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ADOPTION IN
Mississippi

Mississippi

Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Click here for a directory of adoption service providers in Mississippi.

International Adoptions must be completed through adoption agencies and attorneys. Find an international adoption service provider here.

Foster Care Adoptions in Mississippi can be completed through the Department of Human Services.

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted.

Join the Mississippi adoption group in our community!

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the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

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Learn all about Mississippi adoption and your options as an expectant parent or hopeful adoptive parent. Make your adoption plan...

Mississippi Adoption

By: Rebekah Yahoves

Mississippi is known for more than just its catfish and magnolia trees. With its quiet communities, low crime rates, and affordable cost of living, Mississippi is a great place to raise a child. Fine school districts and an abundance of extra-curricular activities make it a safe, beautiful haven for families.

If you have ever thought about adoption in Mississippi, now is a great time to start. It can be a rewarding, affordable, and adventurous road. All you need is a little information, some preparation, and lots of love!

Affording Adoption In Mississippi

While adoption can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, many parents adopt children at little or no cost through the Mississippi foster care system.  Expenses totaling $1,000 to $5,000 can be subsidized or reimbursed.

Adopting through a private agency in Mississippi can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000, depending on your agency location and fees. There is, however, a national adoption tax credit of $14,080 per child as of 2019. While this is not a windfall, it is money you will not have to pay in taxes once your adoption is complete. Home study fees, travel, birth mother expenses, and legal fees are all monies that can be reimbursed. Mississippi also has a state adoption tax credit of $2,500 per child.

Families with incomes below $211,160 can claim the national tax credit. Those making between $211,160 and $251,160 can claim partial credit. Those with incomes above $251,160 are not eligible.

In addition to the tax credit, you can also get employer assistance for adoption. Some employers offer a flat fee per child for adoption as they do for infertility treatments as part of their health plan. Be sure to check with your human resources department before beginning your adoption journey.

There are also many adoption grants and fundraisers available for those families looking to adopt. Some are specific to sibling groups or ages. Do a little research to find the grant program that is right for you.

Adoption In Mississippi Through Foster Care

Foster care adoption is the most affordable way to adopt in Mississippi. There are currently thousands of children in foster care, and over 30 percent of these children may not reunite with their biological families. Approximately 65 children are already free for adoption.

You do not have to become a foster parent if you would like to adopt a child who is already free for adoption. Legally single or married couples who are over 21 years old can adopt a child through foster care. They must have an income and insurance sufficient to meet the needs of an adoptive child. They also need to have the emotional, physical, and intellectual capacity to be good parents.

Those interested in adopting through foster care can contact agencies like the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, MDCPS Adoption Photolisting, A Family For Every Child Mississippi, and Child Welfare Resources: Mississippi. You will need to fill out an application and attend an orientation session.

Home Study Requirements

To adopt in Mississippi, you must meet certain requirements. The paperwork may seem overwhelming at first, but your work will be worth the effort.

You will need to complete agency registration forms and have medical approval from a physician. Verification of any marriages and divorces is required. There also need to be child abuse checks and police checks for every adult in your home.

You will be required to have someone verify your employment and character in writing. You will need life insurance for everyone in your family, and a plan in place in the event of a parent’s death.

Your home will get inspected for sanitation and water. You will need a phone in your home, fire extinguishers, and smoke detectors. There should be transportation available. Each child must have their own bed, and children of opposite genders may not share a room.

Your home study will cover the practical and emotional concerns of adoption. You will be interviewed both inside and outside your home. Issues discussed include your reasons for adoption and parenting philosophy. This is also a good time to talk about your preferences, and what type of child would be a good fit for your family.

Adoption Through the Foster Care Process

To adopt through foster care, you will be required to attend a series of five-week training sessions. During these, you will cover how children come into placement, and how to explain adoption to a child. You will become acquainted with the process of separation and attachment. You will also be given some strategies for managing the behavior of children who have been traumatized and abused.

