Author Archives: Adoption Choices of Missouri

Insurance Eligibility for Adopted Child

Adoptive parents can be reassured that under federal and state law, their health insurance plan must treat an adoptive child the same as a “natural” or biological child and must provide coverage at the time the adoptive child is legally placed in their custody prior to finalization of the adoption.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA’93), Public Law 103-66, amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The amended law requires that any group health plan which provides coverage for dependent children must provide benefits to a child placed for adoption under the same terms and conditions as apply to a child who is the biological child of a plan participant. OBRA’93 specifically eliminated any requirement that the adoption be finalized in court before there is coverage.

Under ERISA, the adoptive child is covered by the adoptive parents’ health plan at the time the adoptive child is placed with the adoptive parents. ERISA defines the term “placement” or “being placed” for adoption, in connection with any placement for adoption of a child with any person, as “the assumption and retention by such person of a legal obligation for total or partial support of such child in anticipation of adoption of such child.”

Typically, in an independent adoption, the adoptive child is legally placed with the adoptive parents when the birth mother (and birth father if he also is placing the child for adoption) signs the adoption agreement. This document usually is signed at the hospital upon discharge and legally places the adoptive child with the adoptive parents. In most circumstances, this also is the time when the adoptive parents take physical custody of the child.

In addition, the new law also prohibits insurance plans from excluding an adopted child from coverage solely on the basis of a preexisting condition if the adoptive parents request enrollment within 30 days of placement. It is best practice to make sure that upon discharge, hospital administration has the adoptive parent’s insurance policy information. Therefore, it is important that adoptive parents request enrollment of their adopted child within 30 days of placement. Also, under HIPAA, a child adopted by an individual during the period of COBRA coverage is considered a qualified beneficiary and will be allowed to be enrolled in the plan immediately.

Review the Health Benefits Coverage under Federal Law here.
Review the Newborn and Adopted Children Coverage Model Act here.
Enroll in or change your health coverage here.

Adoption Choices of Missouri hopes to always provide you the most current and accurate information regarding the adoption process, laws, and processes. Please contact us to discuss your adoption options as an Adoptive Family or Birth Parents.
Call Us at 1-877-903-4488

 

 

Penalty Free Withdrawal for Adoption with the new SECURE Act

After months of uncertainty, Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, clearing the way for one of the most significant pieces of retirement plan and education account legislation in more than a decade. On December 20, President Trump signed the SECURE Act into law.

The SECURE Act makes numerous changes to both Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that will expand retirement plan coverage for workers and increase savings opportunities. A welcome addition to the bill and beneficial for adoptive families, a new exception to the 10% early distribution penalty:

Exception would allow a penalty free distribution up to $5,000 from an IRA or employer plan referred to as “Qualified Birth or Adoption Distribution.” To qualify, the account owner must take a distribution during the one-year period beginning on either (1) date of birth or (2) date on which the adoption (individual must be under age 18) is finalized. The provision allows the individual that took the distribution to repay the distribution back to the plan or IRA at a later date. (the new rule can be found in Sec. 113, also copied below)

This means a penalty-free withdrawal of $5,000 from your 401(k) accounts to defray the costs of having or adopting a child. If the parents have separate retirement plans, they can each withdraw up to $5,000.

Generally, a distribution from a retirement plan must be included in income. And, unless an exception applies (for example, distributions in case of financial hardship), a distribution before the age of 59-1/2 is subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the amount includible in income.

Starting in 2020, plan distributions (up to $5,000) that are used to pay for expenses related to the birth or adoption of a child are penalty-free. That $5,000 amount applies on an individual basis, so for a married couple, each spouse may receive a penalty-free distribution up to $5,000 for a qualified birth or adoption.

Adopting a child is an expensive endeavor, one many families struggle to afford. The penalty free withdrawal opens a new source of money to tap in to to help with any expenses tied to adding a new child to the family. New parents have a year to take the withdrawal after the birth or adoption of a child and it needs to take place after the child’s arrival, which means it can’t be used for costs incurred leading up to a planned birth or adoption.

 

Adoption portion of the SECURE Act:

SEC. 113. PENALTY-FREE WITHDRAWALS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS FOR INDIVIDUALS IN CASE OF BIRTH OF CHILD OR ADOPTION.

(a) In General.—Section 72(t)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

“(H) DISTRIBUTIONS FROM RETIREMENT PLANS IN CASE OF BIRTH OF CHILD OR ADOPTION.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—Any qualified birth or adoption distribution.

“(ii) LIMITATION.—The aggregate amount which may be treated as qualified birth or adoption distributions by any individual with respect to any birth or adoption shall not exceed $5,000.

