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Is a Missouri Foster Care Adoption Right for You?

What You Need to Know About this Option

If you want to grow your family, but you’re not sure if you want to use a domestic adoption agency, you’re in luck, because there’s more than one way to adopt.

Even though American Adoptions only works with hopeful parents pursuing a domestic infant adoption and expectant birth mothers, we recognize that this route may not be right for everyone. Some couples choose to look overseas and begin an international adoption process. Still others choose to stay stateside and begin their family through foster care adoption in Missouri.

If you’re a prospective birth parent considering giving a baby up for adoption in Missouri, you can find information that is relevant to your situation here.

Adopting from foster care in Missouri — or in any other state — can be a beautiful way to grow your family. There are many positives (and also some potential points of concern) for any family considering foster care adoption. This guide will help you understand the process, why many families feel it is the best route for them, and some challenges to take into consideration.

How does adopting from foster care work in Missouri?

Adoption from foster care in Missouri works much like adoption through foster care in other states. First, a child must be put into the foster care system, which may happen because his or her parents are neglectful, physically abusive, abusing alcohol or drugs, or are unable to care for the child for some other reason. The goal when this happens is usually to reunite the biological parents with their child.

It is important to note here that if the possibility of reunification does not align with your vision of building a family through adoption, then foster care adoption may not be the right path forward. Other options, like domestic infant adoption, could be better suited to you.

However, if you understand the importance of reunification and are compelled by the need of waiting children in foster care, then this route can be an amazing way to start or grow your family.

 A judge and case worker will provide the parents with a reunification plan and help them get to a place where they can provide a safe home for their child again. It’s only if the parents cannot follow this plan or fail to complete it that their parental rights will be terminated and the child will be legally eligible for foster care adoption in Missouri.

At this point, the state generally attempts to locate a permanent family for the child with relatives. If no relatives are found — or no relatives are willing — the foster family the child has been staying with will usually have the next chance to adopt the child.

Some families foster to adopt in Missouri, so the foster family the child has been placed with may have been hoping for this all along. Other families are only able to provide temporary homes for foster children, in which case the state will move on to families who are hoping to adopt a foster child in Missouri.

What are the steps for completing a foster care adoption in Missouri?

Every situation is unique, and this process can vary based on the child’s circumstances and the parents’ chosen method of adopting (for example, fostering to adopt in Missouri is different from adopting a waiting child from foster care). In general, though, families will need to follow these basic steps for a foster adoption in MO:

  • Step 1: Determine your goals. What do you want to do within the foster care system? Do you want to be a temporary foster parent, foster to adopt in Missouri, or adopt from foster care without first having been a foster parent? This decision will determine what steps you need to take next.

  • Step 2: Contact a public adoption professional. Adoption professionals are your guide and most trusted support during the process. See below for links to Missouri foster care agencies.

  • Step 3: Attend training. Foster and adoptive parents are often required to attend pre-adoption parenting classes. These may come in the form of PS-MAPP (Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) or PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education.)

  • Step 4: Apply to adopt a child from foster care. Your application to adopt a foster child in Missouri will include information about your life and your experience with children. At this point, you will be required to allow child abuse and neglect checks as well as a background check. 

  • Step 5: Complete the home study. Foster-adoptive parents must complete the Missouri home study, as you would for any form of adoption.

  • Step 6: Wait for placement. If you’re interested in foster parenting, this may not take long; there are plenty of children that need foster homes. If you’re interested only in adopting from foster care in Missouri, it may take slightly longer to be matched with a child.

Who can foster to adopt in Missouri?

The requirements for adopting from foster care in Missouri are somewhat different from those for private domestic adoption. To adopt a foster child in Missouri, you have to:

  • Have good physical health as well as mental health

  • Be 21 years old or older

  • Have a steady income

  • Live in a home (whether that’s an apartment, condominium or a house) that meets Missouri licensing standards

  • Complete child abuse and neglect checks as well as criminal record checks

Your marital status isn’t important to the state of Missouri; you can be single or married. Whether or not you have other children will also not affect your eligibility for adopting through foster care in Missouri.

How much does it cost to adopt a foster child in Missouri?

It doesn’t cost anything to become a foster parent, and costs to adopt from the foster system in Missouri are minimal. There are, of course, still the costs of parenting after you have adopted a child.

Meet Foster Children for Adoption in Missouri

Of the more than 13,000 children in Missouri’s foster care system at any given time, more than 1,200 are adopted each year. There are multiple agencies that post Missouri adoption photo listings online. A few of those Missouri foster care adoption photo listings can be found at:

Missouri Foster Care Adoption Agencies

To pursue foster adoption in Missouri, you have two options. You can either contact the social services office in your county, or you can contact a nearby child welfare agency.

Choosing the type of adoption you want to pursue is one of the most significant choices in the entire adoption process. Take your time and research all of your options. If you are still exploring the different types of adoption, and domestic infant adoption is one avenue you’re considering, you may find it helpful to get more free adoption information from American Adoptions.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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