Monthly Archives: October 2018

What is a Birth Father?

A Birth Father is the biological father of a child who has been or will be adopted; understanding your rights and how they apply to the adoption process is just as important for you, as it is for the birth mother of the child.

Birth Fathers:

  • Are the biological fathers of their child or children.
  • Do not have custody of their children.
  • Do not pay child support.
  • May be married to the mother of the child, married to another, divorced, or unmarried.
  • May or may not have surrendered their parental rights.
  • May or may not live in the same area as their child’s adoptive family.
If you are finding out ‘after the fact’ that your child has been placed with an adoptive family, unfortunately, this is not uncommon.
Many birth fathers find themselves excluded from the decision making process of adoption for many reasons. Often a birth father won’t be involved in choosing or meeting the adoptive parents, working with an adoption professional, or the birth of the baby because the birth father wasn’t able to be found, or because no attempt was made to locate and notify him.
Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri will always make an attempt to locate the father of the child and make them aware of the adoption and their rights as fathers before proceeding with an adoption.
If you feel you need to speak to an adoption attorney or adoption professional about your rights as a birth father, please contact us.
If you are married to the mother of your child at the time of birth, you are considered the child’s legal father. If you are not married, you are considered a ‘putative father.’ Putative Fathers have to work harder to make the courts recognize them as the biological father of their child or children, and in some states they have to register with the Putative Father Registry to assert any parental rights. Birth fathers may petition to get custody of their biological children if their parental rights were not surrendered before the adoption took place, and feel the child should be in their custody. These cases are called ‘contested adoption.’
Biological father, genetic father, putative father, birth father—but what does all this mean, really?
It means that you created life. According to a recent CDC (Center for Disease Control) study, there were 6.1 million couples in the United States in 2017 that have/had trouble getting pregnant. Whether you intended to or not, you may have given someone else who cannot have their own biological children an important chance to know parenthood.

What Next?

As the birth father, everything starts with your stance on the adoption. If you do not object to the adoption, you can move forward with the next steps. These may include the following:

  • You Can Choose to Not Be Involved in the Case: deciding to not be involved usually requires you to sign a Waiver of Notice or a Denial of Paternity.
  • You Can Still Be Involved in the Plan: if you do not object to the adoption and want to be involved in the case, you and the birth mother can work together throughout your adoption plan. Usually, the plan will be set up with an adoption specialist, attorney, or social worker. You may sign the relinquishment document along with the child’s birth  other once the adoption process and plan are completed.
If you do object to the adoption, there are few scenarios in which you may be able to block the adoption from happening. Some birth fathers object to adoption because they want to raise the child themselves, want a family member to do it, or have other plans in mind. However, you cannot do this so easily.

The birth mother retains more leverage when it comes to making decisions for the child. In order for you to have a stronger influence over the adoption decision, you must take specific legal steps in a timely fashion in order to both establish and preserve your parental rights. Typically, you may only block the adoption if you meet at least one of the following strict legal requirements, depending on state law and regulations:

  1. If you are married to the birth mother, or were married to her within 300 days of the child’s birth.
  2. You have publicly acknowledged the child as your own and have received him or her into your home.
  3. You and the birth mother have both signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity to have you listed as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate. Typically, this is signed at the time of the child’s birth, however it is not a requirement and should not be done if you are both planning to place the child for adoption.
  4. If you have done everything you can to take care of the child and the birth mother both financially and emotionally within the time of knowing about the pregnancy.
If you, as the birth father, do not meet one of the four circumstances listed, then your consent to the adoption is not required to move forward.
However, it may be required for the birth mother to notify you of her decision, depending on the state’s laws. Upon learning of the adoption, you will then have the right to file a legal action to stop the proceedings if you so choose.
As the birth father, you do have as much of a say as the birth mother about the child’s future, which is why you have certain rights when it comes to voicing your opinion and desires for your child. These rights vary by state making it imperative that you look further into your states statutes:
It is important to note, though, that upon taking legal action, you must follow all the requirements in a timely manner. Further, even if you file legal paperwork on time, the majority of such cases and claims are denied by courts because the fathers have not fulfilled all responsibilities, and the adoption may proceed without your consent and over your objection.
If the birth mother is currently working with Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri and you feel you need to speak to an adoption attorney or adoption professional about your rights as a birth father, please contact us.

Missouri Adoption Laws

 

 

 

Adoption laws vary from state to state. We have compiled Missouri Adoption Laws here!

Adoption Laws

Notice: The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

Access to Adoption Records

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (541 KB) of this publication.

Current Through June 2015

Who May Access Information

Nonidentifying information is available to:

  • The adoptive parents
  • The child’s legal guardians
  • The adult adopted person
  • The adult adopted person’s lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased

Identifying information is available to the adult adopted person or the adult adopted person’s lineal descendants if the adopted person is deceased.

Access to Nonidentifying Information

Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed birth parents or siblings shall be provided upon written request. Nonidentifying information can include the physical description, nationality, religious background, and medical history of the birth parents or siblings.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information

An adult adopted person, or his or her lineal descendants if he or she is deceased, may make a written request to the court for information identifying his or her birth parents. If the birth parents have consented to the release of identifying information, the court shall disclose that information. If the birth parents have not consented to the release of the information, the court shall, within 10 days of receipt of the request, notify in writing the child-placing agency or juvenile court having access to the requested information.

If the agency or court is unable to notify the birth parent within 3 months, the identifying information shall not be disclosed to the adult adopted person. If an affidavit executed by a birth parent authorizing the release of information is filed with the court, the court shall disclose the identifying information.

Any adult adopted person whose adoption was finalized in this State, or whose birth parents had their parental rights terminated in this State, may request the court to secure and disclose identifying information concerning an adult sibling. Identifying information pertaining exclusively to the adult sibling, whether part of the permanent record of a file in the court or in an agency, shall be released only upon consent of that adult sibling.

The department shall maintain a registry for birth parents, adult siblings, and adult adopted persons to indicate their desire to be contacted by each other. At the time of registration, a birth parent or adult sibling may consent in writing to the release of identifying information to an adult adopted person. If such consent has not been executed and the division believes that a match has occurred, the division shall make confidential contact with the birth parents or adult siblings and with the adult adopted person. The birth parent, adult sibling, or adult adopted person may refuse to go forward with any further contact between the parties when contacted by the division.