“(iii) QUALIFIED BIRTH OR ADOPTION DISTRIBUTION.—For purposes of this subparagraph—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘qualified birth or adoption distribution’ means any distribution from an applicable eligible retirement plan to an individual if made during the 1-year period beginning on the date on which a child of the individual is born or on which the legal adoption by the individual of an eligible adoptee is finalized.

“(II) ELIGIBLE ADOPTEE.—The term ‘eligible adoptee’ means any individual (other than a child of the taxpayer’s spouse) who has not attained age 18 or is physically or mentally incapable of self-support.

“(iv) TREATMENT OF PLAN DISTRIBUTIONS.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—If a distribution to an individual would (without regard to clause (ii)) be a qualified birth or adoption distribution, a plan shall not be treated as failing to meet any requirement of this title merely because the plan treats the distribution as a qualified birth or adoption distribution, unless the aggregate amount of such distributions from all plans maintained by the employer (and any member of any controlled group which includes the employer) to such individual exceeds $5,000.

“(II) CONTROLLED GROUP.—For purposes of subclause (I), the term ‘controlled group’ means any group treated as a single employer under subsection (b), (c), (m), or (o) of section 414.

“(v) AMOUNT DISTRIBUTED MAY BE REPAID.—

“(I) IN GENERAL.—Any individual who receives a qualified birth or adoption distribution may make one or more contributions in an aggregate amount not to exceed the amount of such distribution to an applicable eligible retirement plan of which such individual is a beneficiary and to which a rollover contribution of such distribution could be made under section 402(c), 403(a)(4), 403(b)(8), 408(d)(3), or 457(e)(16), as the case may be.

“(II) LIMITATION ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO APPLICABLE ELIGIBLE RETIREMENT PLANS OTHER THAN IRAS.—The aggregate amount of contributions made by an individual under subclause (I) to any applicable eligible retirement plan which is not an individual retirement plan shall not exceed the aggregate amount of qualified birth or adoption distributions which are made from such plan to such individual. Subclause (I) shall not apply to contributions to any applicable eligible retirement plan which is not an individual retirement plan unless the individual is eligible to make contributions (other than those described in subclause (I)) to such applicable eligible retirement plan.

“(III) TREATMENT OF REPAYMENTS OF DISTRIBUTIONS FROM APPLICABLE ELIGIBLE RETIREMENT PLANS OTHER THAN IRAs.—If a contribution is made under subclause (I) with respect to a qualified birth or adoption distribution from an applicable eligible retirement plan other than an individual retirement plan, then the taxpayer shall, to the extent of the amount of the contribution, be treated as having received such distribution in an eligible rollover distribution (as defined in section 402(c)(4)) and as having transferred the amount to the applicable eligible retirement plan in a direct trustee to trustee transfer within 60 days of the distribution.

“(IV) TREATMENT OF REPAYMENTS FOR DISTRIBUTIONS FROM IRAS.—If a contribution is made under subclause (I) with respect to a qualified birth or adoption distribution from an individual retirement plan, then, to the extent of the amount of the contribution, such distribution shall be treated as a distribution described in section 408(d)(3) and as having been transferred to the applicable eligible retirement plan in a direct trustee to trustee transfer within 60 days of the distribution.

“(vi) DEFINITION AND SPECIAL RULES.—For purposes of this subparagraph—

“(I) APPLICABLE ELIGIBLE RETIREMENT PLAN.—The term ‘applicable eligible retirement plan’ means an eligible retirement plan (as defined in section 402(c)(8)(B)) other than a defined benefit plan.

“(II) EXEMPTION OF DISTRIBUTIONS FROM TRUSTEE TO TRUSTEE TRANSFER AND WITHHOLDING RULES.—For purposes of sections 401(a)(31), 402(f), and 3405, a qualified birth or adoption distribution shall not be treated as an eligible rollover distribution.

“(III) TAXPAYER MUST INCLUDE TIN.—A distribution shall not be treated as a qualified birth or adoption distribution with respect to any child or eligible adoptee unless the taxpayer includes the name, age, and TIN of such child or eligible adoptee on the taxpayer’s return of tax for the taxable year.

“(IV) DISTRIBUTIONS TREATED AS MEETING PLAN DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS.—Any qualified birth or adoption distribution shall be treated as meeting the requirements of sections 401(k)(2)(B)(i), 403(b)(7)(A)(ii), 403(b)(11), and 457(d)(1)(A).”.

(b) Effective Date.—The amendments made by this section shall apply to distributions made after December 31, 2019.

