Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Missouri

Missouri isn't just home to the St. Louis Arch and the first ever Bass Pro Shops; 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 Missouri.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Missouri

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 Missouri.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Missouri?

To become an Adoptive Parent in Missouri, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check and child abuse registry check
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Be financially able to support the child
  • Complete a training and assessment program
  • Live in a home or apartment that passes safety requirements

To adopt, you can be single or married, and with or without children.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Missouri?

Expenses related to adoption in Missouri range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Hospital and medical bills related to the pregnancy
  • Counseling services for the Birth Parent or child for reasonable time before and after the adoption placement
  • Legal expenses, agency fees, and cost of travel related to the adoption
  • Costs of the pre-and postplacement assessments
  • Living expenses, including food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and clothing
  • Any other expenses approved in court

How do you become a Foster Parent in Missouri?

To become a Foster Parent in Missouri, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Complete preservice training and a home study assessment
  • Have a stable income
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Pass a child abuse and neglect check

You can be single or married, with or without children to become a Foster Parent.

What is a facilitator and is it legal to use their services for adoption in Missouri?

An adoption facilitator specializes in matching prospective Adoptive Families with expectant mothers; however, they are usually unlicensed and unregulated.

In Missouri, the use of a facilitator, such as an attorney, physician or clergyman of the parents, is considered legal as long as they comply with the rules and regulations of the Department of Social Services.

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 Missouri

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 Missouri.

Who must consent to an adoption in Missouri?

In Missouri, written consent to adoption must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • The man who is presumed to be the father, has acted to establish paternity no later than 15 days after the birth of the child, or has filed with the putative father registry
  • The child’s legal guardian or current Adoptive Parents
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Missouri?

Consent to adoption in Missouri is not required from the following:

  • A parent whose rights to the child have been terminated
  • A parent who has legally consented to the child’s future adoption
  • A parent whose identity is unknown
  • A parent who has a mental condition that is permanent and leaves them unable to care for the child
  • A parent who has abandoned a child for at least 6 months prior to petitioning for adoption
  • A man who has not established his paternity to the child, is not presumed by law to be the child’s father, and who gives a verified statement denying his paternity and interest in the child

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Missouri?

In Missouri, written consent to adoption from the Birth Mom cannot be given until 2 days after the child’s birth, and it must be given in front of a judge or notary public and 2 witnesses.

Written consent from the Birth Father can be given before or after adoption proceedings begin, and it must also be given in front of a judge or notary public and 2 witnesses.

The consent forms must state:

  • The Birth Mom understands the importance of identifying all possible Birth Fathers of the child and may provide the names of all such persons
  • The Birth Father understands that if he denies paternity but consents to the adoption, he waives any future interest in the child

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Missouri?

Consent is final and irrevocable once given, unless it is proven that the consent was not given voluntarily and was obtained under fraud or duress.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Missouri?

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and his or her Natural or Adoptive Parents. It includes the Mother and child relationship and the Father and child relationship.

A man is the ‘Presumed Father’ of a child if:

  • He and the Birth Mom are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage may be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination
    • If the marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation
  • After the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have married or attempted to marry each other, although the marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the bureau
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He is obligated to support the child pursuant to a written voluntary promise or by court order
  • An expert concludes that the blood tests show that the Alleged Parent is not excluded and that the probability of paternity is 98 percent or higher, using a prior probability of 0.5

In Missouri, a Putative Father Registry has been established for unmarried men who believe they have fathered a child to show their desire to prove paternity of the child and establish parental rights. The registry is for men who cannot find the Birth Mom of the child or who the Birth Mom is denying him ability to take a paternity test.

Paternity can also be established with an acknowledgment of paternity signed by both the Birth Mom and Father, or by a paternity law suit.

Once a man is granted paternity to the child, he has the right to help make decisions about adoption proceedings for the child.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Missouri

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Missouri 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.

  • Interviews with the applicants and other members living in the home
  • At least 2 in-home visits
  • A complete inspection of the home
  • At least 4 letters of recommendation; at least 1 from a previous employer, 1 from a relative, and 1 from a non-related person
  • A child abuse and neglect screening
  • A criminal background check
  • Written medical reports from everyone living in the home from the last 12 months
  • The social history of the applicants, including:
    • Marital history and current relationships
    • Interests and hobbies
    • Religious beliefs and practices
    • Financial status
    • Motivation to adopt
    • Education
    • Current employment and employment history
    • Family values, origin, and discipline styles
    • Location of residence and assessment of surrounding community
    • Physical and mental health, including any treatment or existing alcohol or drug abuse

Who oversees a home study in Missouri and who is included in it?

A home study in Missouri will include the Prospective Parents and anyone living in the home. It may be conducted by any of the following:

  • A social worker
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • A juvenile court officer
  • A professional counselor
  • The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed psychologist associated with a licensed child-placing agency
  • Anyone deemed suitable by the court

Why would my home study not be approved in Missouri?

A home study may not be approved in Missouri depending on the assessment of the Prospective Parents suitability to become a parent. If a criminal background check or child abuse registry check reveal the Prospective Parent had committed harmful acts to a child, the relevance of the findings will be determined by the person conducting the home study and may be grounds for disapproval.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Missouri?

In Missouri, the court may waive the home study assessment for stepparent and relative adoption; however, they must still go through a criminal background check.

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.

In Missouri, the postplacement assessment will be an update of the initial home study and a report of the child’s emotional, physical, and psychological state.

For a child younger than 3, the postplacement assessment will consist of:

  • Quarterly home visits until the adoption is final
  • Monthly telephone calls between the home visits
  • Regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

For a child older than 3, the assessment will consist of:

  • 1 home visit within the first 10 days of placement, then quarterly home visits until the adoption is final
  • Monthly telephone calls between the home visits
  • Regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

During the visits, interviews with the child and family will be conducted and the following will be discussed:

  • The child’s adjustment to the home and school
  • The role of each family member in caring for the child
  • How the family is discussing the child’s history with him or her
  • How extended family have reacted to the adoption
  • How the child has changed marital and sibling relationships
  • How the Adoptive Parents are coping with the added responsibilities of caring for the child

What are the requirements for a Foster to Adopt placement in Missouri?

A Foster Parent who is at least 18 years old and has had a child in their care for at least 9 months may file to adopt their Foster Child. They will be given first consideration for adoption once the child is legally free and their legal guardian parental rights have been terminated.

Missouri Adoption Professionals

Missouri 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:

Nightlight Christian Adoptions

636-797-4100

A Gift of Hope Adoptions

573-356-0025

The Adoption Exchange

1-800-554-2222

Adoptions with Love

1-800-722-7731

Things to do in Missouri

If you find yourself in Missouri awaiting adoption finalization or to meet your new baby, visit the states most popular attractions:

National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City

Silver Dollar City in Branson

Saint Louis Zoo

Missouri Botanical Garden in Saint Louis

City Museum of Saint Louis

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 Missouri. 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.