Access to Original Birth Certificate

The State Registrar shall file the original certificate of birth with the certificate of decree of adoption and such file may be opened by the State Registrar only upon receipt of a certified copy of an order as decreed by the court of adoption.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Missouri Division of Family Services, Adoption Information Registry

Consent to Adoption

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Current Through March 2017

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

The written consent of the following persons shall be required:

  • The mother
  • The man who is presumed to be the father has acted to establish paternity no later than 15 days after the birth of the child or has filed with the putative father registry
  • The child’s current adoptive parents or other legally recognized parent
Consent of Child Being Adopted

A child who is age 14 or older must consent to the adoption except when the court finds that the child lacks sufficient mental capacity.

In a case involving a child younger than age 14, the guardian ad litem shall ascertain the child’s wishes and feelings about his or her adoption by conducting an interview or interviews with the child, if appropriate based on the child’s age and maturity level. This information shall be considered by the court as a factor in determining if the adoption is in the child’s best interests.

When the person sought to be adopted is age 18 or older, his or her written consent alone to his or her adoption shall be sufficient.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

The consent to the adoption of a child is not required of:

  • A parent whose rights to the child have been terminated
  • A parent of a child who has legally consented to a future adoption of the child
  • A parent whose identity is unknown and cannot be ascertained at the time of the filing of the petition
  • A man who has not been established to be the father and who is not presumed by law to be the father and who, after the conception of the child, executes a verified statement denying paternity and disclaiming any interest in the child
  • A parent or other person who has not executed a consent and fails to respond to notice
  • A parent who has a mental condition that is shown by competent evidence either to be permanent or such that there is no reasonable likelihood that the condition can be reversed and that renders the parent unable to knowingly provide the child the necessary care, custody, and control
  • A parent who has for a period of at least 6 months for a child age 1 or older, or at least 60 days for a child under age 1, immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, willfully abandoned the child or, for a period of at least 6 months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for adoption, willfully, substantially, and continuously neglected to provide the child with necessary care and protection
When Consent Can Be Executed

The written consent of the birth mother shall not be executed anytime before the child is 48 hours old.

How Consent Must Be Executed

The written consent of the father or other parents may be executed before or after the commencement of the adoption proceedings and shall be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public. If consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting birth parent of the consequences of the consent. In lieu of such acknowledgment, the signature of the person giving such written consent shall be witnessed by the signatures of at least two adult persons. The two adult witnesses shall not be the prospective adoptive parents or any attorney representing a party to the adoption proceeding.

The written consent of the birth mother shall be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public. If consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting party of the consequences of the consent. In lieu of such acknowledgment, the signature of the person giving such written consent shall be witnessed by the signatures of at least two adult persons who are present at the execution and who determine and certify that the consent is knowingly and freely given. The two adult witnesses shall not be the prospective adoptive parents or any attorney representing a party to the adoption proceeding.

The consent form must specify the following:

  • The birth parent understands the importance of identifying all possible fathers of the child and may provide the names of all such persons.
  • The birth father understands that if he denies paternity but consents to the adoption, he waives any future interest in the child.

The written consent to adoption shall be valid and effective even though the consenting parent was younger than age 18 if the parent was represented by a guardian ad litem at the time the consent was executed.

Revocation of Consent

Consent is final when executed unless the consenting party, prior to a final decree of adoption, alleges and proves by clear and convincing evidence that the consent was not freely and voluntarily given. The burden of proving the consent was not freely and voluntarily given shall rest with the consenting party.

Court Jurisdiction and Venue for Adoption Petitions

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Current Through May 2017

Jurisdiction

The juvenile division of the circuit court has jurisdiction over adoption proceedings.

Venue

The adoption petition shall be filed in the county in which one of the following applies:

  • The petitioner resides.
  • The child to be adopted was born.
  • The child is located at the time of the filing of the petition.
  • Either birth parent resides.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

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Current Through September 2015

Who Must Be Studied

An assessment must made of the adoptive parents.

In regulation: The adoption home study must include all members of the applicants’ household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study

The investigation, as directed by the court having jurisdiction, may be made by any of the following:

  • The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A juvenile court officer
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • A social worker
  • A professional counselor
  • A licensed psychologist who is associated with a licensed child-placing agency
  • Another suitable person appointed by the court
Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

The assessment and investigation will determine whether the child is suitable for adoption by the petitioner and whether the petitioner is suitable as a parent for the child.

Elements of a Home Study

The family assessment process shall include:

  • Confidential interviews with the applicants and all members of the applicants’ household, as age appropriate
  • A visit to the residence of the applicants that includes a complete inspection of the home
  • A minimum of at least two separate visits on nonconsecutive days

A social history on each applicant that shall include:

  • A description of the applicant’s family of origin, including type of family structure, values, child rearing, relationships past and present, and discipline methods
  • Education and occupational history including current employment
  • Marital history and current relationships
  • Interests and hobbies
  • Physical and mental health history including psychiatric treatment, if any, and extent of alcohol and drug use
  • The applicant’s emotional stability and maturity
  • Religious beliefs and practices
  • Parenting background including motivation to adopt
  • Location and description of physical residence, including type of community and school district available
  • Financial status and management

Supplemental documentation shall include:

  • At least four reference letters, including one employment-related reference per applicant from one who has worked with the person within the past 5 years, one relative, and one nonrelated personal reference
  • A child abuse and neglect background screening check that is no more than 6 months old
  • Criminal arrest and conviction records from a State law enforcement agency that are no more than 6 months old
  • Written medical reports on all adult members of the household that are no more than 12 months old
Grounds for Withholding Approval

Information obtained from the criminal background and central registry checks regarding harmful acts to a child is provided to local division staff who are completing the home study. Findings of harmful acts do not automatically preclude approval. The relevance of the findings to child-caring responsibilities will be determined by division staff.

When Studies Must Be Completed

The results of the investigation shall be incorporated in a written report that shall be submitted to the court within 90 days of the request for the investigation. The assessment of petitioner or petitioners shall be submitted to the petitioner and to the court prior to the scheduled hearing of the adoptive petition.

