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What are the adoption requirements in Missouri?

What are the adoption requirements in Missouri

The emotions surrounding adoption are constantly fluctuating. As a couple longing to build your family through adoption, you feel excitement one minute and fear the next. Before you begin the process, you need to know some basic requirements like age, living situation, marital status, etc. 

Which Adoption Scenario Is Right For You?

There are two types of adoption: state adoption through foster care and private adoption. When determining which one is right for you, there are several factors to consider. 

State Adoptions

When a child enters the foster care system, there has usually been trauma in the home. Abuse, addiction, neglect, or abandonment are some reasons. Missouri’s foster care goal is reunification with the birth parent(s) whenever possible.  

When that isn’t possible, the courts may terminate the birth parent’s parental rights. The child enters into the care and custody of the state, becoming available for adoption. State requirements to become an adoptive parent are:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Married or single
  • Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check, including fingerprints
  • Be in good health, both physically and mentally
  • Have a stable income
  • Participate in and complete pre-service training and assessment, including a home assessment.
  • A willingness to partner with members of the child’s family

Minimal cost is involved in the adoption of a child through the state. The state provides the home assessment and training free of charge and covers most other expenses.

Private Adoptions

A private adoption commonly occurs when a woman discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant.  Whether it’s her age, lack of financial and emotional support, the responsibility of caring for others, or a sexual assault, women choose to place their newborn or young child for adoption.

Private adoptions can occur through an adoption agency or directly through an adoption attorney.  Each agency has different requirements for adoption, but the general rules are:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check and child abuse registry check
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Be financially able to support the child
  • Live in a home or apartment that passes safety requirements
  • Create a personal portfolio, including photos and detailed lifestyle information

If you choose to work strictly through an attorney, you have an opportunity to tailor your adoption plan. An adoption attorney can terminate the birth parent’s parental rights, match a birth mother to potential adoptive couples, negotiating contact between both parties, arrange court appearances, and finalize the adoption. 

The cost of a private adoption varies greatly. As an adoptive parent, you may need to cover other adoption-related expenses such as: 

  • Medical costs related to the birth
  • Legal expenses or agency fees
  • Living expenses for the birth mother during her pregnancy 
  • Counseling services

How Our Adoption Lawyers Can Help

Our experienced adoption attorneys frequently represent families in adoptions throughout Mid-Missouri. We take the time to explain the adoption process and answer your questions. Our experienced family lawyers ensure a smooth adoption process.

Contact us if you want to know more about adoption through our law firm or need an attorney to assist you with your adoption.

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