MN ADOPT is a nonprofit organization that provides information on resources for Minnesota families who are interested in fostering or adopting a child. While they don’t actually place the children in homes, they focus on educating families who foster or are interested in fostering about the process of adoption.
On our Cities Speak podcast, we interviewed their Executive Director Rachel Walstad about the organization’s mission and actions. Walstad has a Master’s in social work and is a licensed, independent social worker with over 18 years of experience.
A group of adoptive families founded MN ADOPT in 1980. Their vision was to see zero kids waiting for a permanent and safe home, and the organization still stands for this today.
MN ADOPT’s staff answers any questions families may have about adoption through phone calls, emails and their website. Their website has a plethora of information and training sessions for starting out the adoption process.
Families can learn about the issues adoptive families and children face such as trauma attachment, LGBT+ issues and race issues.
“Just giving families those tools and resources they need, so they can step away from each training with concrete skills and tools and tips on how to strengthen their family,” said Walstad.
They also highlight kids who are under state guardianship. They do this by providing short bios about who they are and their interests.
“By sharing about a specific kid, hopefully somebody will see that and connect with them and, and kind of take that next step,” said Walstad.
The organization also hosts and records webinars to educate families further about adoption and foster care. Families can search the video library by topic to find the information they are looking for.
“If you’re a family out there and you’re thinking about, maybe this is for me, our educational program is a really good opportunity to go and understand some of the needs that these children have and what it might mean to parent them,” said Walstad.
Walstad said one of the main factors a family should consider before adopting or fostering a child is asking themselves if they have the ability to parent a child who has experienced trauma.
“They wouldn’t be in foster care if they had a really easy time of their life,” said Walstad.
These parents have to be willing to do the work to care for these children they way they need to be cared for according to Walstad.
One misconception about adoption is the cost. Walstad said many people tell her they want to adopt, but it’s too expensive. However, there are actually various state agencies that will cover any fees the Department of Human Services may charge.
Walstad also pointed out that there are a lot of older kids in the system in need of a safe home. About 40% of the kids in need of a safe home are between the ages of 12 and 18.
“We don’t want any child to turn 18 and not have a family,” said Walstad.
How to help
There is a MN ADOPT 5K run/walk in June to support their initiatives. The organization is also hosting its annual back-to-school shopping event at the end of August. They’ll be giving children in the foster care system their own school shopping experience.
For more information about the nonprofit, visit their website here.