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Post Adoption Search Resources

Who can search?
In Minnesota, adoption records are classified as confidential data.
State law specifies that the following individuals can initiate a search:

  • Adopted individual 19 years and older
  • Genetic (biologic) sibling, 19 years and older of an adoptee
  • Adoptive parents
  • Birth parents

How do I get started?

If you do not know the adoption agency or county that facilitated the adoption, you can complete the Foster Adopt Minnesota Search form to get the name of the placing agency and the district court where the adoption was finalized.

If you know the adoption agency or county that facilitated the adoption, you may contact them directly for Post Adoption Services.

Can a child of an adoptee initiate a search?
If you are a child or grandchild of an adoptee, you must have written permission from the adopted person to request a search. The written permission must be notarized. If you are a child of an adoptee and the adopted individual is deceased, you must provide the death certificate and your birth certificate.

When will I be notified?
Currently, the database used to search for adoption records is being updated by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). Because of this, searches are taking longer than 30 days.

What do I do with the information I receive?
You may contact the identified agency to discuss how to obtain the information you are seeking. Be aware that Minnesota law allows agencies to charge a fee for their services. In some situations, you may petition the district court and ask that both the natural birth and adoption records be released to you.

What about genealogy?

The Department of Human Services began maintaining adoption records in 1917, and in very few instances, has records prior to 1915. For records prior to 1915, check with the Minnesota History Center:

If you are seeking genealogy information, Minnesota law allows all adoption records to become public on the l00th anniversary of the adoption decree (the date the adoption was finalized). In these cases, please fill out the MN Adopt Search form and indicate the file is 100 years old.

Are there other resources for search services?
Adoption Search Angels –
 Adoption Search Angels volunteer their time and talents to help families touched by adoption. Some may charge a nominal fee. Please contact the MN ADOPT Post Search Specialist at 612-746-5135 for more information.

The “Practice Guide for Post Adoption Search Services” lists many resources and is available on the Department of Human Services website at:
*This information was provided by the Minnesota Department of Human Services 

Motivation to search
Adopted individuals, birth parents, adoptive parents of minor children, siblings, and others touched by adoption may choose to engage in a search process for a variety of reasons. While some individuals have always had a desire to search, others may not have any interest. The basis for performing a search may be as unique as the individuals who choose to search. Some of the most common reasons for searching may include: the need to obtain medical information or to have other comprehensive information in emergency situations; knowledge regarding the circumstances resulting in placement or experiences during placement with a sibling from whom they were separated; and/or major milestones in life (graduation, marriage, birth, death). Some individuals may feel that the information may fill a void or answer curiosities. In Minnesota, adoption records and original birth certificates are sealed upon the finalization of an adoption, maintaining the confidentiality of the contents regarding identifying information. [National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC), Access to Family Information by Adopted Persons: Summary of State Laws] Adopted persons age 19 and older and adopted or adoptive parents of minor children may obtain non-identifying medical and background information from an adoption record without an adoption agency violating confidentiality. [Minn. Stat., section 259.83]

Minnesota statutes (stat.) and rules related to post adoption search services and records. Those interested in statutes and rules governing post adoption search services and records in Minnesota may want to read the sections cited below. These policies were developed to help individuals who have been adopted, or whose birth parents have terminated their parental rights, to obtain information about themselves and their birth relatives, as well as services. These policies can be accessed electronically at the Minnesota Revisor of Statutes’ website at

Statute 144.225 Disclosure of information from vital records 
Statute 144.218 Replacement birth records 
Statute 245A.04, subd. 10 Adoption agency, additional requirements
Statute 259.43 Birth parent history, commissoner’s form 
Statute 259.47 Direct adoptive placement 
Statute 259.61 Hearings, confidential 
Statute 259.79 Adoption records 
Statute 259.83 Post adoption services
Statute 259.89 Access to original birth record information
Rule 9560.0030 Legally freeing a child for adoption 
Rule 9560.0170 Post adoption services 
Rule 9560.0180 Maintenance of adoption records
Rule 9545.0835 Adoption placements 
Rule 9545.0845 Plan for transfer of records 

Minnesota Support Groups for Searching

Concerned United Birthparents (CUB)
First Wednesday, monthly, 7 p.m.
CUB welcomes birth parents, adopted persons, adoptive parents, and professionals
St. Louis Park Community Center
3700 Monterey Drive
St Louis Park, MN
For more information or call Erin Merrigan 612-298-9369 &

National and Online Resources – International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR)  – search by name for a birth date; links to address/phone.  – offers excellent articles about search, websites, registries with many links and online resources.  – connects high school alumni online. Useful in adoption searches if name and year of graduation of person sought is known. – Family Tree Maker. offers software and multiple resources in genealogy searching.  – free reunion and search registry open to adopted persons, siblings, birth parents and all birth family members.

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