November 18, 2018

Minnesota State Shutdown Affecting Adoptions

“One of the casualties of Minnesota’s ongoing government shutdown, dragging into its third week as of July 14, are families going through the adoption process. Adoption paperwork has been put on hold since Minnesota’s state shutdown began on July 1.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Clayton and Republican legislators have been locked in a budget impasse since the start of the state’s new fiscal year on July 1, forcing the closing of government offices across the state. That includes a range of state services, including adoption paperwork.

Minnesota has a reputation as a mecca for international adoptions, with the state’s adoption rates among the highest in the United States.

Before the crisis began, adoption agencies lobbied the Minnesota government to make them aware of the ramifications a government shutdown could have on adoptions. Kjersti Olson, a representative for the Children’s Home Society and Family Services of St. Paul, was one of the representatives tasked with explaining the issue to legislators.

“”Our inability to work this out has implications for children,”" explained Olsen. “”It’s a really hard thing to explain to a judge in a foreign country, that the state of Minnesota is shut down.”"

A ruling by a Ramsey County District Court judge prior to shutdown authorized the continuation of state services deemed critical, but that did not include adoptions.

Putting a personal face on the issue, the valleynewslive.com site interviewed Jessica and Craig Porter, a Wisconsin couple whose newly adopted son, Ezra, is required to stay within the borders of Minnesota until the state’s budget impasse is resolved.

The new family has been staying in a Stillwater, Minnesota hotel room, living out of suitcases and making due in their cramped, makeshift living quarters. Jessica is forced to wash her baby’s bottles in the hotel’s sink.

“”Everybody gets to come home from the hospital and go about life and make plans, and we’re just more limited,”" her husband Craig said.

The couple waited 7 years for the adoption process to finally go through, and are willing to wait a little longer to bring their baby home. “”[We're] just anxious to bring him home and have him in his own little room.”"

As of July 14, no talks are scheduled between Gov. Clayton and Republican legislators to resolve the budget crisis.”

MN Shutdown: Adoptions on Hold – valleynewslive.com

Shutdown to impact adopting abroad – sctimes.com

Mark Dayton offers deal that could end Minnesota shutdown – Washington Post

Minnesota Adoption Facts – North American Council on Adoptable Children