Your Ultimate Guide to Missouri Adoption
Considering adoption in Missouri, or do you know an adoptive family that is? This guide is for you! We’ve included the information you need as you begin to explore Missouri adoption.
Whether it’s pursuing an adoption now, or waiting for a future adoption, we will answer your questions and prepare you for adoption in Missouri.
Making the Decision to Pursue Missouri Adoption
The first step in the Missouri adoption process is to decide if you are ready and able to adopt. If married and adopting with a spouse, it’s important you are on the same page.
Ask yourself these questions: Are you hoping to adopt an infant or an older child? Are you open to a sibling group adoption? Do you want a closed adoption or open? Are you prepared to adopt a child from a different race?
Adoption in Missouri is a life-changing journey. Luckily, adoptive parents have more information available than ever.
Getting Started in the Adoption Process
It is time to find your Missouri adoption expert! Some families know that they want to adopt a specific child already (your neighbor’s sister’s cousin is pregnant and wants to place with you) but most times, you need to be proactive to find the baby you hope to adopt in Missouri.
Whether you use us or another Missouri adoption counselor, your goal as a hopeful adoptive family is to learn the various roads to adoption and to find the best one for you. Check out our article on the different types of adoption so you can find the right one for you in the “5 Roads to Adoption for Adoptive Missouri Parents.”
Woohoo! We are Matched…Now What?
This is a huge step in the process! There is nothing like getting the call that you have been matched with a child for adoption. It is an incredible honor for a biological parent to choose you. You may have been waiting for this call for months and it is a huge relief to know that you are matched with your child.
So Much To Do, So Little Time
A person told me, “adoption can feel like a lot of hurry up and wait!” Now, we can estimate a due date for the child and prepare for your Missouri adoption finalization.
Here are some things we need to do between match and finalization.
Obtaining a home study is a legal process where a social worker visits your home and makes an assessment the living conditions and background. If you are adopting a child in Missouri, this will be done at least four times during the course of the adoption process. This ensures that there is no change in your circumstances which would make it unsafe for the adopted family member.
The results are written into the home study document and background report. It can seem scary to be evaluated. However, the home study is for the child’s safety, the biological parents’ peace of mind, and to prove to the judge who is prepared for adoptions. It is a requirement and like other adoptive parents before you, you will complete your home study too.
Retain an Adoption Attorney
The adoption attorney will walk with prospective parents and ensure the adoption process has been completed legally. It is very important that the professional cements your parental rights as well as permanently terminate the biological parents’ parental rights.
The law is a very broad field and it is important that the person or firm you select is an expert in adoption. Many family law attorneys claim that they do adoption, but most specialize in divorce work and only do the occasional stepparent adoption. Get an expert, adoptions are complicated.
This legal counselor will be working for your interests. That’s important because whether you adopt from a child welfare agency, an adoption agency, or directly from the birth parent, your attorney will be one of the only people in the process who is working specifically for the prospective adoptive parents’ interests.
Build a Relationship With the Biological Parents
If you intend to have an open adoption, or even an open pregnancy where the relationship ends after the child is born, it is important for the adoptive parents to learn about the mothers interests and hopes for the child as well as those of the father.
They may be placing this child for adoption for many reasons, including financial, their health, domestic abuse, need for emotional support, help with expenses, or others, but in my experience, they didn’t choose the adoptive family lightly and they always want what is best for the child.
If the biological mother and father wish in a private adoption, you may be invited to the delivery and get to spend time with the child in the hospital.
They should have a social worker or other professional who helps them develop a birth plan to lay out these expectations. If the birth mother and father connect well with the adoptive parents and feel their support, they will regularly contact them when labor begins and keep them updated throughout.
After the delivery, the adoptive parent or family usually gets to “room in” with the child and the child is usually discharged to them to care for until the adoption can be completed.
Complete the Adoption
To finalize the adoption and make it legal, the birth mother and father will have to each consent to the adoption. He can do it anytime after the birth but she will have to wait at least 48 hours.
Once they sign the consent, they cannot change their minds and revoke the consent. A judge will then adjudicate that the adoption is in the best interest of all involved and issue a Final Order for Adoption.
You Made It
This adoption process could take years. For most in Missouri, it takes less time but still costs the family a lot of money. Adoptions aren’t easy to complete, but they are worth the effort.
When you begin your search, make an assessment of the financial and emotional expenses for your family. If you are married, be willing to make compromises with each other and others you are related to. At the end of the day, do everything it takes to become a parent to a child ready for a loving home. Good luck as you explore this journey.
Heimer Law is licensed in Missouri and Arkansas and have helped hundreds of couples through adoption. Call us today at (417) 512-9867 or complete our Inquiry Form for a free consultation. We’ll help you get started on your adoption journey.