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Missouri Foster Care Adoption Guide
There are many ways to start or grow your family. If you’re considering Missouri foster care adoption, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is for any hopeful parents thinking about adopting a foster child in Missouri. The Missouri foster adoption process can be confusing. It can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re just getting started. Our goal is to provide you with the most important information you need to understand before embarking on your journey. Here, we’ll cover:
- Different ways to adopt from foster care in Missouri
- The steps of the Missouri foster adoption process
- The Missouri foster care adoption subsidy
- Missouri foster adoption photolisting sites
- Foster care adoption agencies in Missouri
- And more
Foster Care Adoption vs. Foster to Adopt: Adopting a Foster Child in MissouriBefore going any further, let’s clarify an important, and often confused, detail about Missouri foster care adoption. There are actually two paths to adopting a foster child in Missouri and, while the names may be similar, the processes are distinct. When thinking about how to adopt a child from foster care in Missouri, your two options are:
Foster Care AdoptionIn Missouri, one of the most common ways to adopt is through the foster care system. There are hundreds of children waiting for a permanent family, and you could meet this important need. Families who want to adopt a foster child in Missouri through the foster care adoption process will work with an agency to be placed with a child who is already waiting for a family. Wait, you may be wondering, aren’t all children in foster care waiting for families? No. In fact, most are not. Most are waiting to be reunited with their biological family after some time away in the care of a foster family. However, when a child’s parents lose their biological rights, that child needs to be adopted into a new family. Foster care adoption is distinct because the family’s intention from start to finish is to adopt the child. As you’ll see, though, this is not always the case.
Foster to AdoptMissouri’s foster-to-adopt process is different from the foster care adoption process. Unlike foster care adoption, the Missouri foster-to-adopt program does not begin with the promise of adoption. Rather, you are placed with a child as his or her foster parent, with the intention of the child being reunified with biological family. However, circumstances change. While in your care, the child may become available for adoption. As his or her foster parent, you will likely be asked if you would like to adopt the child permanently. This is how the foster to adopt process in Missouri works.
The Missouri Foster Adoption ProcessNow that we have our terms defined, let’s take a look at the steps in the Missouri foster care adoption process. Families who want to pursue foster care adoption will have unique processes, but each will involve these required steps:
Step 1: Choose an AgencyMissouri foster care adoption agencies provide matching services and additional support as you navigate the complexities of adopting a foster child in Missouri. Working with the right agency will increase your chances of a smooth, successful placement.
Step 2: Complete Your ApplicationNext, you’ll need to be approved by the state to adopt a foster child in Missouri. Your application will be reviewed to determine whether or not your family meets the initial Missouri foster care adoption requirements. Your agency will provide guidance while you work on completing your application.
Step 3: Complete the Home StudyThe home study is a review of your living situation and adoption readiness conducted by a licensed social worker to ensure that placement with your family will be in the best interests of a child. Nervous about this step of the process when you’re considering Missouri adoption through foster care? Check out our home study checklist to prepare for success.
Step 4: Wait for PlacementIt’s one of the most common questions we hear about the Missouri foster adoption process: How long will I wait? You could wait days, weeks or months. We wish there was a more straightforward answer, but so many distinct factors play a part in determining how long you’ll wait for placement. Once your social worker has identified the right situation, they’ll call you and present the potential placement. At that point, you can accept it or ask more questions. When a placement is accepted, details will be worked out about when you’ll meet the child, and you’ll be one massive step closer to becoming a family.
Step 5: Complete FinalizationAfter placement, you’ll live as a family for about six months, during which a social worker will conduct several post-placement visits to see how everyone is doing. Finalization is the last step when you’re adopting a foster child in Missouri. This court hearing may take place in person or through video chat. At the end of the hearing, a judge will issue your final decree of adoption.
Missouri Foster Care Adoption SubsidyNow you understand the most important steps in the process. But, you may still be wondering how to get started and overcome some of the biggest hurdles. For many, finances come to the front of the mind. How much does Missouri foster to adopt cost, and are there any Missouri foster care adoption subsidy options that could help? Foster care adoption is a good path for many hopeful parents because it has a much lower cost than other types of adoption. The average foster care adoption process costs less than $5,000. And, depending on the special needs present in your situation, you may be eligible for a Missouri adoption assistance. You can find out more about your eligibility for the Missouri adoption subsidy program by working with your agency or reading the Missouri Department of Social Services’ guide.
Missouri Foster Adoption Photolisting SitesHave you heard of the Missouri foster adoption photolisting? This system was developed as a partnership between private organizations and the state foster care system in an effort to help waiting children find the love and permanency of a family through adoption. When you’re a hopeful parent considering adopting a foster child in Missouri, photolistings can be a good place to start. Consider looking through these Missouri foster adoption photolisting websites:
Foster Care Adoption Agencies in MissouriHopeful parents pursuing foster care adoption can benefit from working with foster care adoption agencies in Missouri. Agencies assist with the application, the home study, and searching for the right placement, among other things. The Missouri foster adoption process can be complex, and something as simple as missing a deadline can jeopardize a placement. Agencies are a safeguard against a disruption in your process. With years of experience and qualified professional staff members, foster care adoption agencies in Missouri can provide the support you need during your process. Looking for foster care adoption agencies in Missouri? Start here:
- A Gift of Hope Adoptions
- Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center
- Catholic Charities
- Missouri Department of Social Services