Supporting Families and Children Through Adoption

Minnesota has a strong tradition of adoption, and year after year we lead the nation in international adoptions. Like so many Minnesotans, I share the belief that every child should have a safe home and a loving family. Because of this belief, and because we have so many Minnesotans who choose to adopt, I have been working hard both in Washington and right here in Minnesota to advocate for adoptive families and children. In particular, my office has worked closely with adoptive Minnesota families to help them bring their children home from countries such as Guatemala, Nepal, and Uganda. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Minnesota families who had pending Haitian adoptions began contacting my office for help bringing their children home. Some orphanages had been damaged or destroyed in the quake, and parents were frantic to make sure their kids were safe - and to get them to the United States quickly. Over the course of approximately two months following the earthquake, my office worked with 25 families to help unite 39 Haitian children with their new families in Minnesota.

General Adoption Information

If you are interested in learning more about international adoption, I would encourage you to visit the Department of State adoption website at www.adoption.state.gov. Here, you can check for adoption alerts in specific counties, learn about the adoption process, and even find a Hague-accredited adoption agency.

Already in the adoption process?

If you are already in the process of completing an international adoption and need assistance, my office is available to help. As adoptive parents know, the process is long and can be difficult. Even if parents follow every step exactly as they should, they can still find themselves caught up in government red tape. Whether you are just starting out and working with United States Citizenship Immigration Services, already in-country and completing your adoption at an embassy, or home with your adopted child, my staff may be able to assist you. Please call my office at 612-727-5220 or email Clara Haycraft in my Minnesota office.

Adoption Legislation

Though most adoptions go smoothly, and I am honored to be able to help in any way, I believe we must make some changes to eliminate red tape and bureaucratic obstacles in the adoption process. To do this, I have sponsored and cosponsored several pieces of adoption-related legislation, including:

International Adoption Simplification Act (Keeping Siblings Together in Adoptive Families) Adoptive parents are the best advocates for their children, and Minnesota families brought two important issues to my attention that led me to introduce this legislation. We have a lot of families in Minnesota that do not adopt just one child, but instead, adopt groups of siblings. We can all appreciate how important it is to keep groups of siblings together as a family, but currently, the United States does not allow international adoptions of children ages 16 and older - even if they have younger siblings who are eligible for adoption. My legislation would allow U.S. parents to adopt multiple children who are siblings, even if one of those children is between the ages of 16 and 18. The second important component of this legislation deals with immunization. This legislation would allow children adopted by American parents to enter the United States before receiving full immunization as long that their adoptive families guarantee that they will be fully vaccinated within 30 days of their arrival. As parents, we want what is best for our kids, and adoptive parents should be able to have their children immunized in the United States and by pediatricians of their choice. This important bipartisan legislation was signed by the President into law in 2010.

Supporting Adoptive Families Act (Ensuring Adoptive Families Have the Support They Need) In 2010, a sad story emerged about an American family sending their adopted son back to his home country of Russia. This story sparked debate around the country about international adoption and brought to light the issue of post-adoption support services. Any adoptive family will tell you that as much joy as their children can bring, it's not always easy. To help make sure adoptive families have the support they need, I introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to study, fund, and expand post-adoption support services.