In regulation: Adoptive family assessments shall be updated annually. An update also shall be completed if there is a significant change in the family situation. Updates shall include:

  • One or more interviews with all members of the family
  • Medical reports on all household members biennially unless otherwise indicated
  • Child abuse/neglect reports on all adults completed within the past 30 days
  • Arrest record check completed within the past 30 days
  • Evaluation of any previous placements
  • A summary of additional children to be adopted
Postplacement Study Requirements

When a child has been placed with the petitioner for the required 6-month placement period, the person conducting the preplacement assessment shall provide the court with a postplacement assessment. The postplacement assessment shall include an update of the preplacement assessment that was submitted to the court and a report on the emotional, physical, and psychological status of the child.

In regulation: A child-placing agency shall maintain contact with the family during the supervision period. For children younger than age 3, the agency shall:

  • Conduct quarterly home visits until the adoption is final
  • Conduct monthly telephone contacts between home visits
  • Receive regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

For children age 3 or older or children with special needs, the agency shall:

  • Conduct one home visit within the first 10 days of placement, then, at a minimum, quarterly until the adoption is finalized
  • Conduct monthly telephone contacts between home visits
  • Receive regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

The agency shall document in the child’s record that all members of the adoptive family’s household, including the adoptive child, were interviewed during supervision and that the following issues were discussed:

  • How the addition of this child into the family has changed marital and sibling relationships and how extended family and friends have reacted to the adoption
  • What role each family member has assumed in child care
  • How parents have coped with adjustments, additional responsibilities, discipline, physical, psychological, emotional, and financial stresses
  • How the family is imparting knowledge of the child’s history, as age appropriate
  • The child’s adjustment, including health, school, and family
Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

In cases where the adoption involves a child younger than age 18 that is the natural child of one of the petitioners, the court may waive the investigation and report, except the criminal background check.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements

Prior to sending a child to a receiving State, the public child-placing agency shall submit a written request for assessment to the receiving State. The assessment shall evaluate the prospective placement to determine whether the placement meets the individualized needs of the child, including, but not limited to, the child’s safety and stability; health and well-being; and mental, emotional, and physical development.

Upon receipt of a request from the public child welfare agency of the sending State, the receiving State shall initiate an assessment of the proposed placement to determine its safety and suitability. If the proposed placement is a placement with a relative, the public child-placing agency of the sending State may request a determination of whether the placement qualifies as a provisional placement.

The public child-placing agency in the receiving State may request from the public or private child-placing agency in the sending State and shall be entitled to receive supporting or additional information necessary to complete the assessment.

The public child-placing agency in the receiving State shall complete or arrange for the completion of the assessment within the timeframes established by the rules of the Interstate Commission.

Notwithstanding the provisions above, the division may enter into an agreement with a similar agency in any State adjoining Missouri that provides for the emergency placement of abused or neglected children across State lines, without the prior approval required by the interstate compact. A request for approval shall be initiated if the placement extends beyond 30 days.

Foster to Adopt Placements

If a child becomes free for adoption while in foster care, the child’s foster family shall be given preferential consideration as adoptive parents.

Any adult person or persons age 18 or older, who, as foster parent or parents, have cared for a foster child continuously for a period of 9 months or more, and bonding has occurred as evidenced by the positive emotional and physical interaction between the foster parent and child, may apply for the placement of the child with them for the purpose of adoption if the child is eligible for adoption. The agency and court shall give preference and first consideration for adoptive placements to foster parents. However, the final determination of the propriety of the adoption of such foster child shall be within the sole discretion of the court.

Links to Resources

State regulations full text (PDF – 560 KB)

Interstate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

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Current Through February 2016

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

When a child is adopted, all legal relationships and all rights and duties between such child and his or her birth parents shall cease.

If, for purposes of intestate succession, a relationship of parent and child must be established to determine succession by, through, or from a person, an adopted person is the child of an adopting parent and not of the birth parents, except that adoption of a child by the spouse of a birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and such birth parent.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person

When a child is adopted, he or she shall be capable of inheriting from his or her parent(s) by adoption as fully as though born to them. The parent(s) by adoption shall be capable of inheriting from their adopted child as fully as though such child had been born to them. The adopted child shall be capable of inheriting from or taking through his or her parent(s) by adoption property limited expressly to heirs of the body of such parent(s) by adoption.

Any person adopted by deed of adoption or agreement of adoption in writing prior to 1917 shall hereafter be deemed and held to be for every purpose the child of his or her parent(s) by adoption as fully as though born to them in lawful wedlock, and such adoption shall have the same force and effect as an adoption under the provisions of this chapter, including all inheritance rights.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any child who was adopted after the execution of his or her will, the omitted child receives a share in the estate equal in value to that which he or she would have received if the testator had died intestate, unless:

  • It appears from the will that the omission was intentional.
  • When the will was executed, the testator had one or more children and gave substantially all his or her estate to the other parent of the omitted child.
  • The testator provided for the child by transfer outside the will with the intent that the transfer be in lieu of a testamentary provision.

Adopted persons are included in class gift terminology and terms of relationship in accordance with rules for determining relationships for purposes of intestate succession.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (566 KB) of this publication.

Current Through November 2014

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements?

Before the completion of an adoption, the exchange of information among the parties shall be at the discretion of the parties. Upon completion of an adoption, further contact among the parties shall be at the discretion of the adoptive parents.

Who may be a party to a postadoption contact agreement?

The parties to the adoption may participate in the agreement.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements?

The court shall not have jurisdiction to deny continuing contact between the adopted child and the birth parent, or an adoptive parent and a birth parent. Additionally, the court shall not have jurisdiction to deny an exchange of identifying information between an adoptive parent and a birth parent.

Are agreements legally enforceable?

This issue is not addressed in statutes reviewed.

How may an agreement be terminated or modified?

This issue is not addressed in statutes reviewed.

Providing Adoptive Parents With Information About Adoptees and Their Birth Families

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Current Through

Agency or Person Preparing the Report

The person placing the child for adoption shall furnish to the court, guardian ad litem, and prospective adoptive parent a written report regarding the child.

Contents of Report About the Adopted Person

The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services shall promulgate rules and regulations regarding all written information that shall be furnished to the court, guardian ad litem, and prospective adoptive parent.