 

How to Take Care of Yourself During the Adoption Process

The adoption is a difficult emotional experience for everyone involved, especially for both birth mothers who are navigating the complexities of their choice to place their child for adoption, and for adoptive parents who are anxiously preparing for a new child. The adoption process can also be very demanding as all parties involved must follow rigorous guidelines. With all this additional stress, it can begin to take a toll on you. Below are some tips for keeping yourself healthy both physically, mentally, and emotionally throughout the adoption process. While everyone has a different experience, here are some self-care tips to consider as you navigate this emotional time.

  1. Use your Resources

When the stress of the process seems overwhelming, it can help ease any anxiety or discomfort by reaching out to your adoption counselor, social worker, lawyer, agency, or other staff that is helping you through this journey. They can provide you with information, walk you through your adoption plan, answer any questions, and ease your worries. Their job is to help you, so always remember that you can reach out at any point. Additionally, they can provide you with materials whether it be books, websites, online community forums, etc… to help you share your experience and talk to other people going through the same experiences.

  1. Talk to Someone

Taking care of yourself is important, and during this process, it is important to reach out to others to find additional support. If possible, maybe try to talk to a therapist or another licensed medical professional who can provide you with different tools and resources to help you throughout this time. However, this might not always be possible and that is okay. If you cannot talk to or do not feel comfortable talking to a therapist, you can talk to a family member, a friend, or another trusted person in your life. They can provide you with the support and help you may need.

  1. Schedule Time for Yourself

While this may seem obvious, giving yourself the time you need to focus on yourself is not always a top priority. People often get caught up in everyday life and the added stress of the adoption process only makes the rushing around more hectic. However, this is an incredibly emotional time for everyone involved. Because of this, self-care is even more important. Know yourself and your body and set some time aside each week to unwind. There are many ways for people to do this whether it be through exercise, meditation, a religious practice, or a favorite hobby. Whatever your preference might be, it is important to find time to relax. This will help you both physically and mentally as you go through this process.

  1. Focus on Small Goals

It is easy to get caught up in the stress of finding the perfect adoptive family for your child or preparing yourself and your home to welcome a new member into your family. Often, these big goals can seem overwhelming and can be a source of anxiety and fear. Rather than focus on the long-term goal, take a step back and focus on the present. Set daily goals for yourself. Even if it may feel unimportant, focus on the day in front of you. Do not be afraid to be kind to yourself. If you got up, showered, went to work, or just faced the day, that is a victory. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge the different obstacles you overcome daily.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Express Emotion

This process is hard! It is okay to have bad days. It is okay to cry, to break down, to feel stressed, to worry about the future, to have doubts. Everyone has days where it feels like it’s all too much. Acknowledging your feelings and expressing your emotions throughout the experience is an important part of the growth and acceptance of the process. These feelings of pain, grief, anxiety, and excitement are all part of the process. However, while it is important to acknowledge these things, do not let them consume you. Be confident in yourself, your decision, and the process. While it may be difficult at times, at the end of it all, adoption is an incredibly selfless decision on the birth mother’s part and an exciting moment for new parents who are hoping to create a family.

2019 Adoption Tax Credit

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With the tax filing season quickly approaching, the Internal Revenue Service recommends taxpayers take time now to determine if they are eligible for important tax credits. Many of our adoptive families will be applying for the Adoption Tax Credit. With that in mind, we have compiled some basic information about the 2019 adoption tax credit

Adoption Tax Credit 101

If you have done any research into adoption financing, you’ve probably heard about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. But what exactly is this credit, and how does it work?

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that helps families offset the costs of qualifying adoption expenses. Families who paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2019, and owe taxes, may be eligible to benefit from this credit.

According to the IRS, “qualified adoption expenses” can include items like:

  • Reasonable and necessary adoption fees
  • Court costs and attorney fees
  • Traveling expenses related to adoption
  • Other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child

If you’re not sure whether you are eligible to use the adoption tax credit or if you paid qualifying adoption expenses in 2019, a tax professional will be able to provide more information.

How Much is the 2019 Adoption Tax Credit?

The amount families are eligible to receive from the Federal Adoption Tax Credit depends on a number of factors and will vary based on their unique situation. However, the maximum amount available for the 2019 Federal Adoption Tax Credit is up to $14,080.

The Adoption Tax Credit limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year based on current cost of living. Income affects how much of the credit parents can claim. For the 2019 Adoption Tax Credit, families with a MAGI below $211,160 can claim full credit. Those with incomes from $211,160 to $251,160 can claim partial credit, and those with incomes above $251,160 cannot claim the credit.

