Brydon Law

How Do I Legally Adopt a Child?

How Do I Legally Adopt a Child?

If you and your spouse have considered adoption, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable adoption lawyer. The process requires a serious investment in time, emotions, and possibly money. But adoption is a wonderful way to create or add to your family. 

What Is Adoption? 

Adoption legally transfers parental rights from a child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. Once the process is complete, the adopted child is treated by law as if he or she had been naturally born to the adoptive parents. They are entitled to the same inheritance rights as any biological child. 

What Are The Types Of Adoption?

There are many ways to create a family. Various types of adoptions include private adoption through an agency, state adoption from foster care, and stepparent adoption. 

Private Adoptions

When a woman chooses to place her newborn or young child for adoption through an agency, it’s considered a private adoption. Generally, a potential adoptive couple has already consented to background checks, a home study, proof of income, and other investigations. 

The couple creates a biographical account of their family life, home, hobbies, events, and other important facts. A birth mother selects an adoptive family for her child after looking through a number of different bios.

To legally protect your adoption, choose an agency that is fully licensed. Being fully licensed means they are held to the highest standards as mandated by local, state, and federal laws. After the child is legally placed in a couple’s home, there is a waiting period of six months before the court enters a final decree of adoption.

State Adoptions

Children who are placed in foster care have generally been removed from their homes due to neglect, abuse, or abandonment. If the birth parent’s parental rights have been terminated, the child becomes eligible for adoption. 

In order to adopt out of foster care, the couple either becomes foster parents of the child with the intention of adopting, or they take foster care training and orientation. Training is required because many children in foster care have endured trauma and need special attention.

The goal of the foster care system is always reunification with a birth relative, if possible. As a result, the average age of a child available for adoption in foster care is around eight years. 

A couple wanting to adopt from foster care still needs to complete a home study and state and federal background checks. Proof of income, mental stability, and physical health are also taken into consideration.

Stepparent Adoption

Stepparent adoptions are very common today. Formally adopting a stepchild is an important legal step. It solidifies the child’s right to inheritance, offers them a sense of permanency, and gives the adopting parent legal access to medical and school records.

As with other adoptions, stepparent adoption requires background checks, the consent of the birth parent, and legal finalization. Depending on the state or the situation, some steps, like a home study, can be skipped.

It’s possible that the other biological parent will need to relinquish their parental rights in order for the adoption to take place. Further, if the child is 14 or older, they must give written consent and agree to the adoption.

How Our Adoption Lawyers Can Help

Our experienced adoption attorneys represent families in various adoption proceedings throughout Mid-Missouri. We’re familiar with state adoption laws and county procedures and can fully explain the adoption process to you.

Attorney Scott Hamblin regularly handles adoptions in Mid-Missouri and is actively involved with the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association. In addition to representing adoptive parents, Scott serves as an experienced family lawyer and paternity lawyer. 

Adoption is a different experience for everyone. Depending on the reason for the adoption, the type of adoption, and the legal requirements, situations vary. Make sure you have a knowledgeable attorney who understands the law and can ensure as smooth a process as possible. Contact us if adoption is in your future.

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