Contents of Report About the Birth Family

Nonidentifying information, if known, concerning undisclosed birth parents or siblings shall be furnished by the child-placing agency or the juvenile court to the adoptive parents, legal guardians, adopted adult, or, if the adopted adult is deceased, the adopted adult’s lineal descendants, upon written request. Nonidentifying information includes the physical description, nationality, religious background, and medical history of the birth parent or sibling.

When the Report Is Made

The report about the child must be compiled as early as is practical before the prospective adoptive parent accepts physical custody of the child.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

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Current Through March 2017

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed

Payment of the following expenses is permitted:

  • Hospital, medical, or physician expenses incurred by the mother or the child
  • Counseling services for the parent or child for a reasonable time before and after the placement for adoption
  • Expenses incurred in obtaining a preplacement assessment and an assessment during the proceeding for adoption
  • Reasonable legal expenses, court costs, travel, and other administrative expenses in connection with the adoption
  • Reasonable living expenses, including food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and clothing expenses of the birth parents and child that are within the norms of the community in which the birth mother resides
  • Any other services or items the court finds reasonably necessary
Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed

The court may disallow the following:

  • Payments that the court finds unreasonable
  • Any unlawful payment in connection with the child’s placement, as described in § 568.175
Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption

It is unlawful for any organization to engage in child trafficking by soliciting, offering, or giving money for the delivery of a child for adoption.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child

It is unlawful to give or receive anything of value for the execution of consent to adoption or waiver of consent for future adoption or termination of parental rights.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency

In the case of an investigation and report made by the Children’s Division by order of the court, the court may order the payment of a reasonable fee by the petitioner to cover the costs of the investigation and report.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court

The petitioner must file with the court a signed and verified full accounting of all payments made, agreed to be made, or promised in connection with the adoption.

Rights of Unmarried Fathers, The

To better understand this issue and to view it across States, download the PDF (792 KB) of this publication.

Current Through August 2107

Legal Definition of ‘Father’

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and his or her natural or adoptive parents on which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. It includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

A man shall be presumed to be the natural father of a child if:

  • He and the child’s natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated.
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage may be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination.
    • If the marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child’s birth, he and the child’s natural mother have married or attempted to marry each other, although the marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the bureau.
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.
    • He is obligated to support the child pursuant to a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • An expert concludes that the blood tests show that the alleged parent is not excluded and that the probability of paternity is 98 percent or higher, using a prior probability of 0.5.
Paternity Registry

The Department of Health and Senior Services shall establish a putative father registry that shall record the names and addresses of:

  • Any person adjudicated by a court of this state to be the father of a child born out of wedlock
  • Any person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity of the child with the registry before or after the birth of a child out of wedlock
  • Any person adjudicated by a court of another state or territory of the United States to be the father of an out-of-wedlock child, where a certified copy of the court order has been filed with the registry by such person or any other person

An unrevoked notice of intent to claim paternity of a child may be introduced in evidence by any party other than the person who filed such notice in any proceeding in which such fact may be relevant.

Lack of knowledge of the pregnancy does not excuse the failure to file a claim of paternity in a timely manner pursuant to § 453.030. Failure to file in a timely manner shall result in the forfeiture of a man’s right to withhold consent to an adoption proceeding unless:

  • The person was led to believe through the mother’s misrepresentation or fraud that:
    • The mother was not pregnant, when in fact she was.
    • The pregnancy was terminated, when in fact the baby was born.
    • After the birth, the child died, when in fact the child is alive.
  • The person, upon the discovery of the misrepresentation or fraud, satisfied the requirements of § 453.030(3)(b) or (c) within 15 days of that discovery.
Alternate Means to Establish Paternity

An action may be brought at any time for the purpose of declaring the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship presumed under § 210.822(1), by any of the following:

  • A child
  • The child’s natural mother
  • A man presumed to be the child’s father
  • A man alleging himself to be a father
  • Any person having physical or legal custody of a child for a period of more than 60 days
  • The Family Support Division

An action to determine the existence of the father and child relationship with respect to a child who has no presumed father may be brought by:

  • The child
  • The mother or the person who has legal custody of the child
  • Any person having physical or legal custody of a child for a period of more than 60 days
  • The Family Support Division
  • The personal representative or a parent of the mother if the mother has died
  • A man alleging himself to be the father
  • The personal representative or a parent of the alleged father if the alleged father has died or is a minor

The court may, and shall upon request of any party, require the child, mother, alleged father, any presumed father who is a party to the action, and any male witness who testifies or shall testify about his sexual relations with the mother at the possible time of conception to submit to blood tests. Whenever the court finds that the results of the blood tests show that a person presumed or alleged to be the father of the child is not the father of such child, such evidence shall be conclusive of nonpaternity.

Required Information

A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of a child or an acknowledgment of paternity shall file the acknowledgment affidavit form developed by the state registrar. The form shall include the minimum requirements prescribed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 652(a)(7).

A person filing a notice of intent to claim paternity of a child shall notify the registry of any change of address.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity

A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternity that was previously filed and, upon receipt of such notification by the registry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed null and void.

Access to Information

The department shall, upon request and within 2 business days of such request, provide the names and addresses of persons listed with the registry to:

  • Any court or authorized agency
  • The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The child’s parents
  • An intermediary, including an attorney, a physician, or a member of the clergy of the parents

Such information shall not be divulged to any other person, except upon order of a court for good cause shown.

State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

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Current Through June 2014

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

When an adoption occurs in a foreign country and the adopted child migrates to the United States with the permission of the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service,* this State shall recognize the adoption.

[*As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.]

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

The adoptive parent or parents may petition the court pursuant to this section to request a change of name. The petition shall include a certified copy of the decree of adoption issued by the foreign country and documentation from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that shows the child lawfully entered the United States. The court shall recognize and give effect to the decree of the foreign country and grant a decree of recognition of the adoption and shall change the name of the adopted child to the name given by the adoptive parent, if such a request has been made.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

The Department of Health and Senior Services shall issue a birth certificate for the adopted child upon request and upon receipt of proof of adoption as required in § 193.125(7). The department, upon receipt of proof that a person has been adopted by a Missouri resident pursuant to laws of countries other than the United States, shall prepare a birth certificate in the name of the adopted child as decreed by the court of such country.

