At an event in their honor on Sunday, Nov. 3, families who adopted children from foster care will get to enjoy a day at the zoo that includes music, mascots, games, prizes, face and nail painting, henna art and family photos. The event aims to celebrate the adoptions of 1,268 foster children in 2018 while calling attention to the 905 children waiting for permanent families. “Celebrate Adoption: Circus of the Heart”  will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley.

In addition to family entertainment and activities, the 22nd annual event — sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, MN Adopt and other partners — will feature information for those considering adoption. Experts from state, county and nonprofit organizations will be available to answer questions. The event and parking are free and open to the public.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Lisa Bayley said adoption of children from foster care is an option she hopes more families will consider.

“New families are created through adoption every day throughout Minnesota,” she said. “Adoption of children from foster care means more children can find permanent, loving and nurturing families. We are always looking for more families willing to open their hearts and homes to adopting children from foster care.”

Of the 905 foster children still waiting:

  • 43% are 12 to 18 years old, 28% are 6 to 11 and 29% are under 6
  • 59% are siblings who need to be adopted together
  • 39% are white, 29% are black/African American, 5% are American Indian, 2% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 24% are two or more races and 1% are unknown/declined to identify
  • 64% have special needs, including physical, mental, emotional or behavioral disabilities.

“Foster children, particularly sibling groups and older youth who often wait in the foster care system the longest, need permanent families now,” Harpstead said. “Becoming part of safe, nurturing, permanent families will help them heal and develop into healthy adults.”

More adoption information is available from country or tribal social service agencies or MN Adopt at or