How to Adopt a Baby in Missouri in 5 Steps
And Everything Else You Need to Know About Adopting in MO
Adopting a child could be the best decision you’ll ever make. Beginning or growing a family through adoption is life-changing and beautiful. But, it can also be confusing. Most people approach the adoption process full of questions. Where do you even begin? How do you adopt a baby in Missouri?
If these are the questions you’re currently asking, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to give you the answers you need. As all states do, the Show-Me State has its own sets of laws and practices when it comes to adoption, so brushing up on your knowledge when hoping to adopt is a great place to start.
If you are ready to begin this process now, or if you have questions about how to adopt a child in MO as you’re reading, you can always reach an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about adopting a child in Missouri.
How to Adopt a Baby in Missouri
The adoption process can be complex, and it goes a little differently for everyone. No two adoption journeys are exactly alike, but most do follow the same general steps:
Step 1: Assess Your Readiness and Meet the Requirements to Adopt in Missouri
The first step to adopt a baby in Missouri — or in any state — is to actually commit to the process. Adoption is one amazing way of becoming a family, but it’s not the right path for everyone. Before you can begin the process to adopt a child in MO, it’s important to explore all your options, research the process and be certain this is something you’re ready to do. If you previously struggled with infertility, it’s crucial that you work through any lingering feelings of grief or loss and ensure you and your partner are on the same page before leaping into adoption.
Anyone who dreams of becoming a parent should pursue that dream. Regardless of your circumstances, you deserve to see your hopes turn into reality. Sometimes, there are requirements imposed by the state or by an adoption agency in order to begin the process. To adopt a baby in Missouri with American Adoptions, we have a few requirements. You must:
Be between the ages of 22 and 50, although exceptions may be made in some cases
Make sure both spouses are fully committed to adoption
Understand that the adoption process brings with it many ups and downs
To learn more about the requirements for adopting a baby in Missouri, read our complete guide to MO adoption requirements.
Step 2: Choose an Adoption Professional
Choosing an adoption professional may be the most important decision you make when you adopt a child in Missouri. The professional you select will set the tone for your adoption experience and guide you through this journey, so it’s important to pick an organization that can provide the services, support and guidance you need.
You have many choices of adoption agencies in Missouri, along with other professionals like attorneys. However, if you are hoping to adopt a baby in Missouri, you will want to work with a domestic infant adoption agency like American Adoptions. We are a national agency licensed in multiple states, including Missouri, with headquarters just over the state line in Kansas. This means our staff is well-versed in local adoption procedures and can provide every service you’ll need to adopt a newborn baby in Missouri from start to finish — along with offering all the benefits of a large, national organization, including added regulation, lower wait times, financial protection and more.
To start your adoption journey with American Adoptions today, call 1-800-ADOPTION now.
Step 3: Complete the Adoption Home Study in Missouri and Become a Waiting Family
Before adopting a child in Missouri, you’ll be required to complete a home study. This is an assessment of your suitability to adopt performed by a licensed social worker. It evaluates not only your readiness to adopt, but also prepares you for the process and serves to help match you with potential birth parents.
The necessary home study for adopting a baby in Missouri has three components:
A documentation phase
A home inspection
The home study can be intimidating at first, but the important thing to remember is that this process is designed to prepare you for adoption. For more information about the adoption home study, read the guide to adoption home studies in Missouri.
At this stage in the process, you will also need to complete some other steps before you can become an active waiting family with American Adoptions. These include completing your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ), which details the types of adoption opportunities your family feels prepared for, and completing your print and video profiles, which will be shown to prospective birth mothers who are looking for an adoptive family.
Once you have successfully completed these steps, you will officially be an active adoptive family — meaning you could be chosen by a prospective birth mother at any time!
Step 4: Find an Adoption Opportunity in Missouri
When you adopt a baby in Missouri, you don’t go through the process on your own. American Adoptions helps hundreds of families find adoption opportunities each year. Our success is in large part due to the range of services we offer, including:
Advertising and Marketing. American Adoptions has its own media team that works to reach pregnant women considering adoption in Missouri and across the country. The more women considering adoption we connect with, the more opportunities we’ll have to present to adoptive families that work with us (and vice versa.) This service is invaluable for anyone hoping to adopt a baby in Missouri, because it leads to lower wait times and better adoption opportunities.
Screening and Counseling. The women who choose American Adoptions to help place their child for adoption receive 24/7 access to educational resources and counseling from our adoption specialists. There will never be a time when a prospective birth mother can’t reach us for help or advice, or simply to talk through what she’s experiencing. The happier and more secure she is in her adoption decision, the lower the risk of an adoption disruption, and the better for everyone involved.
Adoptive Family Profiles and Video Profiles. Our media team works to create materials to show prospective birth mothers who you are and what a child’s life would be like if raised in your home. It’s tough to convey, which is why we create video profiles as well. A woman doesn’t just have to read your account of your home life; she can actually see you living it.