If such proof contains the surname of either adoptive parent, the department shall prepare a birth certificate as requested by the adoptive parents. Any subsequent change of the name of the adopted child shall be made by a court of competent jurisdiction. The proof of adoption required by the department shall include:

  • A copy of the original birth certificate and adoption decree
  • An English translation of the birth certificate and adoption decree
  • A copy of the approval of the immigration of the adopted person by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service that shows the child lawfully entered the United States

The authenticity of the translation of the birth certificate and adoption decree shall be sworn to by the translator in a notarized document. The State Registrar shall file the documents relating to the adoption, and the documents may be opened by the State Registrar only by an order of a court.

A birth certificate shall be issued upon request of one of the adoptive parents or the adopted person if he or she is of legal age. The birth certificate prepared pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall have the same legal weight as evidence as a delayed or altered birth certificate, as provided in §§ 193.005 to 193.325.

Unregulated Custody Transfers of Adopted Children

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Current Through October 2017

Definitions

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Prohibited or Required Actions Regarding Custody

No person, agency, organization, or institution shall surrender custody of a minor child or transfer the custody of a child to another, and no person, agency, organization, or institution shall take possession or charge of a minor child so transferred, without first having filed a petition with the court and obtaining an order from the court approving or ordering transfer of custody.

If any surrender or transfer is made without first obtaining a court order, the court shall, on petition of any public official or interested person, agency, organization, or institution, order an investigation and report as described in § 453.070 to be completed by the Children’s Division and shall make an order regarding the custody of the child that is in the best interests of the child. The investigation shall be initiated by the division within 48 hours, and the investigation and report shall be completed within 30 days. The court shall order the person having custody in violation of the provisions of this section to pay the costs of the investigation and report.

After the filing of a petition for the transfer of custody for the purpose of adoption, the court may enter an order of transfer of custody if the court finds all of the following:

  • The required family assessment has been made and reviewed by the court.
  • A recommendation has been made by the guardian ad litem.
  • A petition for transfer of custody for adoption or an order terminating parental rights has been properly filed.
  • The required financial affidavit has been filed.
  • The written report regarding the child who is the subject of the petition containing the information required by § 453.026 has been submitted.
  • The placement is in compliance with the Indian Child Welfare Act or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, if applicable.
Exceptions

This section shall not be construed to prohibit any parent, agency, organization, or institution from placing a child with another individual for care if the right to supervise the care of the child and to resume custody thereof is retained, or from placing a child with a licensed foster home within the state through a child-placing agency licensed by this state as part of a preadoption placement.

The child’s parents, without the direct or indirect assistance of an intermediary, may place a minor for adoption in the home of a relative of the child within the third degree.

Consequences

Any person who violates the terms of this section is guilty of a class E felony.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

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Current Through August 2015

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators

A person, partnership, corporation, agency, association, institution, society, or other organization commits the crime of trafficking in children if he, she, or it offers, gives, receives, or solicits any money, consideration, or other thing of value for the delivery or offer of delivery of a child to another person, partnership, corporation, agency, association, institution, society, or other organization for purposes of adoption, or for the execution of a consent to adopt, a waiver of consent to future adoption, or a consent to termination of parental rights. A crime is not committed under this section if the money, consideration, or thing of value or conduct is permitted under chapter 453 relating to adoption.

An intermediary, including a licensed attorney, a licensed physician, or a clergyman of the parents, may place a minor for adoption. The intermediary shall comply with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Department of Social Services and the Department of Health and Senior Services for such placement.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption

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Current Through December 2015

Who May Adopt

Any person, regardless of residence, may adopt. If that person is married, his or her spouse may join in the petition. If the spouse does not join in, the court may order joinder, and if the order is not complied with, the court may dismiss the petition.

Who May Be Adopted

Any child may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

A child may be placed by any of the following:

  • The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The child’s parent(s) without the direct or indirect assistance of an intermediary, in the home of a relative of the child within the third degree
  • An intermediary, including an attorney, physician, or clergy member

No person, agency, organization, or institution shall surrender custody of a minor child or transfer the custody of such a child to another, and no person, agency, organization, or institution shall take possession of a minor child so transferred, without first having filed a petition with the court and obtaining an order from the court approving or ordering a transfer of custody.

If a transfer of custody is made without first obtaining a court order, the court shall, on petition of any public official or interested person, agency, organization, or institution, order an investigation and report as described in § 453.070 to be completed by the division and shall make a custody order that is in the best interests of the child.

MO Adoption Laws Source.

Adoption in Missouri

How to Adopt in Missouri

Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Missouri.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Missouri

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked questions about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Missouri.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Missouri?

To become an Adoptive Parent in Missouri, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Pass a criminal background check and child abuse registry check
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Be financially able to support the child
  • Complete a training and assessment program
  • Live in a home or apartment that passes safety requirements

To adopt, you can be single or married, and with or without children.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Missouri?

Expenses related to adoption in Missouri range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Hospital and medical bills related to the pregnancy
  • Counseling services for the Birth Parent or child for reasonable time before and after the adoption placement
  • Legal expenses, agency fees, and cost of travel related to the adoption
  • Costs of the pre-and postplacement assessments
  • Living expenses, including food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and clothing
  • Any other expenses approved in court

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Missouri

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Missouri.

Who must consent to an adoption in Missouri?

In Missouri, written consent to adoption must be given by the following:

  • The Birth Mother
  • The man who is presumed to be the father, has acted to establish paternity no later than 15 days after the birth of the child, or has filed with the putative father registry
  • The child’s legal guardian or current Adoptive Parents
  • The adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Missouri?

Consent to adoption in Missouri is not required from the following:

  • A parent whose rights to the child have been terminated
  • A parent who has legally consented to the child’s future adoption
  • A parent whose identity is unknown
  • A parent who has a mental condition that is permanent and leaves them unable to care for the child
  • A parent who has abandoned a child for at least 6 months prior to petitioning for adoption
  • A man who has not established his paternity to the child, is not presumed by law to be the child’s father, and who gives a verified statement denying his paternity and interest in the child

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Missouri?

