What You Need to Know About MO Adoption Requirements
Do You Meet the Requirements to Adopt in Missouri?
There are a lot of things to figure out when you’re considering adoption.
How does the adoption process work? What type of adoption agency can I work with? How will I find the right adoption opportunity?
These are all good and important questions, but let’s not run before we walk. There’s a bigger question that needs to be answered first: What are the requirements for adoption in Missouri, and do I meet them?
The adoption specialists at American Adoptions frequently hear questions about the adoption requirements in Missouri. These requirements for adopting a child vary depending on the type of adoption you’re pursuing and the adoption professional you choose to help guide you through the process.
To help you learn about the necessary qualifications to adopt a child in Missouri, this article is split into two different sections: one that covers the requirements to adopt a child through private domestic adoption and one that covers the requirements to adopt a child through Missouri’s foster care system.
Keep in mind, though, that requirements (and the exceptions that can be made to those requirements) can vary and are always subject to change. The best way to know for sure whether you meet the qualifications to adopt in MO is to contact an adoption specialist today.
Missouri Adoption Requirements for Private Domestic Adoption
Each state has its own laws surrounding the adoption process. While there are many similarities from state to state, there are also distinct differences. This includes each state’s unique requirements for adoption. Some of these adoption qualifications in Missouri are:
Marriage Requirements: Many couples wonder, “Do you have to be married to adopt in Missouri?” Marriage is not a legal requirement for adoption in Missouri. However, many adoption professionals do ask that you meet certain marriage requirements to work with the agency. You can learn more about American Adoptions’ requirements for adoptive parents here.
Age Requirements: If you’re wondering, “How old do you have to be to adopt?” the answer is that there is not a legal adoption age limit in Missouri. However, American Adoptions requests that adoptive families be between the ages of 22–50; age requirements vary slightly based on the adoption program you are pursuing, and exceptions may be made in some cases.
Criminal History: Sometimes prospective parents ask us, “Can a felon adopt a child in Missouri?” Having a felony on your record doesn’t necessarily bar you from adopting, but it’s going to depend on the nature of your felony. If it involved the abuse or neglect of a child, domestic violence or sexual assault, it’s unlikely that you will be able to adopt. Otherwise, adoption eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis. The social worker who completes your Missouri home study will speak with you about the situation to understand how long ago it happened and why, as well as whether or not you learned from the mistake and what you’ve done to correct it.
As a national adoption agency, American Adoptions has its own requirements to adopt a child that abide by laws in all states. American Adoptions, like many other adoption agencies, has several additional requirements to adopt in Missouri, as you can see above. These requirements are in place to ensure that every child placed through our agency is entering the best home possible. We also require that prospective adoptive parents:
Have moved on from infertility, if this is something that you have struggled with. Don’t rush the grieving process. If you’re still hoping to have a child biologically, this probably means you aren’t ready to pursue adoption.
Make sure both spouses are fully committed to adoption.
Understand that the adoption may bring with it many ups and downs. Such an emotional process is not an easy one for anyone involved — both birth parents and adoptive parents alike. Trust that your adoption professional will help you through these highs and lows.
To learn more about the requirements to adopt a baby in MO with American Adoptions, you can reach an adoption specialist any time at 1-800-ADOPTION.
Missouri Adoption Requirements for Adopting from Foster Care
While American Adoptions only completes domestic infant adoptions and cannot assist with foster care placements, it’s important to understand the differences in these processes (and their requirements) so you can choose the path that’s best for your family. The qualifications to adopt a child in Missouri from the foster care system are determined by the state, and are therefore a little different. According to Missouri foster guidelines, Missouri foster parents or adoptive parents from the foster system must:
Be 21 years of age or older
Have good physical and mental health
Have a stable income
Complete a child abuse and neglect check as well as a criminal background check
Live in a home — whether that’s an apartment, condo or house — that meets licensing standards
Complete a training and assessment process
Be willing to voice opinions and concerns
Be willing to partner with the child’s family
Missouri does not require that foster parents be married or that they have other children; you can be single and a first-time parent.
Keep in mind, though, that while the legal requirements for adopting a child in Missouri from foster care may be different, the emotional ones are the same. Never rush the process if you aren’t sure that you’re ready.
For those Missouri families who are considering international adoption, the requirements to adopt will vary by country. The U.S. Department of State’s website is an excellent resource for learning the eligibility requirements for each location.
If you think you may be ready to adopt a baby, we’d love to help you. Call 1-800-ADOPTION, or request more free information. If you feel that adoption from foster care may be the route for you, contact the Children’s Division Office in your county.
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.