Missouri adoption procedures vary depending upon the case. Some families pursue adoption procedures with a foster child they have taken into their home and have grown attached to while caring for them. Depending upon the status of the biological parents of the foster child, the process could go very smoothly as the foster parents already have the majority of state requirements for meeting the needs of a child. Missouri adoption of a child who is not a foster child of the family but who is in state custody will require the potential adoptive parents to go through a detailed screening. This screening includes background, employment, friends and family interviews, and a Missouri home study. International adoptions are more detailed and can often take up to a year and a half or longer for the entire process to be completed. Adopting directly from a birth parent will require less inspection and requirements from the government, but the adoption must still take place through a certified international or domestic adoption agency.
People who are preparing to adopt a child who is in state custody must meet the following guidelines. A background screening will determine if the potential parents have any criminal record. Criminal records other than minor traffic tickets or irrelevant misdemeanors which occurred in the distant past will disqualify the parent from the adoption. Any record of neglect or abuse will result in an immediate turn-down for the adoption. The background screening will cover all states the adults have resided in and will be conducted at the expense of the adult applying for adoption. The typical fee is $54 per adult for this background screening. The results are normally returned within a period of three weeks.
The home study will be performed and safety and comfort needs will be addressed. A licensed social worker from the state of Missouri will perform the home study. This person will check to make sure there is a bed with appropriate bedding for the child, safety devices around the home to prevent the child from getting into hazardous cleaning chemicals or medicines. A fire extinguisher is also required, as are smoke detectors. The person performing the home study will ask to see tax returns of both adults, veterinary records for pets in the house to substantiate pets are current on all state-mandated rabies shots. Employment checks will be made and the adults will be asked to fill out an income and household expense sheet. Both adults will also be asked to take a physical to validate they are healthy and free of disease and have a reasonable life expectancy.