On any day, more than 70 Hennepin County children and teens are waiting for an adoptive family.

These are children who have come into foster care and are not able to return to their birth parents’ homes.

Hennepin County believes that every child should have a home where they can be safe, loved and nurtured, a family to help them grow and thrive. 

Creating a forever family may happen when children are adopted by their grandparents or an aunt, uncle or friend. Sometimes foster parents adopt their foster children. There is still a need for individuals and families who want to open their hearts  and lives to children, and who want to grow their families through adoption.

Right now, most of the kids who are waiting for a permanent family are preteens and teenagers. All of them need someone to count on, someone to listen to them, someone to help guide them as they figure out who they want to be. They are growing up, but they still need a family.

Other waiting children are in groups of three or more brothers and sisters who need to stay together, and who can help each other adjust to a new home and a new family.

Come to an adoption information session to learn more, and to start thinking about whether you are ready to make the commitment to change a child's life and transform your own. 

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Attend an adoption information meeting

Adopting parents must attend two phases of training, including an introductory session.

Spring 2015 adoption information meetings 

This two-hour gathering is a prerequisite for the pre-adoption training. You will find out more about the Hennepin County adoption program, the adoption process and Hennepin County’s Waiting Children. If you are a couple, both of you must attend. No registration is necessary. Child care is not provided.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library — North Regional, 1315 Lowry Avenue North, 2nd floor, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, April 7, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library — Hosmer, 347 East 36th Street, Minneapolis
  • Friday, May 8, 3 to 5 p.m., Hennepin County Library — Golden Valley, 830 Winnetka Avenue North, Minneapolis

Adoption process

Get started

In a two-hour information meeting, you will find out more about adopting a child or teen, paths to adoption, and the needs of Hennepin County’s waiting children. Once you've made a decision about your path to adoption, you can attend preadoption training or foster care training, where you can learn more about your options.  

Adoption home study

This is the story of your family. It is used to match you with the right adoptive child or children. On average, it takes 4-6 months to complete. There are no fees when you adopt children under state guardianship. Having an approved home study enables you to adopt a child from any of Minnesota's 87 counties.

Mail completed home studies to:

Amy Sullivan, foster care and adoption recruiting coordinator
Hennepin County Foster Care and Adoption
300 South 6th Street, MC 960
Minneapolis, MN 55487

Or fax:


The matching process

Our primary goal is to find permanent, adoptive families for our waiting children. Your home study worker will help guide you through this process. Finding the right fit between a family and a child or sibling group depends upon your openness to parent the children who are waiting. These include children of color, older children and sibling groups, and children with a range of special needs.

Preparation and placement

The prospective adoptive parents meet with each child’s foster parents, social workers, teachers, therapists, and all others who have knowledge of the child’s needs. They review all of the child's written documentation pertaining to the child's history and begin planned visits, before accepting the child or children into their home for purposes of adoption.

Make it official

Social workers provide support during the transition phase. The court will finalize the adoption no sooner than 90 days after children are placed with their families. In the meantime, social workers prepare the Adoption Assistance Agreement, to be approved by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Once that document is approved, the Petition to Adopt is filed with Juvenile Court and a court date is set to finalize the adoption.

Families, children, and others attend the adoption finalization court hearing, and celebrate this special Adoption Day.

A new family

Parents are now the legal parents, social workers close cases, adoption assistance begins, the family completes an application for medical assistance in each child’s new name, and post-adoption services are offered to families through or 612-861-7115.

Search for waiting children

The majority of Hennepin County's waiting children range in age from 10 to 17 years old. They include both single children and sibling groups waiting for a family in which they can be adopted together.

The children's best interests are the top priority in Hennepin County adoption placements.

More information

Learn about Minnesota's "waiting children"

In Hennepin County, the children who are waiting for adoption are under state guardianship because their birth parents' rights have been legally terminated. These children have experienced abuse and/or neglect, trauma, and have some special needs because of these experiences. Their needs may include physical, emotional, developmental, and mental health needs that often require extra support.

The majority are children of color. Native American children may be covered under the Indian Child Welfare Act (PDF).


Eligibility guidelines

You can make a family through adoption in Hennepin County if you:


  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Are single or married or partnered
  • Rent or own a home with at least 2 bedrooms
  • Meet foster care licensing standards, and pass criminal and social service background checks
  • Are at least two years free from chemical abuse

Hennepin County does not discriminate based on an individual's race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or public assistance status.

Financial support is available

Adoption is a legal process, and there are some fees associated with the process. Most of these fees are reimbursable through adoption assistance. If you choose to adopt a Minnesota Waiting Child there is no fee for the home study or for the state-mandated training. Adoption assistance is available as a reimbursement program, based on the child’s current documented special needs. This program is run by the State of Minnesota to assist families who have adopted children who were under state guardianship. It includes medical assistance and may include reimbursement for some expenses to address children’s special needs and some non-medical costs. In some cases child care assistance and monthly financial assistance may be available.

Read more:

Adoption assistance agreement (PDF)


Troubleshooting adoption assistance agreements

If the child’s documented needs change, the adoptive family can request to have the adoption assistance agreement amended. You must have specific documentation of your child’s special needs to justify amending the supplemental levels (for example: an assessment for a diagnosis from a doctor, or an occupational therapist, or a therapist, or the special education program, etc.)

Call 651-431-4656, extension 2, to reach the Minnesota Department of Human Services Adoption Assistance Line. Ask for a letter of instruction and a “Needs Assessment Form.”

Minnesota adoption assistance benefits overview (PDF)

Send us an email if you have additional updated information on your child’s special needs and would like to request a review.

Learn about adopting foster children

Hennepin County requires specialized adoption training for licensed foster or relative/kin families planning to adopt the child or children into their home. Attend a foster care information meeting for more information.

Other resources

Hennepin County has compiled the information below for use by adoptive or foster families as well as professionals but we cannot endorse or guarantee any particular resource.

Hot picks: recommended adoption books (PDF)

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