Basics of a Private Adoption in Missouri
When you and your spouse decide to add to your family by adopting an infant, child, or teenager and become adoptive parents, you will soon learn there are a few ways you can handle a Missouri adoption. Once you learn about your adoption options, choosing the one that is right for you and your family is the first major decision you will make during the adoption process.
What to Know About a Private Missouri Adoption
Generally speaking, there are three types of adoption:
- Foster care to adoption (known as foster to adopt)
- International adoption
- Private adoption within the United States
While all three are great options, this guide will focus on private Missouri adoption. This type of adoption goes by a few different names, including “domestic adoption” or “domestic infant adoption.”
It’s important to keep in mind that while adoption is fundamentally a process of adding to one’s family, it’s also a complicated legal process. If you are considering a Missouri adoption, don’t hesitate to contact Masterson Law for reliable legal advice and advocacy. We’re dedicated to helping Missouri families through life’s biggest transitions, and we’d love the opportunity to stand by your side through your journey of growing your family.
What Is a Private Adoption?
Typically, a private adoption occurs when soon-to-be adoptive parents work with a private adoption agency to take home an infant from within the United States. On the other side, a birth mother may voluntarily give up parental rights to her child and work with an adoption agency to ensure that the child is placed in a good home with loving adoptive parents.
This differs from foster care because the child did not end up there due to the parental rights of the biological or birth parents being taken away. In the foster care system, this is often due to factors like child abuse or parental incarceration, while birth parents who are simply experiencing hardship or had an unplanned pregnancy may choose to undergo the more voluntary route of private Missouri adoption.
There are a few benefits of private adoptions you may want to take advantage of:
- Control during the process – You may be asked to fill out questionnaires that will let the adoption agency know what your hopes are, what you want to avoid, and what type of baby or child you think would be a good fit. This gives you more control than most other adoptions.
- Personal, professional guidance – Your caseworker or specialist should be there to guide you through each step.
- Better access to pertinent information – Birth mothers may provide invaluable medical and genetic information that will be passed on to potential matches. This is so important as many other adoptions do not have this level of history.
- Fulfilling the parental dream – This is the best benefit – holding your child for the first time.
Each of the benefits and drawbacks of Missouri private adoptions should be considered before making a decision. Only you can decide what is best for you. For example, one benefit of shorter wait times may not matter to you like it would to another adoptive family. There is also the legal side to consider, which is why it’s always a good idea to consult a Missouri legal expert before finalizing anything.
Navigating Private Missouri Adoptions
The adoption process is different for everyone. You will determine the next steps to take based on your lifestyle or situation, what caused you to want to adopt in the first place, whether you have other children or the adopted child will be your first, and other factors. There is no right way to grow your family. There is only what is right for you, your spouse, and your family unit as a whole.
As you do your research on adoption, look past the statistics and recognize that you are giving a home to a child. It can be a challenge, though. This is why it is encouraged that you do ample research. The family law attorneys at Masterson Law can help you explore your options, determine your best course of action, and begin the legal process if your family is looking to adopt a child in the State of Missouri. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!
Choosing the Right Missouri Adoption Agencies
When you decide to pursue a Missouri adoption, one of the biggest steps is to find a local or state agency that recognizes your dreams of parenthood and wants to help you fulfill them.
When looking for a Missouri adoption agency, try to look for a non-profit agency. If you think you might have found a good fit, call them for more information on their adoption services or to see if they have an open house where you can learn more about them and what they do.
It is important that any agency you choose is a full-service, fully licensed national agency. Here is what those terms mean:
- Full-service – This means the agency should be equipped to take you through the entire adoption process from the open-house, any licensing and background requirements, the home study, and interviews to matching you with a baby or child, finalizing the adoption, and providing ongoing support. This will help you complete the steps with confidence and save you time and money.
- Fully licensed – This means the agency should be held to the highest standards as mandated by local, state, and federal laws.
- National – The agency should be able to match you with children from all fifty states, so you end up with a great fit for your family.
You should also choose a Missouri adoption agency that has a large staff of experienced caseworkers who are responsive and willing to be by your side at every step. They should be able to tell you if domestic adoption is right for you. However, if you’re ever uncertain about anything an adoption agency is telling you, don’t hesitate to contact a Missouri family law attorney.
How to Do a Private Missouri Adoption?
While every adoption is different, here is a typical snapshot of what yours will look like in steps:
Step 1: The learning process
- Go over the types of adoption and discuss each. Do your research, call agencies, attend open houses, and get answers to your questions.
- Discuss how you will pay for the adoption.
Step 2: Explore adoption
- Research the adoption process so you know what to expect.
- Complete a self-assessment or any initial paperwork.
Step 3: Prepare for your future adoption
- Decide which kind of adoption you want to pursue.
- Research agencies and choose the one that is right for you.
- Complete or submit an adoption application.
- Attend and complete all parenting classes.
- Begin a home study.
Step 4: Kickstart the placement process
- Look for an available child. You can do this on your own or with the help of your caseworker.
- Select a child and begin the matching process.
- Prepare for your baby or child to arrive by readying your home and any siblings.
Step 5: Learn more about the child
- Ask about any pertinent information, medical or otherwise.
Step 6: Adopt your child
- Bring the child to your home.
- File a Petition to Adopt after the child has lived with you for at least six months.
- Finalize the adoption at your local Missouri family court.
- Utilize ongoing support.
These last steps are especially noteworthy due to the legal procedures involved. It’s important to seek representation any time you’re facing the legal system, and adoption is no different. Whether you’re undergoing a private Missouri adoption or another form of adoption such as step parent adoption, please contact Masterson Law today to ensure that your family’s future is protected through each step of the process.
Cost of Private Adoption in Missouri
The private domestic adoption of a healthy baby in Missouri typically costs between $5,000 and $40,000. However, some adoption agencies work on a sliding scale and work on what the adoptive family can afford.
Choosing adoption is often a tough decision that is made after lots of research, time, patience, and soul-searching. Your local adoption agency is available to help you expand your family through adoption, but don’t forget to also seek the advice of a Missouri attorney.