Post Adoption FAQs
The first step of the process is to fill out our Application for Post Adoption Services. This gives us your updated contact information, a summary of your request, and confirms your identity as the application needs to be signed in front of a notary. If you live near one of our four locations you can call our Post Adoption Department to arrange to meet with a notary in one of our offices.
Once we receive your application we will contact you within two business days to give you a contract for services and more information about the next steps for the service(s) you are requesting.
There are fees for some of the post adoption services provided through New Life. However, New Life recognizes the importance of these services for birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. If you cannot afford a service, we offer financial assistance. Our fees range from $0 to $100 for each service. If you have questions about the fees or to discuss your situation, contact the Post Adoption Social Worker at 612.746.5670. All phone consultations are free.
1515 East 66th Street
Richfield, MN 55423
Please include a note with your name, the child’s name at birth, and the child’s date of birth to help us match it with the correct file. Put the letter in an unsealed, blank envelope with the correct postage to pass the correspondence along. We will make a copy of the letter and any photos to keep on file.
If the adoptive family or adopted adult has an updated address on file we can then forward the correspondence to the receiving party. If there has not been recent contact, we may choose to reach out to the receiving party to confirm they would like to receive the correspondence before sending it on.
Mail any correspondence to New Life’s Post Adoption Social Worker at our main address:
Richfield, MN 55423
Please include a note with your name, the child’s name, and the child’s date of birth to help us match it with the correct file. Put the letter in an unsealed, blank envelope with the correct postage to pass the correspondence along. We will make a copy of the letter and any photos to keep on file.
If the birth parent has an updated address on file we can then forward the correspondence. If there has not been recent contact, we may choose to reach out to the receiving party to confirm they would like to receive the correspondence before sending it on.
Here at New Life we love sharing the many stories of adoption. We have a number of opportunities available in which your story can be used to positively impact others. To learn more, check out our Share Your Story page.
Adopted adults or parents of a minor who has been adopted can request information from the child’s file, and birth parents can request information from their own file.
The amount and type of medical information in a child’s file largely depends on the time frame when the placement happened. In older placements there may be limited information in the file, while more recent placements may have more information available. The medical information on file is often a self-reported Social and Medical History packet completed by the birth parent(s) at the time of placement. This information is given to the adoptive parents at the time the adoption takes place, but an additional copy can be requested later if this has been lost or damaged.
If New Life ever receives updated medical information from a birth parent, we are required by law to attempt to pass on this information to the adopted adult or parent(s) of a minor who has been adopted. If we do not have your updated contact information or do not receive a response from our attempts to contact you about updated medical information, the information will be stored in the child’s file until you make contact with us.
New Life is not able to give out copies of an Original Birth Certificate (also called an Original Birth Record). If you want a copy of this, you will need to submit a request to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Follow this link to learn how to submit this request. Print and compete as much information on the form as you are able, then mail it to the address listed on the MDH website. There is a fee for this process, and it may take a few months or more to receive a response.
Many adopted adults opt to use DNA testing to learn more about their genetic history. Some DNA tests can provide information on racial heritage, genetic or health information, or connections to people related by DNA. Different DNA tests can provide different information, so be sure to research each DNA testing services before choosing one to make sure it provides the information you are looking for. Some people choose to use multiple DNA testing services to access a larger variety of information.
If you are interested in genetic or health information through DNA testing, but don’t want others to have access to you or your child through the relative connections given through most DNA testing services, you may want to consider a DNA test through your doctor’s office. Most doctors’ offices can offer DNA testing purely for health information and typically insurance will cover this cost.
It is becoming more common for adopted adults to choose DNA testing to learn more about their birth history. Through this process, some who have been adopted become connected with members of their birth family. In situations like this you want to be mindful that some birth parents may not have told their family about the adoption, some do not want to be found, and some are not open to contact. Also, there have been situations where people have been falsely reconnected. We recommend using New Life’s Post Adoption search services to confidentially reach out to your birth family to give them the support and room to process before deciding whether or not to move forward with reconnecting.
