FAQs – Prospective Adoptive Families

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The first step in our adoption process is to complete and submit our Preliminary Application. If your Preliminary Application is approved, you will receive an invitation to an upcoming Informational Meeting. Our Preliminary Application is designed to make sure you fit our criteria for adoption through New Life, while the Informational Meeting is to make sure New Life fits your needs and preferences in an agency. If you have questions about the process please call our Adoption Line at 612-746-5658.

Please note that New Life Adoptions is not currently accepting any new Preliminary Applications for our full-service domestic infant adoption program. We will begin accepting new Preliminary Applications for our full-service domestic infant adoption program once our waiting list is shorter.

We are still accepting Preliminary Applications for embryo adoption, limited-services, and designated placements. If you are not sure which category your situation fits in, please contact us at info@newlifeadoptionsmn.org or 612-746-5658.

To request a Preliminary Application, contact our Administrative Social Worker at info@newlifeadoptionsmn.org or 612-746-5658.

At the Informational Meeting, New Life Adoptions’ staff members share detailed information about our agency, our services, and our adoption process. Both husband and wife are required to attend this two-hour meeting, which is held approximately four evenings per year. Some of the items discussed during the meeting include the adoption study process, expectant parent requests, openness in adoption, how expectant parents choose a family, placement, finalization, and post adoption services. There will be a time for questions you may have about the information being presented. Upon attending the Informational Meeting, you will receive the formal application, educational literature, and other useful tools to assist you in your decision-making process. The Informational Meeting is for families whose Preliminary Application has been submitted and approved and have received an invitation to attend the meeting.

The adoption study, also commonly referred to as the home study, is an assessment of the adoptive couple written by a licensed social worker. Topics covered include: personal history, the couples’ relationship, their views on discipline and parenting, their readiness for adoptive parenting, the couples’ financial situation, future goals, etc. The State of Minnesota requires that an adoption study be completed by a licensed adoption agency prior to the placement of a non-related child into the couples’ home.

After you attend an Informational Meeting and your formal application is received, it is reviewed by our Director of Adoption. If, upon review, your formal application is approved, you will receive an approval letter and be asked to pay the $1,000 Application Fee at that time. You will then be put on our waiting list until we are ready to start your home study. Your wait could be a few weeks or a few months, depending on the number of families currently working with our agency. You will be given an estimate on how long this wait may be in the approval letter. There is typically no wait if you have an expectant or birth mother already identified. When we are ready to start your home study, you will receive another letter and a financial contract outlining the services to be rendered and the respective fees. Upon receipt of your signed contract and your $1,500 Program Service Fee, the Adoption Social Worker who has been assigned to you will contact you to schedule your first adoption study meeting.

New Life Adoptions is a licensed adoption agency in the state of Minnesota only. Therefore, we are unable to complete adoption studies for families living outside of Minnesota. However, we are able to assist families who live in Minnesota and are looking to adopt a child from another state.

After you have completed your adoption study, the time you would wait for a placement can vary. The average wait time was 18 months in 2023 (individual families ranging from 11 to 27 months), 20 months in 2022 (individual families ranging from 17 to 22 months), and 17 months in 2021 (individual families ranging from 0 to 39 month). It is important to note that a child could be in your home for several months prior to the placement becoming legally secure. Numerous variables can impact the amount of time a family waits for a placement. For example, the time a family waits may be less if they are open to an infant with special placement needs. Likewise, in a designated adoption (when expectant parents and adoptive families approach New Life having already chosen one another), the adoptive family does not go into the waiting pool and thus does not experience a “wait time”. Expectant parents make varied requests for the type of home in which they would like their child to be raised. Potential adoptive families also have the opportunity to state their preferences regarding the particular risks or case circumstances. Each set of expectant parents is as unique as our adoptive families. Because of this uniqueness, it is impossible to predict exactly how long a family may wait before a match occurs. It is exciting to see how, in His perfect timing, God provides the right families to meet the needs of the children who are being placed through our agency.

During the adoption study process, you will prepare a profile book. The profile book is what expectant parents will see in order to learn more about you. It should represent you as a family and can include pictures of your interests and hobbies, your extended family and friends, pictures of your home, vacations or holiday traditions, etc. The profile book includes a Dear Expectant Parent letter in which you can express yourselves more personally to expectant parents. It also includes a Home Summary which is a synopsis of your family including topics such as hobbies and interests, and views on discipline and education. Your Adoption Social Worker will be in close communication with you regarding the expectant parents to which you are open to being shown. Expectant parents choose a family to meet from the profiles shown to them.

