Minnesota Adoption Law, 1917

Adoption; petition and consent.—Any resident of the State may petition the district court of the county in which he resides for leave to adopt any child not his own. If the petitioner be married the spouse shall join in the petition. All petitions for the adoption of a child who is a ward or pupil of the State public school shall be made jointly by the person desiring to adopt such child and the superintendent of the State public school. . . .

Investigation by board of control.—Upon the filing of a petition for the adoption of a minor child the court shall notify the State board of control. It shall then be the duty of the board to verify the allegations of the petition, to investigate the condition and antecedents of the child for the purpose of ascertaining whether he is a proper subject for adoption, and to make appropriate inquiry to determine whether the proposed foster home is a suitable home for the child. The board shall as soon as practicable submit to the court a full report in writing, with a recommendation as to the granting of the petition and any other information regarding the child or the proposed home which the court shall require. No petition shall be granted until the child shall have lived for six months in the proposed home: Provided, however, That such investigation and period of residence may be waived by the court upon good cause shown, when satisfied that the proposed home and the child are suited to each other.

Consent, when necessary.—Except as herein provided, no adoption of a minor shall be permitted without the consent of his parents, but the consent of a parent who has abandoned the child, or who can not be found, or who is insane or otherwise incapacitated from giving such consent, or who has lost custody of the child through divorce proceedings or the order of a juvenile court, may be dispensed with, and consent may be given by the guardian, if there be one, or, if there be no guardian, by the State board of control. In case of illegitimacy, the consent of the mother alone shall suffice. In all cases where the child is over fourteen years old his own consent must be had also. . . .

Decree; change of name.—If upon the hearing the court shall be satisfied as to the identity and relationship of the persons concerned, and that the petitioners are able to properly rear and educate the child, and that the petition should be granted, a decree shall be made and recorded in the office of the clerk, setting forth the facts and ordering that from the date thereof the child shall be the child of the petitioners. If desired, the court, in and by said decree, may change the name of the child.

Status of adopted child.—Upon adoption such child shall become the legal child of the persons adopting him, and they shall become his legal parents, with all the rights and duties between them of natural parents and legitimate child. By virtue of such adoption, he shall inherit from his adopting parents or their relatives the same as though he were the legitimate child of such parents, and shall not owe his natural parents or their relatives any legal duty; and in case of his death intestate the adopting parents and their relatives shall inherit his estate as if they had been his parents and relatives in fact.

Annulment.—If within five years after his adoption a child develops feeble-mindedness, epilepsy, insanity, or venereal infection as a result of conditions existing prior to the adoption, and of which the adopting parents had no knowledge or notice, a petition setting forth such facts may be filed with the court which entered the decree of adoption, and if such facts are proved the court may annul the adoption and commit the child to the guardianship of the State board of control. In every such proceeding it shall be the duty of the county attorney to represent the interests of the child.

Records of adoption.—The files and records of the court in adoption proceedings shall not be open to inspection or copy by other persons than the parties in interest and their attorneys and representatives of the State board of control, except upon an order of the court expressly permitting the same.


Source: U.S. Children's Bureau, Adoption Laws in the United States: A Summary of the Development of Adoption Legislation and Significant Features of Adoption Statutes, With the Text of Selected Laws, ed. Emelyn Foster Peck, Bureau Publication No. 148 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1925), 27-28.

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