The Basics Of Missouri Adoptions
If you are thinking about expanding your family through adoption, congratulations! You are embarking on a delicious adventure with rewards to last a lifetime. But you should know that the journey can be complex and challenging in many ways, so be prepared for some significant trials moving forward. That’s why it’s so important that you have a trusted and respected attorney working alongside you during this amazing pursuit. You must have a million questions! Let’s see if we can settle some of your basic concerns:
Will I be Allowed to Adopt?
The adoption laws here in Missouri are clear: any single or married adult who successfully completes a home study and the approval process may adopt. LRGT status and residency are not issues of concern. Even those with a felony record—as long as it’s not for a violent or child-related crime—may have the potential to become parents through adoption.
Who Needs to Consent?
Both biological parents must consent to an adoption, and the child must as well, if age 14 or older. What if you are working with an unwed mother? In such a case the presumed father, who must be established within 15 days of the birth of the baby through a paternity test, must be on the putative father registry, and his consent must be obtained as well.
Will Birth Parents be Part of our Lives Moving Forward?
The answer to this question is different depending on what the parties involved agree to. In a closed adoption no identifying information is shared between the parties. Even so, agreements to meet, share photos, or otherwise update birth parents through the agency may be arranged. In an open adoption, the birth parents will have your contact information, and further communication is expected, and defined based on the arrangements you decide upon.
When will the Adoption be Final?
This can be the most harrowing topic of all when it comes to adoption. The birth mother cannot give consent to terminate her parental rights until 48 hours after birth, and the court must approve her decision within three business days. She is legally allowed to change her mind at any time before that. Once the consent for adoption is given, however, it cannot be revoked, so the decision can be more difficult for some birth mothers than others. Birth fathers may give consent any time after the baby is born. From here, It can take about six months after the child is placed for an adoption to be finalized. Ultimately a judge will make the final approval in a hearing where all of the final paperwork is approved.
If you are considering taking the plunge and starting the process to adopt, the effective and knowledgeable team at Courtney & Mills can help. Contact our Springfield adoption attorneys for a confidential consultation today.