You will also create an online profile that will be included on our website. This helps expectant parents who are considering adoption see the families who are working with New Life Adoptions. Expectant parents may want to meet a family based on seeing their website profile. Their social worker will walk the expectant parent(s) through the process to request the profile(s) that they are interested in.

New Life Adoptions is licensed by the State of Minnesota to facilitate domestic adoptions. Most of our adoption cases involve working with birth parents through the voluntary termination of parental rights process. Typically, birth parents voluntarily consent to the adoption by his/her signature, and termination of parental rights happens at the finalization hearing. A birth parent cannot sign voluntary consents to the adoption through an agency until at least 72 hours after birth but prior to 60 days after the legal risk placement. Though not typical, a Termination of Parental Rights hearing may be required for the birth parent(s) in certain cases and is determined by New Life Adoptions and its attorney. While a birth parent does not need an attorney for this process, a birth parent has the right to obtain their own attorney to answer legal questions or represent them throughout the process, and the birth parent can request these legal fees be paid by the adoptive family he/she has chosen.

Likewise, adoptive parents may retain an attorney who is knowledgeable about adoption to represent them in court for the finalization hearing, although it is not necessary. Adoptive families may consider representing themselves in court as well. If a family has a contact agreement with the birth parents, an attorney is required to draft the agreement. Any attorney fees, that are the result of the family seeking legal representation apart from New Life Adoptions, are at the adoptive parents’ expense.

New Life Adoptions facilitates openness in adoption according to the requests of the expectant parents and adoptive families. Both potential adoptive couples and expectant parents are encouraged to become more educated on openness during the adoption preparation process. Your Adoption Social Worker will offer opportunities for you to explore the possible dynamics of having a relationship with the birth family of your child. New Life Adoptions recognizes that open adoption can provide benefits for a child who has been adopted, as well as for the birth and adoptive families when these families commit to a relationship together. New Life Adoptions is able to support all parties involved as their relationship evolves, and we will listen to and help work through the fears, concerns, and desires of each party. You will complete an Openness Checklist, which will give you the chance to describe the degree of openness you desire. This Openness Checklist may evolve and change throughout the wait for a child. Our experience has shown us that the majority of expectant and birth parents we work with desire some level of openness.

At New Life Adoptions, birth parents and adoptive parents are encouraged to make a written agreement regarding the types of openness they desire in their relationship. New Life’s social workers will assist with this process.

There are two types of agreements: a cooperative agreement and a contact agreement.

A cooperative agreement is an agreement based on good faith and is completed in a meeting between the birth parent(s) and the adoptive parents prior to the birth parent giving written consent to the adoption. New Life Adoptions facilitates discussions around openness for birth parents and adoptive parents and assists both parties in drafting a cooperative agreement. This agreement does not change an adoption after the adoption is final; however, the agreement is very important to help manage expectations of the open adoption relationship.

A contact agreement is a legally binding openness agreement; it cannot overturn an adoption decree but makes the openness agreement enforceable by law through court mediation. Birth parents can choose to have a contact agreement rather than a cooperative agreement. In a contact agreement, New Life Adoptions assists in creating a cooperative agreement first, and an attorney uses this agreement to draft a contact agreement, which is submitted to court at the time of finalization and at the adoptive family’s expense.

New Life Adoptions will walk each party through the process of choosing the right agreement for each situation.

A designated adoption is one in which the adoptive parents and the expectant parents meet each other outside of the agency. We are able to facilitate these types of placements; however, the adoptive family is still required to meet our criteria and is also required to have a valid adoption study. If a prospective adoptive family is in need of an adoption study for the purpose of a designated adoption, we are able to provide that service.

New Life primarily places infants who are born in the United States. Occasionally, we will have birth parents interested in placing a toddler or sibling group, but this is not common.

A fos/adopt (or foster-adopt) placement occurs when the prospective adoptive parents care for the child before the birth parents’ rights are relinquished. (This is also referred to as a legal-risk placement.) The time frame for relinquishment can vary from a few weeks to approximately two months depending on specific case circumstances. During the fos/adopt period, the birth parents are the legal parents of the child until they have signed consents to the adoption and the 10-day relinquishment period has expired, as required by Minnesota law. Birth parents and prospective adoptive parents both often request a fos/adopt placement to encourage bonding and attachment between the infant and adoptive family as soon as possible. In some cases, it may be recommended that the child be placed in interim care until the birth parents’ rights are terminated. New Life has licensed foster homes available for these situations.

