Whether you are an expectant mother, have already given birth, or are a potential adoptive couple, understanding Missouri’s adoption process is important.
Private adoption is also known as a domestic or independent adoption. It involves a birth mother voluntarily placing her baby or young child with a qualified adoptive couple through an adoption agency.
Choosing the Right Adoption Agency
Finding a reputable adoption agency you are comfortable with is the place to begin. Look for an agency that offers personal, professional guidance. Every adoption situation is unique, and you need an agency that will take the time to learn your story and counsel you wisely.
A licensed (certified) agency can perform adoption services within the state and across the nation. These agencies must comply with local, state, and federal laws. You are choosing the safest, most-qualified adoption specialist to handle your case.
The agency you choose should offer choices. What type of adoption plan is right for you? Can you look at several potential adoptive parent biographies? Can the agency help you complete a home study and put together your bio? The more services the agency has, the more confident you will feel.
A Helpful Staff
Counseling should also be available for the birth family and the potential adoptive couple. Adoption is an emotional experience for everyone, and you need an agency familiar with materials, private groups, and personal counselors to assist you.
Choosing the Right Adoption Plan
How much contact the two parties wish to have after the finalization of the adoption determines the best adoption plan. Both parties must accept an open, semi-open, or closed plan to have a perfect match. Generally, potential adoptive couples will agree to whatever contact the birth mother wants.
With an open or semi-open adoption plan, everyone agrees to continue communication. In an open plan, a birth mother places her trust in the adoptive family she chooses to honor their written post-adoption contact agreement. The post-adoption agreement is filed with the courts at or before the finalization of the adoption.
A closed adoption plan requires everyone to acknowledge they want to remain anonymous and that there will be no contact during the process or after.
Missouri Family Court
Once the parties agree to a plan and are matched, the next step in the process involves the courts. In Missouri, a birth mother must wait a minimum of 48 hours after giving birth before she signs the termination of parental rights.
Once parental rights are terminated, the adoption process moves to the Missouri family courts. The courts determine child custody, establish paternity, and grant adoptions. No matter what action takes place, the law instructs the courts to always act in the child’s best interest.
The birth mother, her child, and the potential adoptive couple must be represented individually in court. The adoptive couple covers all legal fees for the birth mother and child. Once the child lives with the adoptive family for six months, they file a Petition to Adopt, and the adoption is finalized.
Are You Interested in Pursuing a Private Adoption?
Contact A Gift of Hope Adoptions if you want more information about private adoptions in Missouri. We are a full-service, fully licensed agency that can assist both expectant and birth mothers and potential adoptive couples.
Fill out our confidential online contact form, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.