourself to even begin to get there. 

The goal with the grieving process is to get past the other stages and reach the acceptance stage as you go through your adoption journey. 

The second step is finding an adoption agency and/or adoption attorney who will assist you through the entire adoption process. In looking into different agencies, you want to find one that you feel comfortable with and that has a support system for you so that you have people you can talk to, such as a counselor, or therapist. What is an adoption agency? As it says on adoption.org, an agency is the “middleman” of sorts who not only provides information and assistance to the birth mother but they work with the prospective adoptive parents as well. What does an adoption attorney do? Adoption attorneys take care of the legal side of adoptions. Having one can make understanding the legal aspects of placing your baby easier. There is an agency that is based in Texas but assists birth mothers worldwide, including with Minnesota adoption, and that is The Gladney Center for Adoption

Once your decision has been made and you have found the agency you want to work with, next comes creating an adoption and hospital plan. First, let’s look at the different aspects of an adoption plan. There are three ways you can choose how your adoption plays out. It is a lot different now then it was many years ago when there was only one way to adopt, but let’s take a look at the three different types:

  • Closed Adoption- A closed adoption is the type where you, the birth mother, along with the prospective adoptive parents, decide that after the baby is born—you may or may not choose to even see the baby—he/she is handed off to the agency or the birth parents. With this type of adoption, it can be difficult for the adoptee because the records are sealed and if the child wants to find his/her birth mother should they know they are adopted, it would probably not be an easy task. 
  • Open Adoption- This used to be a type that was not used often, but as time goes on and the world changes in their thinking, it has become more and more widespread. Open adoption is where both parties agree on how much contact the birth mother has with the baby after he/she is born, whether it be through letters, pictures, social media, videos or even visitation.
  • Partially open/closed Adoption- This type is a combination of both types of adoption where the birth mother is allowed to know certain things regarding the baby and contact may be minimal or sometimes more. 

The hospital plan is where you decide who is allowed in the delivery room on the day you give birth. Some birth mothers want their support system there whether it be the birth father, her mother/parents, or a friend. Others want to give the gift of allowing the prospective adoptive parents—sometimes just the prospective adoptive mother—to be a part of the process as much as they can. This can be a difficult decision if you do not have a positive support system. 

The fourth step in the Minnesota adoption process is finding the right fit as far as prospective adoptive parents go. Things are made a little easier now as you have the ability to search on a computer using photolisting where you have hundreds of families or individuals to look for the folks you feel in your gut could give your baby a good home. Meeting the prospective adoptive parents can be hard to say the least, but if you find yourself having a difficult time conversing, here are some icebreaker question you could ask:

  • How did you meet each other?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • Where would you visit if you could?
  • Do you have any family traditions you will pass along to my baby? 

After you have decided on the family and the blessed day arrives, there is likely to be many emotions for both sides. Step five is learning to live your “new normal” because carrying a baby changes you; going through the adoption process changes you. Now it is time to figure out where your life is headed from here. 

Steps for the Prospective Adoptive Parents 

Have you found yourself not being able to have children for one reason or another, or you have children but want to add to your family? Adoption might be a great choice for you and your family, or even if you are an individual who would like to adopt. There are criteria that must be met as you are mulling over the idea. For Minnesota adoption, these include:

  •  When petitioning you must be a resident for a year or more
  • Must be 21 or older
  • Must have sufficient income to care for the needs of a child
  • Background Testing
  • Be present for 25 hours of pre-adoption training 
  • Engage with the social worker who completes the home study

If you have met the requirements, your first step will be to make certain this is something you want to take on. Even though the outcome outweighs any financial hardship, you must consider that when making your decision. You will also want to talk with any children you might already have to gauge their feelings and thoughts on this new venture.

Step two is deciding what kind of adoption you want to have. There are many to choose from. Do you want a baby? This would most likely be a domestic adoption which means that you are chosen by a birth mother to give her baby what she cannot. Foster child? A lot of the time, foster children who have not been adopted are older because more times than not, couples want a baby. Some children in foster care may even have behavioral or mental issues, but that does not mean they are any less loveable or worthy of adoption. International? This one requires a lot of paperwork and would be easiest if handled by an adoption attorney. International children can come from orphanages that cannot properly care for all the children they have or children who have lost parents due to injury, war, or starvation. You should probably know what you want before you dive headlong into your journey. 

After talking with your loved ones and deciding what kind of adoption you prefer, the next step is getting assistance from an agency and/or adoption attorney. Both should be able to walk you through the steps to getting what you desire. Make certain that you are aware of the laws for Minnesota adoption. Even though some states have similar laws, Minnesota may have requirements other states do not. 

The fourth step is getting a home study. You want to collect all the documentation required such as birth certificates, marriage license, and tax returns. This means you and your spouse or partner will be interviewed together, and separately about every aspect of your lives from why you want to adopt to financial stability to parenting styles—some parents have different styles than their spouse. If you are an individual seeking Minnesota adoption, the process is the same.

The last step before being chosen is the (sometimes dreaded) waiting period. It is during this time that feels like it could go on forever that networking with like-minded people can give you others to talk to when the wait seems unbearable. This can be a good time to prepare to meet the birth parents because it may be less stressful when deciding on the type of adoption on both sides if you are relaxed when you finally get the call. 

Step six is receiving word that you have been matched with an expectant or birth mother and can adopt. 

Whether you are the birth mother or the prospective adoptive parents, each journey is different, but both want the same thing. A better life for a child. 

Jenn Martin-Wright is a cowboy, jean wearing, country music, and rock lovin’ cowgirl who loves books and jewelry. She was born three months too early with a disability that should’ve taken any semblance of a normal life from her. Her mom made sure Jenn did everything she was capable of. Coming from a big family, it was either keep up or get left in the dust. Jenn graduated high school, then on to getting married, having kids, and receiving a BS in Social Work. Jenn lives in Idaho with her kids and a Maltese named Oakley who has become her writing helper as she writes novels under an alias of different genres.