As a faith-based adoption agency, New Life Adoptions offers spiritual support to families during their adoption journey. Because we believe that God is in control of each adoption that happens through New Life Adoptions, we encourage families to trust God in every aspect of their adoption journey. We believe that God has a plan for each adoptive family we work with and for each child that we place.

New Life Adoptions is a program of New Life Family Services, which is one of the few organizations in the country, and the only in Minnesota, that includes both a pregnancy resource center and adoption agency. Through this holistic model, we assist women and men in their pregnancy situations by offering ongoing decision-making counseling and providing pregnancy-related resources. For expectant parents who choose to place for adoption, we are able to facilitate a domestic infant adoption without going to an outside party to make this happen.

Two-Worker Model

New Life Adoptions has two separate social work teams: One group of social workers who work exclusively with our adoptive families and another group who work exclusively with our expectant and birth parents. Having two separate teams enables both social workers to devote their full attention and support to their clients during the adoption journey. Social workers also advocate for their clients and the two-worker model enables the social workers to do that fully.

Many other agencies have one social worker who may work with both parties involved in an adoption.

Licensed Social Workers

All of our social workers are licensed through the Minnesota Board of Social Work. Other agencies may have case managers who work directly with their clients. Many times these case managers are not licensed social workers.

New Life has a specific fee structure that helps cover administrative, legal and other related expenses involved in adoption. The fee for a full-service adoption through New Life ranges between $21,000 and $24,000. While this number may appear high, our adoption program is not a profit-generating program. In most cases, the fees charged for a standard adoption through New Life Adoptions do not cover the total expenses incurred by our agency in order to provide this service to families seeking to adopt and expectant parents seeking to place their child for adoption.

Various financial programs are available to help families cover adoption-related expenses. Visit our Adoption Fees and Aid page or call our Adoption Line for more information. There is also an adoption tax credit available. Please consult a tax advisor for more information.

Yes, New Life Adoptions is able to provide limited adoption services, which means that New Life would complete only a portion of all the steps necessary in a full-service adoption. Limited service cases are accepted at the discretion of the Director of Adoption. Fee variations apply according to each circumstance. These services include the following:

Adoption Study and Post-Placement Supervision: If necessary criteria is met, New Life is able to provide a Minnesota adoption study and fulfill post-placement requirements for finalization for a domestic or embryo adoption.

Designated Adoptions: If necessary criteria is met, New Life Adoptions is able to facilitate the essential components of a placement where expectant parents and adoptive parents have chosen each other outside of New Life Adoptions. This may include services such as the adoption study, counseling, and transfer of parental rights.

Interstate Adoptions: New Life Adoptions is able to coordinate with agencies out of state if an adoptive family or birth family is not in Minnesota. Any interstate placement requires an agency and/or attorney in both states and must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). New Life Adoptions charges a $500 coordination fee in all interstate placements.

New Life Adoptions works in collaboration with Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program a division of Nightlight Christian Adoptions in California, and the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Tennessee, to provide home studies for prospective adoptive families seeking to adopt embryos for implantation. The home study process is very similar to the process for couples seeking traditional adoption services; however, your social worker will focus on the uniqueness of embryo adoption. Prospective adoptive parents are chosen by genetic parents in much the same way as in a traditional open adoption and can expect face-to-face meetings and ongoing contact. Families interested in working with New Life Adoptions for embryo adoption are first required to complete and submit a Preliminary Application. For more information about embryo adoption, visit our Embryo Adoption page.

To request a Preliminary Application, contact our Administrative Social Worker at info@newlifeadoptionsmn.org or 612-746-5658.

Click here for information on starting the adoption process!

Please note that New Life Adoptions is not currently accepting any new Preliminary Applications for our full-service domestic infant adoption program. We will begin accepting new Preliminary Applications for our full-service domestic infant adoption program once our waiting list is shorter.

We are still accepting Preliminary Applications for embryo adoption, limited-services, and designated placements. If you are not sure which category your situation fits in, please contact us at info@newlifeadoptionsmn.org or 612-746-5658.