Adoption and taxes can be complicated, and you will likely have questions about the tax benefits available in your specific situation. While we hope you find the information in this post helpful, keep in mind that Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice. Talk to a tax professional for more specific information about how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Claiming the Credit

To claim the credit, taxpayers will complete a 2019 version of IRS Form 8839 (available at irs.gov in early 2020) and submit it with their Form 1040 when they file their 2019 taxes. Most tax software will create this form for you. Before filing, taxpayers should review 2019 Form 8839 instructions (will also be available at www.irs.gov) very carefully to be sure that they apply for the credit correctly and to see if anything has changed. The instructions are needed to calculate how much of the credit will be used.

When claiming the adoption tax credit, you’ll want to be ready with documents such as:

  • The final adoption decree
  • A placement agreement from an authorized agency
  • Court documents
  • A state’s determination for special-needs children, if applicable

 

This is a lot of information, and you probably have more questions about the tax credit for adopting a child in your specific situation. Adoption Choices does not offer tax advice and recommends that you talk to your tax professional for specific information on how the Adoption Tax Credit can benefit your family.

Local Missouri Adoption Agency

Facing an unplanned, unexpected, or unwanted pregnancy? Considering adoption?

At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we understand this is a very stressful and confusing time for you. We are not here to convince you what you should do; this is your decision and yours alone. Rather, our compassionate team is here to guide and support you through the adoption process should you decide that this is the right choice for you and your baby.

Exploring our agency, you will read (or hear) the terms adoption social worker, adoption specialist, or caseworker. In the big picture, these are one in the same, the professional support we provide to our birth mothers. We will discuss the differences of each of these later. But what’s most important for you to know is that Adoption Choices has this staff available for you LOCALLY, on the ground, willing and ready to come to you.

Setting us apart from other agencies, our adoption professionals are local. We know what resources are available to our birth parents in their city and where to find them. Adoption Choices is focused on the needs of the birth parentswhereas other agencies cater to the adoptive parents. We take a far more hands-on approach with face-to-face support throughout the entire adoption journey. And beyond.

Your caseworker support continues after placement. We believe post-placement support is a critical part of your recovery and healing. Your adoption story doesn’t end at the hospital so neither does our support. While counseling is no magic fix, it can make a huge difference in your emotional stability during and after pregnancy and placement.

What else our adoption social worker, adoption specialist, or caseworker can do for you:

I. We are local so we can come to you, your home, your work, or even to the hospital. Since we are near, we are flexible to your schedule.

II. Your counselor or social worker can help you make important decisions for your baby throughout the process and coordinate the services you need. They will be with you *literally right next to you!* every step of the way as you create your adoption plan, find an adoptive family, and go through the legal process of placing your baby for adoption.

III. We can relate to your situation – we have worked with many birth mothers from all different backgrounds and we know that every woman needs varying types and amounts of emotional support. We provide individualized support based on your unique needs.

There is a lot to think about when you place your child for adoption. This is a big decision, and sometimes you will feel secure in your choice while other moments will be more uncertain. Being your support, your advocate, your go to during this period, is our commitment to you. If you have questions, are confused, feel like you need someone to talk to, the adoption counselors at Adoption Choices of Missouri will be at your disposal.

Call us to start your adoption journey: 877-903-4488 or Text Us at 316-209-2071

We are the team on your side!

 

The Adoption Process

The adoption process can feel daunting, overwhelming, confusing, and scary. You are not alone! We are here to help. In the most simplistic way, here is a step by step guide for adopting with Adoption Choices of Missouri and Kansas

STEP 1 | CONTACT ADOPTION CHOICES OF MISSOURI and Kansas
Call Us 877-903-4488
Text Us 316-209-2071

STEP 2 | SCHEDULE INITIAL MEETING
Birth Parent Counselor can come to you

STEP 3 | COMPLETE PAPERWORK
Birth Parent Counselor will provide you with all the necessary paperwork. Please bring a proof of pregnancy with you.

STEP 4 | FIND A DOCTOR
The matching process begins

STEP 5 | REVIEW FAMILY PROFILES
Birth Parent Counselor will bring you profiles to choose from. Don’t feel you have the right family? We’ll get more profiles.

STEP 6 | CONGRATULATIONS, YOU’RE MATCHED!
Birth Parent Counselor will help secure a place for you to live (if you need it).

STEP 7 | FAMILY INTRODUCTION
Birth Parent Counselor will help you schedule a conference call with your adoptive family. And maybe even a visit!

STEP 8 | STAY IN TOUCH WITH BIRTH PARENT COUNSELOR
Attend doctor’s appointments. Communicate with your adoptive family.

STEP 9 | YOUR DUE DATE!
Birth Parent Counselor will be present to advocate for you at the hospital.

