5 Roads to Adoption for Adoptive Parents in Missouri

In Missouri there are “five roads” to adoption. You see, outside of stepparent adoption, there are really five different paths, or roads, that families can walk down that could lead them to adoption.

Once you start on a particular Missouri adoption road, it won’t intercept the others again. So, if you decide to adopt through a Missouri adoption agency, you won’t also hear about available children in the Missouri foster system or available for international adoption. It’s important that you choose the adoption road that is right for you.

Foster to Adopt

If you are considering adopting and are open to an older child, I strongly recommend you explore adoption through the State of Missouri Department of Social Services program. 

This road really meets two specific interests a lot of adoptive parents have for adoption. 

First, it allows them to “help” a child. You see, there is a misunderstanding around adoption where people say, “I want to adopt because I know there are so many babies that need a home.” But that’s incorrect. Honestly, in Missouri, we have no trouble finding homes for any baby. However, as the child gets older it’s harder to find them an adoption placement. There are hundreds of older children and teens in Missouri that are adoption ready now. Adopting through the children’s division allows you to help a child that might not otherwise get a forever family. 

Second, it is free. The costs and financial expenses of some roads to adoption are shocking. Foster to adoption is the cheapest way to adopt and can have the greatest impact. You can’t beat free.

The biggest negative is that a child only goes in the system if they’ve experienced child abuse or neglect. So, special care is needed. Age is also a factor. It can be difficult for a person to adopt an infant through the foster care system. It is much easier in Missouri to get a child between 6-18 years old. 

The judge may wish to see a higher level of preparedness and education from your family before granting your adoption in Missouri. If you are open to adopting through the foster care system, check out the Missouri Department of Social Services https://dss.mo.gov/cd/adoption/ where you can learn all about the adoption process.

International Adoption

Adopting internationally is an expensive journey and you need to be really passionate about in order for it to make sense. You utilize a private international adoption agency, who may have a local office, to find an available child in another country. 

This private adoption process can take years of waiting for the search and then court hearings before the child gets adopted and you get to parent. It’s very hard to get a baby. It may be impossible unless the children are over a certain age or have special needs. 

Private international adoption costs depend upon which country you adopt from and their travel requirements, but it usually costs adoptive parents tens-of-thousands of dollars as travel related, legal expenses and agency fees add up. 

The upside to the parent for this type of adoption is that you may be truly saving the child’s life. Even kids here in Missouri with a poor foster parent (thankfully there are very few) will have basic needs met. 

However, there are places in the world where a baby who isn’t adopted will likely die. It’s important to do extra research in this area as some international adoption agencies have had more legal and ethics complaints than others. 

Adoption Agency

This, and the next two roads of the adoption process are the most common services for our office. 

These roads allow couples to adopt infants born in Missouri and often allow ongoing contact between the mothers and children after the adoption. The costs vary greatly between the options for the adoptive parent. 

In Adoption Agencies, you work with a private licensed Missouri agency who walks your family through the process, with adoption specialists there for you and social workers to care well for the birth parents. Agencies can be a great road to the adoption of a baby. 

While fees vary greatly, most private agencies charge between $15-35k depending upon the care, services, and resources the birth parents need through the process. I recommend agency adoption to families wanting to adopt a baby. 

Private agencies are the best way to make sure everybody’s needs are met in adoption. The best private agencies will care well for the birth mother while walking confidently with the adopting parents and looking out for the child’s interests. 

We do adoption legal work for some of the biggest private agencies in America and have helped hundreds of families bring their baby home. 

Doctor/Attorney/Clergy Placements

Missouri law allows a baby to be placed by a local doctor, an attorney, or clergy. Heimer Law, in Missouri, will help match babies to adoptive parents and provide legal finalization. 

Every adoption attorney is different. Generally, you get less attention that you would from an adoption agency but sometimes that can mean lower cost adoptions. 

Most Heimer Law adoptions cost less than an agency adoption and our goal is for our adoptions to be fully reimbursed by the federal adoption tax credit. 

A negative of using an attorney may be a slower adoption. Agencies invest more to find expectant moms and birth moms. Instead, we make contact with local Missouri hospitals, social workers, non-profit agencies, crisis pregnancy centers and others to offer our services to mothers and their baby.

Birth Mother Placement

Here you find the local child on your own. It is actually one of the most common forms of adoption in Missouri. There is so much opportunity if you cast a wide net. 

Couples who want to adopt that they should tell their prospective plan to everybody they know. Who knows where the connection might come from? A woman who hasn’t chosen a family to place with will often times see you as a solution to their crisis. This means you aren’t competing with other families to get chosen and the birth mom and baby can still get great care if you bring an attorney with a social worker into the process as soon as possible.  

The other great thing about this is that the costs to do adoptions is far less if you don’t require being matched to the child. This means that your entire adoption could cost only a few thousand dollars for legal services and birth costs. 

Of course, the downside to this type of adoption is that it isn’t easy to find an available children and it can be hard to decide to be vulnerable to let everyone you know in on your desire to adopt.

These roads can be long, and bumpy, and expensive for prospective adoptive parents…but they are your options. If you want to adopt, choose the road best for you and start walking. Your child may be at the other end

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