If you are a couple hoping to adopt, the process seems challenging. Adoption is an emotional decision. Therefore, you should work with an adoption professional who can guide you every step of the way.
Beginning the Adoption Process
As an adoptive parent, you have a lot to consider before you even start the adoption process. You need to decide what type of adoption you want. Are you looking for a public or private domestic or international adoption?
You should also consider if you are open to any race, gender, special needs, or prenatal exposures during pregnancy. Consider how much ongoing contact with the birth mom or birth family you would be open to as well.
Next, complete a home study and a personal profile. Once your profile is finished, it will be shown to potential expectant moms or birth moms. Your wait time will be determined by how soon you are chosen.
Requirements for Adoption in Missouri
There are specific requirements for an individual or couple who wishes to adopt. Adoptions differ depending on the needs of the birth mother and the ability of the adoptive family. Generally, these are the requirements you must have to adopt in Missouri:
- Must be over the age of 21
- Be in good physical and mental health
- Pass a child abuse and criminal record background check (including fingerprints)
- Have a stable income
- Live in a structure (house, apartment, etc.) that meets licensing standards (agree to a “home study”)
- Be willing to work with the child’s birth family (if applicable)
- Everyone must be fully committed to the adoption process
Depending on who you choose to work with, there may be certain adoption limitations. For instance, there is no legal age restriction for adoption in Missouri, but many lawyers and agencies suggest age 50 as the cutoff date. Different limitations are also in place for international adoptions, adopting out of foster care, and interstate adoptions.
Financial Expectations in Missouri
In Missouri, it’s illegal to “pay” someone in exchange for their consent to an adoption. Sadly, there are shady adoption “representatives” who will suggest this as an option. Possible scams are one more reason to work with a reputable adoption professional.
You may be asked, however, to pay for certain expenses for your birth mom. Missouri has specific standards for what is considered reasonable and unreasonable expenses for private, domestic adoption. Generally, the types of expenses commonly allowed by statute include:
- Maternity-related medical and hospital costs
- Temporary living expenses of the mother during pregnancy
- Counseling services
- Reasonable legal fees
- Travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for court appearances or accessing services
Placement in Missouri
After a child is born, the birth mother must wait at least 48 hours before giving consent to terminate her parental rights. If both birth parents gave consent properly, it becomes final and cannot be changed. As a result, the right of a birth parent to change their mind afterward is limited. Finalization usually occurs six months after placement with the adoptive family.
Many of the requirements for adoption are easier to fulfill when adoptive families choose a qualified agency. An agency will put together the necessary paperwork, set up the court hearing, and assist you through the process. They also help you obtain a new birth certificate and other records.
Let Us Assist You
A Gift of Hope Adoptions is a licensed Missouri adoption agency based in Columbia, Missouri. Not only do we serve the entire state, but we can also assist you if you are located outside of Missouri. If you want to adopt, we are here to serve you. Although adoption is an emotional and challenging journey, we promise to be alongside you every step of the way. Contact us today.