In Missouri, written consent to adoption from the Birth Mom cannot be given until 2 days after the child’s birth, and it must be given in front of a judge or notary public and 2 witnesses.

Written consent from the Birth Father can be given before or after adoption proceedings begin, and it must also be given in front of a judge or notary public and 2 witnesses.

The consent forms must state:

  • The Birth Mom understands the importance of identifying all possible Birth Fathers of the child and may provide the names of all such persons
  • The Birth Father understands that if he denies paternity but consents to the adoption, he waives any future interest in the child

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Missouri?

Consent is final and irrevocable once given, unless it is proven that the consent was not given voluntarily and was obtained under fraud or duress.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Missouri?

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and his or her Natural or Adoptive Parents. It includes the Mother and child relationship and the Father and child relationship.

A man is the ‘Presumed Father’ of a child if:

  • He and the Birth Mom are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • If the attempted marriage may be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination
    • If the marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation
  • After the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mom have married or attempted to marry each other, although the marriage is or may be declared invalid, and:
    • He has acknowledged his paternity of the child in writing filed with the bureau
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He is obligated to support the child pursuant to a written voluntary promise or by court order
  • An expert concludes that the blood tests show that the Alleged Parent is not excluded and that the probability of paternity is 98 percent or higher, using a prior probability of 0.5

In Missouri, a Putative Father Registry has been established for unmarried men who believe they have fathered a child to show their desire to prove paternity of the child and establish parental rights. The registry is for men who cannot find the Birth Mom of the child or who the Birth Mom is denying him ability to take a paternity test.

Paternity can also be established with an acknowledgment of paternity signed by both the Birth Mom and Father, or by a paternity law suit.

Once a man is granted paternity to the child, he has the right to help make decisions about adoption proceedings for the child.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Missouri

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Missouri are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to ask questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

  • Interviews with the applicants and other members living in the home
  • At least 2 in-home visits
  • A complete inspection of the home
  • At least 4 letters of recommendation; at least 1 from a previous employer, 1 from a relative, and 1 from a non-related person
  • A child abuse and neglect screening
  • A criminal background check
  • Written medical reports from everyone living in the home from the last 12 months
  • The social history of the applicants, including:
    • Marital history and current relationships
    • Interests and hobbies
    • Religious beliefs and practices
    • Financial status
    • Motivation to adopt
    • Education
    • Current employment and employment history
    • Family values, origin, and discipline styles
    • Location of residence and assessment of surrounding community
    • Physical and mental health, including any treatment or existing alcohol or drug abuse

Who oversees a home study in Missouri and who is included in it?

A home study in Missouri will include the Prospective Parents and anyone living in the home. It may be conducted by any of the following:

  • A social worker
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • A juvenile court officer
  • A professional counselor
  • The Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed psychologist associated with a licensed child-placing agency
  • Anyone deemed suitable by the court

Why would my home study not be approved in Missouri?

A home study may not be approved in Missouri depending on the assessment of the Prospective Parents suitability to become a parent. If a criminal background check or child abuse registry check reveal the Prospective Parent had committed harmful acts to a child, the relevance of the findings will be determined by the person conducting the home study and may be grounds for disapproval.

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Missouri?

In Missouri, the court may waive the home study assessment for stepparent and relative adoption; however, they must still go through a criminal background check.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family’s circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child’s best interest.

In Missouri, the postplacement assessment will be an update of the initial home study and a report of the child’s emotional, physical, and psychological state.

For a child younger than 3, the postplacement assessment will consist of:

  • Quarterly home visits until the adoption is final
  • Monthly telephone calls between the home visits
  • Regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

For a child older than 3, the assessment will consist of:

  • 1 home visit within the first 10 days of placement, then quarterly home visits until the adoption is final
  • Monthly telephone calls between the home visits
  • Regular written reports from the child’s pediatrician

During the visits, interviews with the child and family will be conducted and the following will be discussed:

  • The child’s adjustment to the home and school
  • The role of each family member in caring for the child
  • How the family is discussing the child’s history with him or her
  • How extended family have reacted to the adoption
  • How the child has changed marital and sibling relationships
  • How the Adoptive Parents are coping with the added responsibilities of caring for the child

If you are ready to begin your adoption journey, contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri!

Adoption in Kansas

How to Adopt in Kansas

Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Kansas.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Kansas

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked questions about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Kansas.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Kansas?

Any adult, 18 years or older, married or unmarried may attempt to adopt a child in Kansas. If the Prospective Adoptive Parent is married, he or she cannot petition to adopt without the consent of their spouse.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Kansas?

Expenses related to adoption in Kansas range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • Medical expenses for the Birth Mother and child
  • Reasonable living expenses the Birth Mother incurred during the pregnancy
  • Agency and attorney fees

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Kansas

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Kansas.

Kansas is home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. .

Who must consent to an adoption in Kansas?

Consent to adoption in Kansas must be given by the following:

  • The child’s living parents
  • The child’s legal guardian, if both parents are dead or their parental rights have been terminated
  • The child adoptee if they are at least 14 years old

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Kansas?

Consent to adoption in Kansas is not required by a child’s Birth Parent whose parental rights have been terminated or by a Birth Father who:

  • Knowingly abandoned or neglected the child
  • Is unfit as a parent or incapable of giving consent
  • Has made no reasonable effort to communicate with or support the child
  • Failed to support the Birth Mother during her pregnancy for at least 6 months prior to the child’s birth
  • Abandoned the child’s Birth Mother after receiving knowledge of the pregnancy
  • Is the child’s father as a result of rape of the Birth Mother
  • Has failed to assume parental duties for 2 consecutive years before the adoption petition

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Kansas?

Consent in Kansas must be given in writing and acknowledged before a judge or authorized officer.

Consent from a Birth Mother may not be given until 12 hours after the child’s birth, otherwise it is voidable. Consent from all other parties should not be given more than 6 months prior to the adoption petition.

If the parent is a minor, they will first receive advice from an independent legal counsel as to the consequences of the consent prior to its execution. The attorney providing independent legal advice to the minor parent must be present when the consent is given.

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Kansas?

Consent to adoption is final and irrevocable once executed, unless prior to the final decree of adoption, there is evidence that the consent was not freely or voluntarily given.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Kansas?

