Springfield Adoption Attorney
Growing your family through adoption can be richly rewarding for the parents, the children and the extended family. Unfortunately, the adoption process can be lengthy, time-consuming, complicated and expensive. The last thing you want is to invest the time and effort into an adoption, only to have it fall through after some disagreement or technical mistake. At Courtney & Mills, our Springfield adoption attorneys would be thrilled to help you through the Missouri adoption process. We’ll provide you with knowledgeable, detailed guidance and assistance at every step, helping to ensure your adoption proceeds and concludes smoothly and successfully.
Why parents adopt and kids get adopted
Some adoptive parents seek adoption because they can’t have kids on their own due to fertility issues, or going through a pregnancy might be physically risky or inconvenient at the time. Others desire to help out a child in need and provide a loving home for someone who might otherwise not have that opportunity.
For children in need of adoption, some have birth parents who aren’t ready to have children due to their age or emotional development, or they can’t afford to raise children. Others have parents who have died, abandoned them, or been institutionalized due to addiction or criminal offenses. Unmarried birth parents might not be able to provide the stable home environment they would want for their kids and realize adoption is a better option.
Adoption comes in many forms and for many reasons. Some of the different kinds of adoption available in Missouri include:
- Foster care and adoption through the Missouri Department of Social Services
- Domestic or international adoption agencies
- Private adoption
- Stepparent adoption
- Relative adoption
Factors to consider when adopting
Whether the child is placed for adoption by the birth parents, the Children’s Division, or an adoption agency, there are many different factors to consider and different ways to arrange the adoption. For example, the adoption can be open or closed according to the wishes of the biological and adoptive parents. Open or closed adoption refers to whether the adoptive parents will have any information about the identity of the birth parents and whether the biological parents will have any future or ongoing contact with the adoptive parents or the child. Another factor to consider is what expenses are allowable or appropriate to pay in a private adoption.
Adoption is a legal process managed by the courts. It involves the transfer of legal custody, which can only be done through a court order. Before an adoption is allowed, the birth parents must consent to the adoption, or there must be some cause to allow the adoption. The adoptive parents must be found to be of good moral character and have the ability to raise the child. Most importantly, the adoption must be seen as in the child’s best interests. A licensed social worker will conduct a home study as part of the process and make a recommendation to the court. The judge will hold a hearing on the question of adoption, and if successful, the adoption will be finalized six months after the hearing.
Relative adoption – an excellent answer to a difficult situation
If a child’s parents have died or been declared unfit due to incarceration, institutionalization, drug problems or other reasons, the state will have to remove the children from the home. If a close relative can step in and offer a permanent, stable and loving environment for the children, this solution is most favored by the courts. If you are a child’s grandparents, aunt/uncle or other close relative, we can educate and advise you on your options to help out, from guardianship to adoption. We know the proper steps to take and can represent you well in the adoption process.
Stepparent adoption – solidify family bonds
When your new spouse has children from a previous relationship, adopting your spouse’s kids can have lasting benefits for the children and the family as a whole. The children will be guaranteed a measure of financial child support should anything happen to the parents or the marriage. Children you’ve adopted will have a right to inherit from you, as well as access to health insurance and other benefits through your employment, and government services through your status such as social security and veteran’s benefits. Just as important, adopting your spouse’s kids strengthens the family unit as a whole, establishing parental and familial bonds, and giving the children a lasting sense of permanence, love and security.
A stepparent adoption requires the relinquishment or termination of parental rights of the child’s biological father, if living. We can help you obtain that person’s consent or prove that grounds exist to terminate those rights when the parent has abandoned or abused the children or never established legal paternity.
Call Courtney & Mills for Help with Adoption in Springfield
Helping to bring a new person into your family through adoption is one of the happiest parts of our job! Please contact our office so that we may help you with this joyous event.