Ultimately, it is up to a prospective birth mother to choose the perfect adoptive parents for her baby, which is why the wait to adopt a baby in Missouri can sometimes be unpredictable. However, American Adoptions’ services are designed to minimize wait times for adoptive families, and your adoption specialist will be there to support you every step of the way.
Once you are chosen for an adoption opportunity, you will likely have the opportunity to get to know the potential birth mother and begin developing a relationship with her. This can be nerve-wracking for some adoptive parents, but your adoption specialist will help you prepare and mediate your conversations as needed.
Step 5: Meet Your Baby and Finalize Your Adoption in Missouri
There’s nothing quite like holding your baby for the first time. For most of American Adoptions’ families, this moment takes place at the hospital shortly after the baby is born.
Your adoption specialist will notify you when the prospective birth mother is in labor and it is time to travel to the hospital. Depending on the prospective birth mother’s wishes and your relationship with her, you may have an opportunity to interact with her during this time. She will be able to legally consent to the adoption sometime after the birth of the baby, and you will be able to take your child home when he or she is discharged. But the adoption process doesn’t end there.
Every adoptive parent looks forward to their finalization hearing, and it makes complete sense. After all, that’s the day your child is officially and legally yours! However, a few steps must happen before you’re truly finished adopting a newborn baby in Missouri. As an adoptive parent, these are some terms you should be familiar with concerning the legal adoption process in Missouri:
Termination of Parental Rights. In Missouri, biological parents cannot terminate their parental rights (sign their consents to the adoption) until the baby is at least 48 hours old.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) Clearance. If you adopted your child from outside Missouri, or if you travel from out of state to adopt a baby born in Missouri, you will need to comply with all ICPC guidelines. ICPC was put in place to make sure that all adoptions between states, which frequently have different adoption laws, are all legal and ethical.
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Clearance. ICWA was put in place to protect tribal children and to keep them with other Indian families when possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t adopt a Native American child, but it does mean that there may be additional steps for you to complete if you aren’t a member of a tribe yourself.
Post-Placement Visits. Prior to your finalization hearing, your home study provider will visit you at home to ensure everyone is adjusting appropriately to the newest member of the family.
This is just a brief primer — there’s much more to the legal process of adoption. For more information about the final legal steps of adopting a baby in the Missouri, read our guide to adoption finalization in Missouri.
Missouri Adoption Laws
Since adoption laws vary from state to state, it’s helpful to know all about them before beginning the process to adopt a child in Missouri. A few Missouri laws you may need to know are:
Any adult or married couple can adopt in Missouri.
Individuals with a criminal background may be able to adopt, but if those crimes were violent or involved children, it’s not likely that the person would be eligible.
Adoptive parents can advertise for prospective birth parents in Missouri.
Adoptive parents can also pay for pregnancy-related expenses for the birth parents.
Missouri does have a putative father registry.
A birth mother can consent to an adoption once 48 hours have passed since the baby’s birth.
A birth father may consent to an adoption at any point after the baby is born.
For more information about laws concerning adopting a baby in Missouri, read our complete guide to Missouri adoption laws. Keep in mind, though, that these laws are subject to change, and nothing you read online should be taken as legal advice — instead, you’ll have your own adoption attorney to guide you through the legal process and explain any adoption laws that may impact you.
Other Ways to Adopt a Child in MO
There are many ways to become a family, and adopting an infant in Missouri is only one of them. While American Adoptions specializes only in domestic infant adoptions, we want to make sure you understand all of your family-building options in Missouri before you start this process.
In general, there are two other types of adoption you can explore:
Foster Care and Adoption in Missouri
There are thousands of children in the Missouri foster care system, and many of them are in need of adoption. These are children who have been removed from their homes for reasons such as neglect, abuse, or parents who are unable to care for them for other reasons. While the primary goal for most children in foster care is reunification with biological family, this option is impossible for some, and they in turn need to find love, permanency and security through adoption.
For some hopeful parents, adopting a child in Missouri who’s older is a better fit than adopting a baby in Missouri. If so, adopting from the foster care system may be a perfect option. The cost associated with becoming a foster parent is much lower than other types of adoption, although there are unique challenges associated with the foster-to-adopt process. For more information about how to become a foster parent or how to adopt from the foster system, read the guide to foster care adoption in Missouri.
International Adoption in Missouri
If you’re a Missouri family interested in adopting a child from another country, this is an option for you as well. While American Adoptions only serves families in the domestic infant adoption process, we can absolutely help you learn about adopting children from a foreign country.
When pursuing international adoption, there are two big choices to make (after, of course, settling on adopting from overseas):
Choose a country from which to adopt. This will depend on several of your personal preferences, but it will also shape the way your adoption takes place.
Choose an agency to help you complete your international adoption. This will be a decision you must make after choosing a country to adopt from, as some international adoption professionals specialize in certain regions.
The rest of the international adoption process will vary depending on those two choices. For more information about international adoption for Missouri families, check out this overview of international adoption in Missouri.
When it comes to adopting a child in Missouri, there’s a lot to learn. These guides are a great place to start. For more information about a private domestic adoption in Missouri, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request more free information here.
Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.