Adoption in Missouri is a legal means by which a child moves permanently from one family to another family. According to Missouri adoption law, once a decree of adoption has been entered, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. Adoptive parents must provide nurture, care, and support to the child. An adopted child has the same inheritance rights as a child born to birth parents. Adoptive parents are real parents in every sense.
At Pettit Law Office, you’ll be matched with an experienced adoption lawyer that can help you through this process. There are several different types of adoption cases that our lawyers are equipped to handle, including the following:
Adult adoption is the process whereby a person eighteen years or older is adopted by one or more person also eighteen years or older. Written consent is required by the proposed adoptee (person being adopted).
To be eligible for foster parent adoption, the adoptive parents must qualify and be certified as a foster and adoptive placement for children by the state where the parents live. In the state of Missouri, foster parents must complete training and home certification courses. After qualification, foster parents are contacted by Children’s Division with placement options. When fostering to adopt, the parents will get custody of a child subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The foster/adoptive parents participate in the juvenile court case and when the court determines the adoption is allowed, then the adoption process is set into motion. This is the least expensive option for adoptive families as state and federal subsidies cover placement, support, medical, child care and legal expenses. In the vast majority of foster adoption cases, the adoptive parents pay no money in order to finalize the adoption.
Agency adoptions are handled through a licensed child placement agency. According to Missouri Adoption law, agencies are licensed by the Department of Social Services. When a prospective adoptive family contacts an agency, the social workers counsel the family while it’s on the agency’s waiting list. Birth mothers contact the agency to make their adoption plan and usually select an adoptive family from the agency’s list of interested families.
INDEPENDENT ADOPTION & PRIVATE PLACEMENT ADOPTION
Independent adoption in Missouri occurs when birth parents and adoptive families find each other on their own or with the help of an adoption intermediary, e.g. a pastor, lawyer, or doctor. The adoption intermediary or the adoptive family’s attorney facilitates the placement. Thereafter, an agency or social worker conducts interviews and visits for a six-month custody period and files its assessment with the court at the time of the adoption finalization.
Relative adoption occurs when a child has been living with a family member (Aunt/Uncle, Grandparents, or other close friends or family) and the child’s biological parents have consented to the adoption or have abandoned the child. Relatives also can adopt through the foster care system and have “preferred” status for placement of relative foster children.
Stepparent adoption is common in blended families with full, half, and step siblings. Sometimes, an individual will already have a child before meeting their spouse and starting a family. Many times, the parent’s spouse is the acting mother or father of the child, and stepparent adoption formalizes this relationship. This type of adoption can be done with or without the consent of the other parent who would be removed from the child’s birth certificate. Many children love stepparent adoption because it is a way to change their name to the “family name” and to make the person who has been acting as their mother or father their legal parent.
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