STEP 10 | BIRTH OF CHILD
The baby will leave the hospital with the adoptive family. Birth Parent Counselor will schedule a court date for you to give your consent.

STEP 11 | GOODBYE DINNER
Goodbye Dinner with adoptive family (if you want). You should receive pictures and updates at 1 month. Expenses will continue to be paid for 1 month after delivery.

You can contact us at anytime during your pregnancy and begin an adoption process. Our counselors are committed to the women we serve no matter what decision they make. Adoption Choices of Missouri is dedicated to helping women find hope in what seems like a hopeless situation.

Top 10 Questions by Women Considering Adoption

If you have found this article, you are probably an expectant mother considering adoption as an option for a unplanned, crisis, or unwanted pregnancy. Since we are often asked similar questions, 1) you can trust that you are not alone! And 2) we have compiled some of our most common adoption questions asked by expectant mothers considering adoption with Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri.

1. If I contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri, am I obligated to choose adoption?

When you contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri, an adoption specialist will help you objectively explore adoption to determine if it is the best choice for you and your baby, and they will help answer any of your other adoption questions. If you decide adoption is right for you, your adoption specialist will begin working with you on your adoption plan.

2. How much will adoption cost me?

All of Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri services are free to you, including medical expenses, legal services, counseling services, adoptive family matching services and more. Also, based on your state’s adoption laws, you may be eligible to receive living expenses to help cover your pregnancy-related expenses.

3. Do I choose the adoptive family?

You are in charge of nearly every part of your adoption plan, including choosing the adoptive family to raise your baby. Your adoption specialist will work with you to find exactly the type of family you see your child growing up in.

Whether you envision your child growing up in the city or in the country, in the Midwest or on the West Coast, you choose the adoptive family and thus the life your child will have. Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri families are all unique, and we believe there is a perfect family waiting for every woman who is considering adoption.

4. How does Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri screen adoptive families?

Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri pre-screens all of our adoptive families to ensure that they:

  • Have completed an extensive home study, ensuring the family has completed criminal, medical and financial checks, and that their home is a safe environment for a child.
  • Are fully committed to adoption.
  • Are accepting of certain contact with you before and after the adoption, including participating in a conference call, meeting at the hospital, and sending pictures and letters for up to 18 years after the adoption.

Finally, Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri will provide you with a wealth of knowledge about any family that matches your preferences, so you can perform your own “screening process.”

5. Can I get to know the adoptive family?

We believe it is very important for you to get to know the family you have chosen before proceeding with the adoption. This ensures that it is a good match and that you both share the same goals.

Here are some ways in which you can get to know the adoptive parents:

  • Conference Calls – A phone conversation between you and the adoptive family with your adoption specialist being present on the call as well.
  • Email Exchange – A popular way to quickly ask questions or provide updates without having to call one another.
  • Visits – An in-person meeting between you and the adoptive parents.

Your adoption specialist will help guide you throughout this process of getting to know the adoptive parents and selecting the type of adoption you wish to plan.

6. Can I have a relationship with my baby?

Over the past few decades, adoption has become increasingly “open” in that birth parents have more opportunities than ever to continue a relationship with their child and the adoptive parents.

You have the opportunity to stay a part of your child’s life with:

  • Pictures and Letters – The adoptive family sends you pictures and letters in the mail or email of your child at least once per year.
  • Phone Calls/Skype – You may talk to your child and the adoptive parents over the phone or through Skype.
  • Visits – Many of our adoptive families are interested in open adoption, meaning they are excited for you to maintain a personal relationship with your child.

7. Will my child “hate” me for choosing adoption?

Today, most adopted children love and respect their birth parents for the selfless decision they made, which provided them with the best life possible. Think about it: a child who grows up with loving parents, a comfortable home, a good school and is provided an overall great life is going to be a pretty happy kid.

Why would a child have any ill feelings toward his or her birth parents for making such an awesome decision?

This concern is most likely a product of adoptions prior to the 1980s, which emotionally scarred some adopted children because they weren’t told of their adoption properly. Since adoption has opened up over the past 30 years, today’s adopted children, adolescents and adults often have overwhelmingly positive feelings about their adoption and birth parents.

8. Can I still choose adoption if I have other children?

You may be surprised to know that many of the women we work with already have children.

If this describes your situation, your adoption specialist will guide you on how to approach this delicate topic with your other children, and even on how to include them in the process. We can even provide counseling to your other children, when necessary.

9. Will adoptive parents love my child like a biological child?

Nearly all adoptive parents have tried for years to have children, but they are unable to because of infertility. Because of their struggles, it makes their desire to become parents even stronger.

