Whether you are an expectant birth parent wanting to place your child, or an adoptive couple hoping to adopt a child, the adoption process can be challenging. Although every person’s journey is unique to their situation, both sides face similar emotions. It’s best for all parties to work with an adoption professional who can guide expectant mothers and potential adoptive families every step of the way.
Whether it is in Missouri or anywhere else for that matter, a birth parent should never be asked to pay money. All services should be free of charge for expectant and birth parent couples. In Missouri, it is illegal to “pay” someone in exchange for their consent to an adoption.
If you are currently pregnant and contemplating making an adoption plan for your child, it is possible to arrange to have the adoptive parents pay for certain expenses. There are standards for what is considered reasonable and unreasonable expenses for private, domestic adoption in Missouri. Generally, the types of expenses most commonly allowed by statute include:
Maternity-related medical and hospital costs
Temporary living expenses of the mother during pregnancy
Reasonable legal fees and guardian ad litem fees
Travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for court appearances or accessing services
After the child is born, the birth mother must wait at least 48 hours before giving consent for her parental rights to be terminated. The named father must give his consent to the adoption. Giving consent means you agree to relinquish all parental rights and duties. If the father is unknown or unwilling to cooperate, there are other ways to terminate his rights so the adoption can proceed. In Missouri, consent must be in writing and either witnessed by two adults and notarized or executed before a judge or other designated official.
Adoption creates a permanent and stable home for a child. If consent was executed properly, it becomes final and irrevocable. As a result, the right of a birth parent to revoke consent is limited. Finalization usually occurs 6 months after placement with the adoptive family, but birth parents are not required to attend the court proceeding.
If an individual or couple wishes to adopt, specific requirements must be met. Adoptions differ depending on the needs of the birth mother and the ability of the adoptive family. Generally, these are the requirements you must have to adopt in Missouri:
In addition, depending on who you choose to work with, there may be certain adoption limitations. For instance, there is no legal age restriction for adoption in Missouri, but many lawyers and agencies suggest age 50 as the cutoff date. Various limitations are also in place for international adoptions, adopting out of foster care, and interstate adoptions.
Many of the above requirements are easier to fulfill when adoptive families choose a qualified agency to work with. An agency will put together the necessary paperwork, set up the court hearing, and assist you through the process. They also help you obtain a new birth certificate and other records once your adoption certificate has been issued.
A Gift of Hope Adoptions is a licensed Missouri adoption agency based in Columbia, Missouri. Not only do we serve the entire state, but we can also assist you if you are located outside of Missouri. Whether you are a woman or couple looking to make an adoption plan for your child or want to adopt, we are here to serve you. Although adoption is an emotional and difficult journey, we promise to be alongside you every step of the way. Contact us today.
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