How to Adopt in Mississippi
Mississippi isn't just the home to famous people like Elvis Presley; it's also home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Mississippi.
What you need to know about adopting a baby in Mississippi
To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked questions about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Mississippi.
What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Mississippi?
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be financially self-sufficient
Have knowledge and understanding of:
- Child development
- Separation, loss and attachment issues
- The type of children who are in need of placement
- Appropriate child behavior management practices
- Have sufficient mental, physical, cognitive, and emotional capacities
- Be able to protect the child from harm and give them affection
The Adoptive home must:
- Have a working telephone
- Have sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation
- Have an operable fire extinguisher
- Have at least 1 smoke detector in each bedroom and living area
- Have interior plumbing and clean drinking water
- Have a safe and secure place to store any hazardous chemicals or firearms
- Be clean and sanitary with adequate facilities
How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Mississippi?
- Medical and hospital bills acquired by the Birth Mother in connection to her pregnancy and birth of the child
- Legal and agency fees
- Counseling services for the Birth Mom
- Reasonable living expenses for the Birth Mom during her pregnancy
How do you become a Foster Parent in Mississippi?
- Be at least 21 years old
- Be a legal resident of Mississippi
- Pass a criminal background check
- Have no more than 4 children living in your home
- Be financially self-supporting
In addition to meeting these requirements, you must complete the necessary forms, pass a criminal background check, and complete the training requirements. To learn more about the Foster Parent licensing process, click here
What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Mississippi?
An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.
In Mississippi, only a licensed person or agency may assist or facilitate services related to adoption of a child.
Click here to read about the difference between adoption agencies, attorneys, and facilitators.
What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Mississippi
If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Mississippi.
Who must consent to an adoption in Mississippi?
- The parent, or surviving parent of the child
- If both parents are dead, then any two adult kin of the child within the third degree
- The guardian ad litem of an abandoned child
- A person having custody of the child, except if they are the Foster Parent
- The agent of the county department of human services that has placed a child in foster care, either by agreement or by court order
- The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old
When is consent not necessary for adoption in Mississippi?
Consent to adoption will not be required of a parent who has had his or her parental rights terminated.
When can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Mississippi?
Consent to adoption in Mississippi may not be given prior to 72 hours after the child’s birth.
What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Mississippi?
A ‘Parent’ is the Father or Mother to whom the child has been born, or the Father or Mother by whom the child has been legally adopted.
In Mississippi, a man who is married to the Birth Mom when the child is born is assumed to be the Birth Father, therefore granting him parental rights to the child.
In the case of a child born out of wedlock, the Birth Father does not have a right to object to an adoption unless, within 30 days after the child’s birth, he has demonstrated a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood. The Birth Father may also establish his parentage by filing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity that is also signed by the child’s Birth Mom.
Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Mississippi
Prospective Adoptive Parents in Mississippi are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.
What is a home study and what happens during the process?
The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to ask questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.
- Central registry checks
- Sex offender registry check
- A record check evaluation
- A local criminal background check for anyone living in the home who is at least 14 years old
- At least 4 references, 1 of which may be a family member
- A home safety inspection
A minimum of 3 home visits and 4 interviews with the family as follows:
- the first home visit to include a joint interview of the applicant to get to know them
- the second home visit to include 2 interviews, 1 with each individual applicant
- the third home visit to include another joint interview to focus of the parenting plan
Who oversees a home study in Mississippi and who is included in it?
In Mississippi, the Prospective Adoptive Parents and everyone living in their home must be included in the home study process.
For a child in the custody of the Department of Child and Family Services, an adoption specialist from the department will conduct the study. A resource specialist will conduct the home study for all other types of adoption.
Why would my home study not be approved in Mississippi?
- A felony against a spouse
- A felony against a child, including child pornography, abuse or neglect
- A felony physical assault, battery, or drug-related offense within the last 5 years
- A crime involving violence, including sexual assault, rape, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery
- The minimum qualifications to adopt are not met
- Conditions within the home would cause harm to the child
- A person with responsibility of transporting the child has been deemed a high-risk driver
- Has been involved in illegal activities
- Has a history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Refuses to work with the Department of Family and Child Services
- Makes ethnic or racial slurs about certain groups of people or expresses other extremist views during the home study process
A person living in the home:
- Refuses to complete a criminal background check
- Has committed one of the previously listed disqualifying crimes
- Has a record of child maltreatment
Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, the 6-month postplacement supervisory period is not required for a stepparent or relative adoption.
First priority to adoption of a child in need of out-of-home placement will be given to a relative of the child, but they must get licensed to be a resource family within 90 days of placement. The Department of Family and Child Services may waive the licensing requirements, if they decide and it is in accordance with Federal regulation.
What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?
Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?
Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.
- At least 2 visits per month
- The first visit within the first 2 weeks of the child’s placement
- Interviews with the child if her or she is old enough to hold a conversation
After this supervisory period, the person conducting the assessment will make a recommendation as to whether or not the adoption should be finalized.
What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, a Foster Parent who has had a child in their care for at least 6 months will be given first consideration when the child is legally eligible for adoption. The initial home study to become a Foster Parent, called an adoption addendum, and any other documents deemed necessary must be submitted within 60 days of the child being freed for adoption. Within 10 days of receiving these documents, the adoption specialist will approve or deny the request for a foster to adopt placement.
Mississippi Adoption Professionals
Mississippi is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:New Beginnings Adoption and Family Services
662-842-6752Bethany Christian Services
601-366-4282Beacon House Adoption Services Inc.
228-897-7755Canopy Children's Solutions
Things to do in Mississippi
If your adoption journey brings you to Mississippi, visit some of the States most popular sites as you wait to meet your new child or finalize the process:
U.S.S Cario Museum in Vicksburg
Natchez Trace Parkway in Tupelo
A note from Adoption Network Law Center
No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Mississippi. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.