Creating a family—whether it be through adoption or assisted reproduction technology—is an exciting, emotionally charged opportunity. It is extremely important that during these critical times, you have the most progressive legal representation available with up-to-date knowledge of the regulations and technology to minimize risk. At Gislason & Hunter, we provide focused expertise and have built excellent working relationships with agencies and government bodies to help protect what matters most.


Adoption is the creation of a parent-child relationship by judicial order between two parties who are usually unrelated. While it carries immeasurable personal, emotional, and psychological importance, adoption is a legal process with formal legal requirements and procedures. When the legal process is handled by skilled and experienced Gislason & Hunter attorneys, the legal process can be seamless so that adoptive parents and children can focus on the other aspects of adoption.

What are the different kinds of adoption?

Whether you are considering stepparent adoption, family adoption, private adoption, foster child adoption, domestic adoption, or international adoption, the addition of a new child into the family is a joyous event. Gislason & Hunter attorneys are experienced in adoption law and are prepared to address your legal needs during this special process.

Stepparent and family adoptions make up approximately one-half of the adoptions in the United States. Stepparent adoption is the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent. Family adoption is the adoption of a child by one or two relatives of the child.

The other one-half of adoptions in this country are private adoptions, foster child adoptions, domestic adoptions, and international adoptions. Private adoption is the adoption of a child by one or two non-relatives of the child without the assistance or facilitation of a state or private agency. Foster child adoption is the adoption of a child by someone who cared for the child while the child was in the state’s foster care system. Domestic adoption is the adoption of a child who has become available for adoption through the state of Minnesota or another state of the United States. International adoption is the adoption of a child who is not a citizen of the United States. Domestic and international adoption requires the intervention and assistance of a government or private agency.

Gislason & Hunter attorneys conduct stepparent adoptions, family adoptions, and private adoptions from beginning to end by preparing the court documents, obtaining the necessary consents to adoption, and conducting the necessary court appearance.

In international adoption and domestic adoption situations, Gislason & Hunter attorneys work closely with the adoption agency to prepare the necessary court documents and conduct the necessary court hearings.

How is an open adoption different from a closed adoption?

Adoption can be either a closed adoption or an open adoption. In a closed adoption, the birth parents and adopting family do not exchange identifying information. While health, medical, or personal history details may be shared, no identifying information such as last name, addresses or Social Security numbers is exchanged. In a closed adoption, the records and all identities are sealed in the court’s records, including the original birth certificate.

In an open adoption, the birth parents and adopting parents exchange identifying information and are then able, if they so choose, to be in direct contact with one another. The degree of openness varies widely from occasional letters or phone calls, providing pictures on an ongoing basis, to actual physical meetings and sharing of birthdays and other holidays. To be enforceable, contact agreements must meet the strict requirements of Minnesota adoption law for such agreements.

When the adoption is a closed adoption, Gislason & Hunter attorneys vigilantly guard identifying information during the legal process and also in the court’s permanent record. When the adoption is an open adoption, Gislason & Hunter attorneys prepare contact agreements in compliance with Minnesota adoption law to achieve your goals regarding continued contact.