This is why adopted children often have such happy lives filled with opportunities, because their parents know the feeling of not having children. Once they are blessed with a child, he or she is truly the light of their lives.

And even with families made up of both adopted and biological children, they are all loved and treated equally.

10. When will I feel better and more confident about my adoption decision?

Women often feel better about their adoption decision when they begin looking at adoptive families and finally find the perfect family for their child.

If you pursue an adoption plan, once you select a family and get to know them, the family becomes more “real” and not just a family seen through pictures and video. You are able to see how excited they are to become parents and why they would make such great parents.

Finally, by staying connected after the adoption, you will see that your child is happy and healthy, which makes most birth mothers feel awesome about the life they’ve created and the opportunity they’ve provided for a family.

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This is just a sample of the many questions asked by women considering adoption. If you have any other questions about adoption, call us toll free at Toll Free: 1-877-903-4488 to speak with an adoption specialist. Serving expectant women across Kansas and Missouri, you can also contact us online here.

The Hospital Experience for Birth Mothers

For birth mothers, the hospital stay is incredibly strenuous both physically and mentally. Because of this, it is important to set up a hospital plan, so that you can be fully prepared for what to expect. In the hospital, the birth mother has options about what she wants to do both before, during, and after birth. In Missouri, there are specific practices that help birth mothers through the hospital stay process. Below is some specific information for birth parents looking to create a hospital plan in the state of Missouri.

Consent for adoption: In Missouri, before the adoption can become official, there is a 48- hour waiting period. After that 48 hours, the birth mother can officially give her consent. The birth father, if present, can give his consent at any point during the 48 hours. After this period, formal consent must be submitted in writing. The birth mother, the birth father (if he established paternity), and the adoptive parents, must all consent to the adoption. In addition, there must be two other witnesses present. After this, there is typically a 3-day waiting period before the adoption can be finalized legally. During these 3 days, the birth mother is able to think about her decision. Even if she initially consented to the adoption, she has the right to change her mind. Once it is formally reviewed and accepted by the court, the adoption is official. During this period, the birth mother also has a right to choose how she wants to spend it with her baby. This is why it is important to come up with an appropriate hospital plan to meet your individual needs.

 Creating a hospital plan: A birth mother has complete control about how she wants her hospital experience to be. In Missouri, a birth mother even has the option to decide if she wants the adoptive parents in the delivery room at the time of the birth. She also can decide who gets to hold the child first. Once the birth occurs, the birth mother can decide how many visitors she can have during the hospital stay and who is able to come to visit you and your new baby. The birth mother also has the right to name her baby, even if the adoptive parents decide to legally change the name after the adoption. During your hospital stay, a birth mother also can decide how much time she spends with the child. While the decision is up to the mother, statistics indicate that spending more time with your child, while difficult, can help the birth mother grieve and give her the closure she needs.

After the birth: Once the baby is born and placed with their adoptive family, the adoption process continues. The adoption plan has been decided on continues. The birth mother will have worked out an appropriate agreement with the adoptive parents about how much contact she will be able to have with the child. The birth mother is also given the appropriate resources to help with the grieving process. It is important to remember that the hospital stay is one of the most emotional parts of the process. Remember that all your feelings about the situation are valid and important. Because of this, it is important to understand your rights and know that even if you made a pre-existing hospital plan, you can change your mind at any point.

Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for Adoption Choices of Kansas, Inc. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.

 

 

References:

Adoptions Together. (2018, August 07). Placing a Baby for adoption and your hospital stay. Retrieved from https://www.adoptionstogether.org/blog/2018/08/01/what-all-birth-moms-should-know-about-the-hospital-stay/

American Adoptions, Inc. (n.d.). “What does adoption mean to a child?” Retrieved from https://www.americanadoptions.com/missouri-adoption/giving-baby-up-for-adoption-in-missouri.

How to adopt in Missouri. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://consideringadoption.com/adoptions-by-state/how-to-adopt-in-missouri.

Single Person Adoption

A common misconception with adoption is that you must be married to adopt. However, a single person can adopt if they would like to add a child to their life. Adoption gives you the option to raise a child, love him/her, and give them a caring and supportive home that they simply did not have before. Single-parent adoption is absolutely a possibility and Adoption Choices of Missouri understands that every family, and every adoption plan, is unique! Our staff will help you make an adoption plan that meets your needs with care and compassion.

Things to Consider

As a single person, it’s important to keep in mind that there are some factors you should consider before making that final move towards adoption. We recommend examining these factors yourself first, then contacting an adoption counselor with Adoption Choices of Missouri to discuss your situation and determine what’s best for you.