If you do get reconnected with a birth parent or birth child through DNA testing, but don’t have proof that they are who you think they are, proceed with caution. DNA testing is not a perfect science, and in the past it has led to mismatched reunions. If you want to confirm that the person you found is actually your birth parent or birth child you can request a search through New Life to confirm this information.
Any party of an adoption can initiate a search for another party. In a search, New Life will reach out confidentially to the other party to explain the request and allow the receiving party time to decide if and how they would like to proceed. If you are considering a search for your birth parent(s) or birth child, please remember that they may not be open to contact at this time. Be prepared for any outcome before starting the search. Call our Post Adoption Social Worker to further discuss what a search may look like.
Deciding to search for your birth parent(s) or birth child can be a big decision. If you are feeling overwhelmed at all of the “what ifs” of a search you are not alone. Here are a few things to think about before starting a search.
What kind of information or relationship do you hope to get from a search? What are your expectations for the process (steps, length, outcome, etc.)? How will you react if a search does not have the result you hope for? Have you discussed your reasons for wanting to start a search with your family members or friends?
At the start of a search no one knows how the process will go or what the result will be. While some searches are quick and end in a reunion between birth parent(s) and birth child, others may take many months, or even years with no response. There is no guarantee that the party you are searching for will respond or will be open to contact. You need to think through each of these options and be prepared for any outcome.
In some situations, the answer is yes. Whether or not New Life can search for a birth father depends on what information we have on file, his role in and knowledge of the adoption, and occasionally there are other factors. Sometimes a birth father has not been named or was not aware of the adoption. In these situations we cannot search for him. In other situations a birth father may have been actively involved in the adoption process, which means we are more likely able to search for him.
We encourage anyone who is considering a search to talk about this with family members and friends. It is important to have others who are aware and supportive of a search before, during, and after the process. You will likely have a roller-coaster of feelings at each stage of the process and it is helpful to talk through these emotions with someone you trust. We also highly encourage utilizing the support of an adoption competent therapist before, during, and after a search. Contact our Post Adoption Social Worker for referrals, if needed. Our Post Adoption Department is here to help support you through each step of the process, but we should not be your only support.
Every search is different. A search can take as little as a few days or as long as a few years. In some situations, we may need to look for updated contact information before reaching out to another party which may add to the length of the process. We may never find updated contact information, or the other party may never respond to our attempts to reach out to them. In these cases a search may be ended for the time being, but can be restarted again a few years later. Sometimes, waiting a few months or a few years can make a difference in finding the other party, while other times not much may change.
Some people chose to search for their birth parent(s) or birth child on their own. While in some cases this can be successful, New Life does not recommend taking this on by yourself. There are many things to consider when reconnecting with another party for everyone involved, and by using New Life as the intermediary in this process both parties can receive the support they need to have a successful reunion. In some cases, the other party may not be open to contact, or may be surprised by the sudden contact and need time to process. New Life can help make sure everyone is comfortable before moving forward with a reunion.
New Life does not release anyone’s contact information to any other party without direct consent of that person. If you update your information it is only used for our Post Adoption Department to keep in contact with you. We recommend that everyone in an adoption keep their information updated with New Life to insure that we can contact you if ever needed. It also allows us to send you updated information, newsletters, or invite you to events. To update your information go to our Update My Information page.
Adoption competent therapy is utilizing a therapist who has training and experience with common adoption related issues. It can be beneficial for any party of adoption – birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents – to utilize adoption competent therapy at various stages of their adoption journey. While some people who have been touched by adoption may be seeking therapy for issues not related to their adoption experience, it can still be beneficial to meet with someone trained in adoption who can have a holistic understanding of that person’s experience.
Contact our Post Adoption Social Worker for more information about, and referrals for, adoption competent therapy.