Rochester Couple Adopts Sibling Group, Expanding Their Family

Kristi and Donald Penza of Rochester have officially adopted two boys, ages 9 and 1-1/2, permanently adding them to their family. The Penzas, who already have two biological daughters, decided to become foster parents in January 2022 and went through months of paperwork, home visits, and training before being certified as foster parents in November 2022. The boys were placed with them in spring 2023, and the adoption was finalized on June 24, 2024. The Penzas are expecting another baby in October, which will bring their total number of children to five.

The Penzas are not alone in adopting a sibling group. Zach and Jarred Mattison, who recently moved from Rochester to the Twin Cities metro, are fostering five siblings, four of whom they plan to adopt. The eldest sibling will turn 18 before an adoption can occur.

Child adoptions in Minnesota have been declining in recent years due to various factors. The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption has significantly reduced international adoptions by addressing unethical practices. Additionally, better social services and financial support for families have led to fewer voluntary adoption placements.

The foster care system in Minnesota currently has 981 children under state guardianship, where the parental rights of their birth parents have been terminated. The goal is to reunite these children with their biological parents whenever possible. If reunification is not possible, the children enter state guardianship and become eligible for adoption.

Infant adoptions in Minnesota have a waiting list, as there are more couples looking to adopt infants than there are babies available. Birth mothers often choose adoptive parents who can provide a loving two-parent home. Open adoptions, where a connection with the biological family is maintained, are now preferred. A new law in Minnesota will allow adult adoptees access to the birth records of their biological families, ending closed adoptions in the state.

Adoptive parents face various challenges and rules throughout the adoption process. However, they also experience the joys of being parents and witnessing the growth and development of their adopted children. The Penzas and the Mattisons have found fulfillment in fostering and adopting children in need.

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