  1. Home Study – the home study is a legal requirement by Missouri state law and is how we and the state decides whether your home is fit for raising a child. If you are single, your living habits will change slightly from that of a married couple. Make sure your home is a healthy, organized, and safe environment for a child to live in. You will need to have at least 2 bedrooms: one for you and one for your child.
  2. Financials – one of the most difficult factors to prove is your financial stability. Unless you have access to a large amount of cash, it can be a problem to show that you can afford a child. When you sit down with our adoption agency, it’s a good idea to show your future plans and how you plan to achieve them with numbers showing how much money you can afford to spend outside of the average bill. Find out all of the adoption fees beforehand and set aside some money for any fees or unexpected bills.
  3. Life Changes – another important factor you should consider is the social impact that having a child can have on you. Many single prospective parents do not think about how a child would affect relationships with their family and friends, so it’s a good idea to let your closest friends and family know that you’re considering adoption. More importantly, this should also provide you with a support base to help you through the adoption process and when raising your child. We highly recommend that you have a strong support base.

Support System

Adopting and raising a child requires a lot of support from family and friends. Some small issues such as being late to picking your child up from school can cause a stressful living situation and should be avoided as much as possible. A strong support base can resolve many of these situations. We recommend that single parents build close relationships with family members and close friends and ask them if they’d be willing to take on some extra responsibilities in the case that you can’t do something. Some good questions to ask before going through with an adoption could include:

  • Who would help when you’re sick in bed and need to tend to your child?
  • In the case of an emergency, who would be with you physically in a moment’s notice?
  • Who would pick your child up if you couldn’t make it?
  • Is your family member/friend kid-friendly?
  • If you are considering interracial adoption, does your support system discriminate based on age or ethnicity?

Conclusion

Adoption is beautiful and is a great way to connect great parents with great children. In the end, though, it’s up to the birth parents to choose where their baby goes. Some birth parents prefer married couples, while others prefer single parents.

Here are some key points to take away:

  • Are you financially stable enough to support a child and yourself?
  • Is your support system stable and will they help when you need them to (including the middle of the night)?
  • Would you pass the home study?
  • Some birth parents prefer single parents, but some prefer married couples.
  • 28.2% of adoptions are done by single men and women.
  • Make use of our adoption counselors.

Please contact Adoption Choices of Missouri if you have any questions about single parent adoption.

Birth Mother, Birth Father, Adoptive Family – Adoption Terms Defined

If you are an expectant mother and considering adoption for your baby or you are an adoptive family, hoping to add a baby to your family, we know all the information and resources can be overwhelming. We try to compile this information, resources, news, and include experience and expertise to help you understand every aspect of your adoption journey. In this article we define some of the most popular terms you will come across while researching adoption.

Adoptee. A person who was adopted. Some people prefer the terms “adopted child” or “adopted person.”

Adoption. The complete transfer of parental rights and obligations from one parent or set of parents to another. A legal adoption requires a court action.

Adoption Agency. An organization, like Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri, usually licensed by the state, that provides services to birth parents, adoptive parents, and children who need families. Agencies may be public or private, secular or religious, for profit or nonprofit.

Adoption Assistance. Monthly federal or state subsidy payments to help adoptive parents raise children with special needs. Adoption assistance can also refer to the financial assistance that birth mothers may receive during their pregnancy with an adoption plan in place.

Adoption Attorney. A lawyer who files, processes, and finalizes adoptions in court. In some states attorneys may also arrange adoptive placements.

Adoption Consultant. An individual who helps would-be adoptive parents decide on an adoption path, and assists in choosing an appropriate agency or attorney.

Adoption Facilitator. An individual whose business involves connecting birth parents and prospective adoptive parents for a fee (allowed in only a few states).

Adoption Plan. Birth parents’ decision to allow their child to be placed for adoption.

Adoption Tax Credit. Nonrefundable credit that reduces taxes owed by adoptive parents who claim adoption expense reimbursement on federal taxes (and, in some states with similar legislation, on state taxes). The credit calculation can include adoption expenses, court fees, attorney fees, and travel expenses.

Adoption Triad. The three major parties in an adoption: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child. Also called “adoption triangle” or “adoption circle.”

Agency Adoption. Adoptive placements made by licensed organizations, like Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri, that screen prospective adoptive parents and supervise the placement of children in adoptive homes until the adoption is finalized.

Birth Parent. A child’s biological parent who has signed a consent to adoption. Birth parents include a birth mother and birth father, and, birth grandparents.

Closed Adoption. An adoption that involves total confidentiality and sealed records.

Confidentiality. The legally required process of keeping identifying or other significant information secret. Also, the principle of ethical practice that requires social workers and other professionals not to disclose information about a client without the client’s consent.