A “parent and child relationship” means the legal relationship existing between a child and the child’s biological or adoptive parents on which the law grants rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. It includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

A “Presumed Father” is a man who, until proven otherwise, is considered the child’s legal father by law.

In Kansas, a man is considered a Presumed Father, therefore granting him parental rights, if:

  • He and the child’s Birth Mother are, or have been, married to each other, and the child is born during that marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated
  • Before the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mother have attempted to marry each other by a marriage solemnized in compliance with law, but the attempted marriage is void or voidable, and:
    • If the attempted marriage is voidable, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination
    • If the attempted marriage is void, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation
  • After the child’s birth, he and the Birth Mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other, but the attempted marriage is void or voidable, and:
    • He has acknowledged paternity of the child in writing
    • With his consent, he is named as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by a court order
  • The man, in writing, recognizes paternity of the child, including a voluntary acknowledgement
  • Genetic tests show at least a 97 percent probability that he is the Birth Father
  • The man has a duty to support the child under court order or support, even if he was never married to the Birth Mother

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Kansas

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Kansas are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

The home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Kansas, a home study will include a criminal background check, interview, and child abuse and neglect registry check. In addition, the professional conducting the home study will make a written assessment evaluating the following:

  • Motivation for adoption
  • The entire family’s attitude toward the adoption
  • Emotional and physical health of the Adoptive Parents
  • Ability to cope with problems, stress, frustrations, crisis, and loss
  • Medical records and information regarding health conditions that could affect the ability to parent a child
  • Record of convictions other than minor traffic violations
  • Ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Capacity to give and receive affection
  • Types of children desired and kinds of disabilities accepted
  • References
  • Types of children who would not be appropriate for placement with the family
  • Recommendations for number, age, sex, characteristics, and special needs children best served by the family

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

Everyone in the Prospective Adoptive Family will be included in a home study and it can be conducted by any of the following court-approved, licensed professionals:

  • Social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Counselor
  • Child-placing agency
  • Psychologist or psychotherapist

Why would my home study not be approved in Kansas?

An adoption home study in Kansas will not be approved if a Prospective Parent is found to have a felony conviction for the following acts:

  • Crimes against a person, including:
    • Murder
    • Manslaughter
    • Assault
    • Battery
    • Kidnapping
  • Sex offenses, including:
    • Rape
    • Sexual battery
    • Sexual exploitation of a child
  • Crimes affecting family relationships or children, including:
    • Incest
    • Abuse
    • Abandonment
    • Endangerment of a child
  • Unlawful disclosure of tax information
  • Unlawful interference with a firefighter or emergency medical services attendant
  • Permitting a dangerous animal to be at large
  • Selling, promoting, or buying of sexual relations
  • Commercial sexual exploitation of a child
  • Within the past 5 years, bee convicted of a felony for:
    • Crimes involving controlled substances

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Kansas?

If approved in court, the home study for stepparent or relative adoptions may be waived in Kansas.

What are the home study requirements for adopting a baby from another state?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family’s circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child’s best interest.

In Kansas, a licensed social worker or agency representative will schedule in-home visits as they feel needed. These visits will enable them to make a clear recommendation as to whether or not the adoption should be finalized.

For more answers to your questions regarding adoption in Kansas, contact one of our specialists!

Should I Keep My Baby While Divorcing? 

Often, when a woman is faced with a divorce while pregnant, she was unaware of her pregnancy when the divorce process began. If she discovers that she is pregnant during the middle of her divorce proceedings, it can add another emotional complication to the already stressful process.

There are many questions she may have at this point:

  • Should I keep my baby and try to save our marriage?
  • Should I even tell the father about the baby?
  • Do I want to forever have a connection to this man by having and raising a baby together; even if our divorce continues?
  • What if my husband is not the father of the baby?

While you are the only one who can make this decision, we encourage you to think about one important thing, what is best for your baby? A child should never be used as a pawn in a failing marriage. Just as couples should never get pregnant in an effort to save a relationship, you should not use your pregnancy as a way to get your baby’s father to stay with you. The relationship between the two of you is hard enough already; adding a child to the mix will only complicate things further, and you will forever be bonded with a man with whom you may have previously been comfortable ending things.

If you’re asking, “Should I keep my baby while divorcing?” you should also be thinking about the realities of single parenting. If your husband is the father of your baby, he may be obligated to pay child support after your divorce; but you will still need to consider the financial aspects of raising a child on your own, as well as things like childcare and a support system for you as a single parent.

While you are coping with divorce while pregnant, you may see your unborn child as a “replacement” for the loved one you are losing, but remember this, a child should not have the pressure of being there to make you feel better. Your responsibility as their parent will be to make them feel loved and supported, despite your own feelings.

Single parenting is difficult. If this path may not be the answer for you, remember that you have another option: adoption. Yes, you can put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce, even considering the situation with the baby’s birth father. In fact, adoption may offer a life for your baby that you cannot provide, including a stable, two-parent household with parents who are committed to loving and supporting your child forever. Choosing adoption is not “giving away” your baby but giving them the chance at a life you may not be able to provide yourself.

You will have the same rights as any prospective birth mother if you choose adoption while pregnant and divorcing. You have the right to create an adoption plan that is best for you, including choosing adoptive parents for your baby and having an open adoption relationship with them and your child after the adoption. But, because birth father rights in adoption can be especially complicated during a divorce process, you will need to work with our experienced adoption specialist to learn what laws apply in your situation.

Our specialists are always available to talk you through your options if you are going through a divorce while pregnant, including the steps if you want to give a baby up for adoption while going through a divorce, your rights, and the birth father’s rights in this process.

“Giving Up” Your Baby for Adoption to Save Your Marriage

If you are pregnant and divorcing your husband, you likely have a complicated history with him, especially if he is your baby’s father. If he knows about your pregnancy, he may have an opinion about whether or not you should place your child for adoption. He may even use this newfound knowledge to manipulate your divorce proceedings and make promises about the future of your marriage.

Remember, a child should never be used as a manipulative tool in a relationship. What’s best for your child may not be what is best for your relationship. Rather than get caught up in promises your husband may or may not be making, think about what you really want for your child. Do you want to sustain your relationship even if you know your marriage won’t provide a welcoming environment for your unborn child? If your husband wants you to place your baby for adoption (against your wishes) in order to have a “fresh start” for your marriage, is he really the right one for you after all?

