Award-Winning Legal Representation
Smith Law Offices, LLC sees clients for a wide range of family law matters, including helping families with the adoption process in Missouri. Our St. Charles adoption attorneys are highly knowledgeable and experienced in the field and understand the complexities associated with adoption.
We are familiar with what it requires to navigate through the process and our goal is to help make it simple and easy for you.
What Are The Requirements To Adopt A Child In Missouri?
Anyone can apply to become an adoptive parent in Missouri, if they are 21 years old and willing to go through the training and assessment process. That process includes background checks, health screenings, financial discussions and home assessments. Many people think you must be married or own your own home, but that is not the case.
What Kinds of Adoptions Are Available?
Our St. Charles adoption lawyers are very familiar with the process relating to each type of adoption.
We assist with a number of different types of adoptions, including:
- Private adoption
- Domestic adoption
- Agency adoption
- Step-parent adoption
- International adoption
- Third-party adoption
Understanding which type of adoption is right for you enables you to pursue a method of adoption that allows you to easily integrate your new family member into your life.
Private Domestic Adoption
In a private domestic adoption, prospective adoptive parents work with a private adoption agency to match with and adopt a child. Frequently, this means that adoptive parents have direct contact with the adoptee's biological parents, and may continue to do so post-adoption.
While private adoption is often more expensive than foster care adoption, parents may also be able to adopt infants more easily or tailor their requests more specifically.
Domestic Agency Adoption
In a domestic agency adoption, prospective parents work with a state-sanctioned and approved adoption agency. This typically involves working with a state-affiliated adoption professional throughout the process, passing screening efforts such as background checks and home studies, and eventually matching with an adoptee after the state approves a parent for adoption.
Most domestic agency adoptions also involve adopting a child from the state foster care system. Domestic agency adoptions are often cheaper than private or international adoptions, and also enable parents to have the benefit of working with state-employed professionals throughout the adoption process.
In an international adoption, prospective parents work with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (UCIS) to adopt a child from another country. International adoption is typically significantly more expensive than a domestic private or agency adoption, and can also take much longer as UCIS and international agencies go through approval procedures for the adoptive parents.
Additionally, laws in other countries may restrict certain individuals, such as LGBTQ+ couples, from adopting - something that doesn't happen in private or agency domestic adoptions.
In a stepparent adoption, a child's stepparent gains parental rights for the child and legally adopts them. For a stepparent to adopt a stepchild, the child's parent who is not in a relationship with the stepparent must voluntarily terminate their parental rights, or have them terminated by the court.
This rule also applies to relative adoptions. In some relative or stepparent adoption cases, a child's parent(s) will voluntarily terminate their rights. In other cases, the stepparent or relative who wishes to adopt must file a case with the court to legally adopt the child.
Regardless of how you choose to adopt, many adoptions involve the same steps, including:
- Mandatory parenting classes for prospective adoptive parents;
- Background checks and other screening measures;
- A home study conducted by adoption professionals to ensure that the parents have a living space and lifestyle conducive to adoption;
- Other measures, such as ensuring that a prospective adoptive parent has the funds and parenting ethics to help a child thrive.
Our St. Charles adoption attorneys will usher you through the adoption process, ensuring that you have the legal counsel you need to streamline adoption procedures and make welcoming a new family member into your life an enjoyable, easily navigable process.
Why Hire Our St. Charles Adoption Lawyers
You can rely on our team of Missouri adoption attorneys to help you navigate the complexities of adoption - we even help to finalize adoptions. Adding a new child to your family should be an opportunity for you (or you and your spouse) to be excited. Let our knowledgeable approach and extensive resources we utilize, give you the peace of mind you need to entrust your adoption with our firm.
With 30+ years of combined experience, we serve clients in St. Charles County and others throughout Missouri. We believe that those who are embarking on the adoption process in order to give child a safe home should be treated with respect and compassion throughout the duration of the process.
Contact Our Compassionate Adoption Attorneys Today
It is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney on your side that can help you make the best choices for your unique situation. Not only that, but we also fun our firm with a focus on helping families to achieve their desired goals.
We place our clients’ needs at the top of our priority list, always seeking to offer personalized solutions tailor-made for your family.
Well Respected by Colleagues
Family-Run & Locally Owned Law Firm
Award-Winning Legal Representation
We Speak Spanish, French & Russian
Providing One-On-One Attention
More Than 50 Years of Combined Legal Experience
Please Read: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential and/or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.