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12,500 foster children adopted in two decades

20th annual adoption event celebrates, highlights need for relatives, others to adopt

10/30/2017 12:00:00 PM

For media inquiries only
Beth Voigt
For 20 years, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, MN ADOPT and its other partners have celebrated the families formed by adoption and encouraged others to adopt foster children at the annual Celebrate Adoption: Circus of the Heart event. At this year’s 20th annual event, they will celebrate the 868 children adopted from the state’s foster care system last year and provide information to those interested in adopting the 766 foster children still waiting for families. The celebration and information event will take place on Nov. 5, from 1 - 4 p.m. at Envision Event Center, 484 Inwood Ave., Oakdale, Minn.

“For 20 years at this event, we have highlighted the importance of adoption – to provide safe, loving, nurturing homes to hundreds of Minnesota children who need families, particularly their own kin,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “Children in the foster care system have been traumatized. The more we can do to stabilize their lives and provide them with consistency, including becoming a permanent part of relatives’ or other families, when it is not safe for them to return home, the better off they will be.”

During the past 20 years, of the 12,509 Minnesota foster children adopted: 

  • 87 percent were birth to 11 years old and 13 percent were 12 and older
  • 56 percent were white, 21 percent were African American/Black, 15 percent were two or more races; 5 percent were American Indian, 2 percent were unknown/declined to identify, 1 percent were Asian Pacific Islander; and 9 percent also identified as Hispanic
  • 53 percent were part of sibling groups adopted together.
While the number of children adopted in 2016 is the greatest in the past two decades, the number of children coming into the foster care system is increasing and more children are available for adoption. In 2016, of the 868 foster children adopted, relatives adopted 436 foster children.

Currently, of the 766 Minnesota children who need adoptive homes:

  • 67 percent are children of color
  • 61 percent are siblings who need to be adopted together
  • 30 percent are between 12 and 18 years old.
“During the past two decades, families have adopted thousands of foster children, yet thousands more have come into our foster care system. We need families – relatives and others – to adopt them, nurture them and love them for a lifetime.”

Adoption experts from state, county and nonprofit organizations will be on hand throughout the day to provide information and answer questions for those interested in learning more about adopting children from the foster care system.
Human Services Assistant Commissioner Jim Koppel will briefly welcome those in attendance at the event. An adoptive family will also share their insights into adoption.
As part of the celebration, families will enjoy family photos, pony rides, face painting, airbrush tattoos, henna art, fire truck tours, petting zoo, refreshments and games. They will also have the chance to win prizes as part of a free drawing.

“This is an opportunity to positively impact the children and adolescents in Minnesota who need us most,” said Piper.

To find out more about adoption in Minnesota, attend the event to talk with adoptive families and professionals in the field, contact your country social service agency or MN Adopt, or visit the department's website at

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