Whatever your situation, if your husband knows about your pregnancy, you should consider involving him in your adoption decision. Marriage is difficult, especially marriages on the verge of divorce, and so is your conversation about adoption. For you two, an important part of still being married may be coming together to make the best decision for your baby, even if it ends up being adoption.

If you are feeling coerced into a certain pregnancy decision, remember that you always have the right to make the best choice for your baby. For more information about putting a baby up for adoption while in a divorce process or crisis pregnancy center, please call our adoption specialists by emailing or calling or texting:
 1-877-903-4488 or info@adoptionchoicesofkansas.com

Adoption is an Option

Adoption is an Option at Any Stage

Whether you are eight weeks pregnant, eight months pregnant, just gave birth, or have been parenting your child for months, adoption is always an option. Many women don’t realize that it is never too late to place your child for adoption.

In fact, choosing adoption after birth is actually more common than you might realize.

Can I Place My Child for Adoption at Any Age?

Yes.
Sometimes, the reality of becoming a mother doesn’t hit you until you’ve given birth or even parented your child for some time. Or, maybe your financial or living situation has changed and you are no longer able to care for your child.
No matter the circumstances, choosing adoption may be the best option for both you and your child.
There are no age requirements for giving your child up for adoption, as some pregnant women and new mothers have worried. If you feel that adoption is right for you and your child, then it doesn’t matter how old you are or how old your baby is. It is very important to contact a professional to help right away.

Is It Too Late to Give My Baby Up For Adoption?

Generally, no.
However, the age of your child may affect what type of adoption you’re able to pursue, if you do decide that adoption is the best course of action. Many women ask, “What is the maximum age to give a child up for adoption in Kansas and/or Missouri?” “When is it too late to give a baby for adoption in Kansas and/or Missouri?” or, “How late can you give your child up for adoption?” The answers to these questions will vary depending on your individual set of circumstances.
Call Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri now at 1-877-903-4488 to discuss your situation and what options are available to you if you’re worrying about things like when can you give a child up for adoption in KS and MO.

Can I Give My Baby Up for Adoption at the Hospital?

Yes.
Putting a baby up for adoption after birth is more common than you might think. Often, women have asked, “Can I give my baby up for adoption at the hospital?” The answer is yes.
If you’re sure that adoption is right for you and your baby, then we can work with you to create an adoption plan that you’re comfortable with, even if you’re putting baby up for adoption after birth and you’re still in the hospital. You’ll still have full control over all the decisions made in your adoption.

How Does the Last-Minute Adoption Process Work?

Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri can walk you through all of the steps of placing your baby for adoption at the hospital, or even weeks or months after he or she is born. Your last-minute adoption process will vary based on your individual preferences and circumstances but, in general, you will complete the following steps:

Choosing a Family

No matter where you are in this process, Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri will provide you with profiles of waiting adoptive families who fit what you’re looking for in a family for your child. You can then review their information and choose the family you feel is the best fit for your child.
This can happen even with a last-minute adoption. The right to choose your child’s parents is an important one, and it belongs to you even if you’re placing your child for adoption after they’ve been born.

Contacting the Family

Your Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri specialist will be able to quickly contact the family you choose and present them with the adoption opportunity. If the family agrees, you will be given the opportunity to talk with them either via phone or in person when they arrive to meet you and the child.
While there may be less time for you to get to know the adoptive family before placement occurs, there will be plenty of time to connect with them in the future. Adoption is the start of a lifelong journey, and the relationship between you and your child’s adoptive parents should continue to strengthen as your child grows.

Moving Forward

Your legal parental rights will need to be terminated before your child’s adoptive parents can be granted parental rights. Your legal representative will walk you through the legal steps that are required to transfer custody to the adoptive family.
After the adoption is completed, you will need time to grieve and heal. Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri will provide post-placement support.

If you are considering adoption for your child, please do not hesitate to call Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri at 1-877-903-4488 for or text us at 1-316-209-2071. Remember, adoption is always an option!!

Open vs. Closed Adoption

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Open Adoption

An open adoption is when a prospective birth mother voluntarily places her baby for adoption with an adoptive family and the parties agree to continue communication after placement.

Kansas and Missouri open adoptions vary in their terms of agreement. The post-placement agreement will be outlined before placement to ensure that all parties are on the same page. The post-placement agreement may include frequency of contact and types of contact. Frequency and type of contact depend upon the preferences and circumstances of the birth mother and the adoptive parents. It will also be important to keep in mind that while this document guides birth mothers and adoptive families, that does not necessarily mean that it is set in stone. As the child grows up, and circumstances and situations evolve, a birth mother and the adoptive parents may desire to change frequency and type of contact in their open adoption.

Closed Adoption

The opposite of an open adoption is a closed adoption. A closed adoption is an adoption in which there is no communication or contact between the birth mother and her birth child during his or her upbringing. The birth child may decide at age 18 to open adoption records and contact his or her birth mother. However, the child will not have access to his or her birth mother’s information until then.

Closed adoptions were very popular for a long time in history, as society believed that contact between a birth mother and her child could be harmful to both parties, especially the child. However, recent research is evolving to change the desired post-placement agreement to be at least semi-open. The benefits to continued contact for both the birth mother and the child outweigh the previous fears that society had regarding open adoption.

Semi-Open Adoption

A semi-open adoption agreement means that personal information is kept confidential and post-placement contact is mediated by the adoption professional. A birth mother may want to have some level of contact with her birth child, but not want any identifying information to be revealed. Perhaps she only wants pictures and updates of her child but doesn’t desire direct contact with the adoptive family. In this case, an adoption professional would mediate that relationship and maintain the privacy of all parties. This is a great option for a woman who has chosen adoption, but doesn’t want an open relationship with her child and his or her family.

 

Neither option is right or wrong – it’s a choice! And it’s agreed upon with BOTH parties, the birth parents and adoptive parents before finalization. We have found that often the openness of an adoption can change, grow, or diminish over time. Again, it will be up to the brith parents and adoptive parents how much or how little openness in the relationship.

For more information, contact one of our adoption specialists today!!

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