About Bellis

Founded in 1983, Bellis is a multi-service nonprofit with no political or religious affiliations or agenda. Its volunteers, including birth parents, adopted persons, adoptive parents and adoption social workers, bring adoption education and awareness into schools and communities. The organization also provides peer-based support services, including a healing weekend retreat specifically for birth mothers, as well as ongoing Adoption Connection gatherings for anyone with an adoption experience. Individuals and organizations in more than 50 Minnesota communities rely on Bellis, and its footprint has crossed the border into the St. Croix River Valley.

Our Accomplishments

Enlightening society’s perceptions of adoption

Bellis’ trained volunteers present accurate adoption education to thousands of high school students. Student surveys show the impact of this work: After hearing the presentation, 80% of students say they see adoption in a more positive light; 79% say they now understand how to talk about adoption in a more sensitive way. By educating young people about adoption, we strive to create a better informed, more understanding culture for those whose lives are touched by adoption. In many cases, we are the students’ main source of accurate adoption education. One teacher wrote: “The personal stories really opened everyone’s eyes. I think everyone is more educated now and has more of an open mind about the subject.”

Filling a gap in support services

While, in our experience, birth mothers generally do not regret the intentional plan they have made for their child and themselves, they can be caught unprepared for the stages of grief and acceptance that unfold in the months and years after placement. Bellis steps up to fill a gap in support services available to them. Bellis hosts a healing weekend retreat and opportunities for ongoing mentoring. Based on the positive impact of support offered to birth mothers, in 2017 Bellis is expanding services to include Adoption Connection gatherings, available to all adults with an adoption experience (birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted persons, birth and adoptive grandparents).

And, it should be noted, we are the only organization offering this range of support in Minnesota – and perhaps in the country.

What distinguishes our work?

We are not a child-placing facility.

We don’t facilitate adoptions. We aren’t in the “business” of adoption. Instead, we step in to educate communities and provide support where it is needed to help foster healthy women, children, and families in the communities across the state. Our funding comes primarily from individuals and foundations.

We are neither religious nor political.

Decisions around pregnancy are some of the most divisive in our society. Bellis works across the spectrum of personal and institutional beliefs and finds a neutral, nonjudgmental viewpoint best serves our mission. This philosophy is unchanged in the organization’s 30+ years.

We are

Volunteers from diverse adoption experiences make up our speakers bureau, committees and board leadership. These individuals create a network of support that is helpful to their adoption journey and, collectively, their stories build greater adoption awareness for their audiences of students and professionals.

Redefining our work & adoption

Before taking the name “Bellis,” this organization was known as “Adoption Option Council of Minnesota.” The name change, in October 2016, did not change the mission or purpose of our work to provide adoption education and support. Rather, it better defined the exciting growth in our volunteer base and in the reach of our programs.

Some of the presentations created before the name change are so powerful, we continue to use them, despite the now outdated brand, including this short film first revealed at our 2015 gala. It describes how our work is Redefining Adoption Today. We hope you’ll view it now.

Communications Archive


Spring 2016



Bellis wouldn't be where it is today without the help of our donors. Your contributions help us visit roughly 125 high school classrooms each year; offer quarterly training workshops for new volunteers; cultivate new partnerships with corporate, nonprofit and faith-based organizations; nurture connections with our friends in the foster care community; host one of the only birth mother retreats in the country and offer bi-monthly meetings for anyone with an adoption experience. Take a minute to watch the video and discover why Bellis depends on people like you.

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