Consent to Adopt or Consent to Adoption. A birth parent’s legal permission for the adoption to proceed.

Decree of Adoption. A legal order that finalizes an adoption.

Disruption. An adoption process that is halted after the prospective adoptive parents have taken custody but before legally finalization.

Dissolution. An adoption in which the parent-child legal relationship is severed after finalization.

Domestic Adoption. An adoption that involves adoptive parents and a child that are permanent residents of the United States. (the alternative would be an International Adoption)

Emergency Placement. An adoption match that is made after the child has already been born. Also referred to as a “baby-born situation,” “hospital match,” “stork-drop”, or “drop-in”.

Employer Benefits. Compensation to workers through employer-sponsored programs, e.g., financial assistance, reimbursement of adoption expenses, and/or provision of parental or family leave.

Expectant Mother. A woman who is pregnant and considering adoption for her child after she gives birth.

Finalization. The final legal step in the adoption process; involves a court hearing, during which a judge orders that the adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents.

Home Study. A process through which prospective adoptive parents are educated about adoption and evaluated to determine their suitability to adopt.

ICPC. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is statutory law that establishes uniform legal and administrative procedures governing the adoption of children between states within the U.S.

Identifying Information. Information on birth parents or adoptive parents that discloses their identities.

Independent Adoption. An adoption facilitated by other than an adoption agency.

Kinship Adoption. Adoption by a biological relative of the child.

Legal Guardian. A person who has legal responsibility for the care and management of a person (such as a minor child) who is incapable of administering his or her own affairs.

Legal Risk Placement. Placement of a child in a prospective adoptive family when the child is not yet legally free for adoption.

Match or Matching. The process of bringing together qualified prospective adoptive parents and willing biological parents, who by choice choose to explore the compatibility of each other and who can agree on the terms under which the adoptive parents can adopt the child.

Open Adoption. An adoption that involves some amount of initial and/or ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families, ranging from sending letters through the agency to exchanging names and/or scheduling visits.

Placement. The point at which a child begins to live with prospective adoptive parents; the period before the adoption is finalized.

Post-Placement Supervision. The range of counseling and agency services provided to the adoptive family after the child’s placement and before the adoption is finalized in court.

Private Adoption. See Independent Adoption.

Private Agencies. Non-governmental adoption agencies licensed by the state, like Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri,

Public Agencies. Social service agencies run by state or county governments that deal mainly with children in foster care.

Relative Adoption. See Kinship Adoption.

Relinquishment. Voluntary termination of parental rights. Some prefer the phrase “making an adoption plan.”

Reunion. A meeting between an adopted person and birth parents or other birth relatives.

Revocation. The legally specified period in which a mother who has consented to adoption may revoke that consent and regain custody of her child. The revocation period varies from stte to state—in some, parental rights are terminated upon relinquishment and there is no revocation period, in others, the revocation period is 30 days.

Same Sex Adoption. Adoption of children by lesbian, gay, bisexual ,transgender (LGBT+) people. This may be in the form of a joint adoption by a same-sex couple, adoption by one partner of a same-sex couple of the other’s biological child (step-child adoption), or adoption by a single LGBT+ person. Also known as “LGBT Adoption” and “LGBTQ Adoption”.

Search. An attempt to locate and/or make a connection with a birth parent or a biological child.

Semi-Open Adoption. An adoption in which a child’s birth parents and adoptive parents may meet once or twice, but exchange only nonidentifying information.

Single Adoption. An adoption in which the adoptive family is a single individual, male or female.

Special-Needs Children. Children whom agencies consider difficult to place because of emotional or physical disorders, age, race, membership in a sibling group, history of abuse, or other factors.

Transracial Adoption. An adoption in which the child and the adoptive parent(s) are not of the same race.

Waiting Children. Children in the public child welfare system who cannot return to their birth homes and need permanent, loving families to help them grow up safe and secure.

Waiting Families. Families who have public profiles available and are waiting to be chosen by an expectant mother/birth parents.

Positive Language in Adoption

Birth Mother, First Mother
Birth parent
Birth child
My child
Born to unmarried parents
Terminate parental rights
Make an adoption plan
To parent
Parent
Adoption triad or circle
Child placed for adoption
Child with special needs
Was adopted
Unplanned pregnancy, crisis pregnancy

Negative, Outdated, or Inaccurate Language in Adoption

Real parent
Natural parent
Own child
Adopted child
Illegitimate
Give up (for adoption)
Give away
Placed up (for adoption)
To keep
Adoption triangle
An unwanted child
Handicapped child
Is adopted
Unwanted pregnancy

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