10 Questions You Have About Missouri Adoption Laws
And How the Answers Could Impact Your Adoption
Adoption is a complex process for a number of reasons. Obviously, it’s delicate. We’re dealing with family here — the lives of hopeful parents, a prospective birth mother and a child are in the balance. The emotional and personal aspects of the process are weighty. And there are other elements, too, that make adoption complicated. Here, we’re talking about adoption laws in Missouri for families hoping to adopt.
First, some good news: whether it’s the emotional or legal elements of adoption, you don’t have to go through it alone. An adoption specialist with American Adoptions can guide you through every step along the way. Still, you may have some questions about what the state’s laws are regarding adoption. Because adoption laws change from state to state, understanding the process can be somewhat difficult. To help matters, we’ve compiled some of the Missouri adoption laws that might affect you in one place.
Please note that laws do change from time to time, so it’s always best to make sure you’re up to date with your attorney or adoption agency — nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. Having a professional to walk you through each step of the legal process is invaluable. Fortunately, American Adoptions is always available to help when you call 1-800-ADOPTION or reques more information online.
In the meantime, here are some of the most common questions we hear about Missouri adoption laws.
Who can adopt in Missouri?
Any adult or married couple can adopt according to adoption laws in Missouri. LGBT status is not addressed in the state’s laws, nor is state residency an issue. As long as a prospective adoptive parent completes a MO home study and approval process, he or she can adopt in the state of Missouri. However, you should also ask questions about adoption eligibility to your specific adoption agency, as they may have further requirements.
Can felons adopt in Missouri?
It depends on the nature of the felony. If it’s of a violent crime or involving children, then the answer to this question is most likely no. When going through the home study process, your home study provider will speak with you about the nature of the felony, what you’ve learned from it, and how you’ve changed to see if you’re eligible to adopt a child. The Missouri adoption laws concerning criminal background differ from adoption laws in other states, so you should always ask your adoption specialist if you are concerned about this.
Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents in Missouri?
Yes, although advertising (attempting to locate a prospective birth mother) on your own is very difficult and can result in a much higher chance of not finding a successful adoption placement. It’s best to work with an adoption agency that can create your adoption profile for you and help you through the process of finding an adoption opportunity.
Can adoptive parents pay for birth parent expenses?
Yes. Adoptive parents may pay for pregnancy-related expenses for the birth parents. Under Missouri adoption laws, this may include medical costs for the potential birth mom, counseling, legal expenses, and living expenses, such as food, rent, utilities, transportation and clothing. Birth parent expenses are one factor out of several in the overall cost associated with the adoption process.
Does Missouri have a putative father registry?
Yes. This is a record of the names and addresses of men who believe they are the fathers of children born outside of marriage. If a man wants to officially claim that he is the father of a child born out of wedlock, he can put his name on the putative father registry before paternity is established. This will allow him to be contacted to give or deny consent to the child’s adoption should the mother choose that route. (Note: His denial of consent does not automatically mean the adoption cannot continue.)
Questions concerning the father of the baby are incredibly complicated. Most of these situations are handled on a case-by-case basis. If you have more questions, you should ask your adoption specialist about birth father rights in Missouri adoption laws.
What rights does a birth father have in Missouri?
Birth father rights in Missouri adoption laws are complex, and they vary by situation. To speak with an adoption professional about your personal situation, call 1-800-ADOPTION.
When can a birth mother consent to adoption in Missouri?
A birth mother can officially consent to the adoption 48 hours or more after the baby is born, according to adoption laws in Missouri.
When can a birth father give consent to adoption in Missouri?
The birth father can give his consent at any point after the baby is born.
When can a woman withdraw consent to adoption in Missouri?
She can withdraw at any point until the court has approved her consent to adoption, which must take place within three business days.
Who has to consent to an adoption in Missouri?
Missouri requires that the mother, as well as any other legally recognized parents, give their consent to adoption. For example, if the man who is presumed to be the father has filed with the putative father registry or acted to determine paternity within 15 days of the child’s birth, he must consent to the adoption as well.
If the child is 14 years of age or older, he or she must consent to the adoption as well, unless the court deems the child mentally incapable of doing so.
Again, please remember that these Missouri adoption laws are subject to change, and that this information should not be taken as legal advice. For more information about the adoption process in Missouri with our agency, please call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free information here.
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