Once you have shown interest in a child, you will be given information on them through social workers and teachers. You will then begin visiting with them regularly. These meetings will gradually extend into overnight visits.

Once everyone is ready, your child will be placed in your home. Your social worker will visit you several times to help you during the adjustment process. Visits will be made until the adoption is finalized in court, which is usually around six months later. You are free to choose your own attorney.

Adoption Assistance

Those who adopt a special needs child through foster care are eligible for adoption assistance until the child comes of age.

In Mississippi, a child is classified as special needs if they are over 6 years old, a part of a sibling group, or have special emotional needs. In these cases, adoption assistance ranges from $325 to $400 per child per month, depending on the age of the child.

If children have ongoing special needs that they are being treated for at the time of the adoption, you may be eligible for up to $500 per month. If your child has multiple diagnoses which require intervention, you may get adoption assistance of up to $700 per month.

Medically fragile children may require in-home medical care or corrective surgeries. In these cases, you may be eligible for assistance of up to $900 per month.

Foster Parenting

If you are interested in adoption through foster care but would like to adopt a younger child, you may wish to become a foster parent first. Your social agency may be able to help you identify children who are more likely to become available for adoption in the future. They cannot, however, guarantee that parental rights will be terminated.

Rescue 100 is a collaboration between Mississippi’s Department of Child Protective Services, the courts, and houses of worship to streamline the process for foster and adoptive families.

To become a foster parent, you must be a legal Mississippi resident. You have to be at least 21 years old and legally married or single. You will need to have proof that you can support yourself financially. There cannot be any more than four children living in your home.

Your job as a foster parent is to provide a safe and stable home for children who have experienced trauma. You will need to teach children new skills, help them recover from traumatic experiences, and work closely with your agency.

Foster parents in Mississippi get a monthly stipend of $550 to $900 per month, depending upon the ages and needs of the child. Your job is to provide a safe and stable environment before children move on to their next life phase.

Adoption In Mississippi Through A Private Agency

Adoption through a private agency or lawyer is more expensive than adopting a child through foster care. There is, however, less risk involved in adopting a younger child. You can adopt a newborn through a private agency in Mississippi. Some popular agencies include Lifeline Christian Services and Catholic Charities of Mississippi.

Unmarried couples and singles are eligible to adopt in Mississippi. They must be residents of the state for at least six consecutive months.

A home study, including background checks, a home inspection, interviews, and references, is required. You will also need to prove that you can financially support a child through income and insurance.

The home study process in Mississippi involves a series of training sessions. You and your social worker will write an outline of your story, and this will provide a background you can use during interviews.

You can discuss your preferences and parenting philosophy during the home study process. Your house does not have to be a palace, and it does not have to be spotless. Your social worker is just looking for a warm, organized, and safe environment that a child can be raised in.

Oftentimes, your agency will require an online or physical photo album that prospective birth mothers can look through to see if your family is a good match for her child. Be sure to highlight any pets, sports teams, values, or interests that might strike a happy chord.

Many adoptive parents go to the hospital while when their new child is born. A birth mother in Mississippi has 72 hours before giving her consent.

Most domestic adoptions are open. In many cases, this involves periodic contact with the birth mother through emails or texts on birthdays or other occasions. You can provide updates and photos. Sometimes, regular in-person visits are involved. In many cases, the level of openness can be worked out with the adoptive families and birth mothers.

The costs for domestic infant adoption include legal fees, home study fees, and reasonable medical and counseling fees for the birth mother. Tax credits, employer assistance, and grants can help you make this possible.

International Adoption in Mississippi

Some parents prefer international adoption because it allows them to experience the culture of a new or familiar place as they provide a home to a child. Many children around the world live in inadequate conditions and may enjoy being given a better lifestyle and more opportunities. International adoption also gives parents the option of a closed adoption. Also, it can be easier for single parents to adopt overseas.

The cost of international adoption is significantly higher due to several factors, including travel and lodging for a period of time in another country when traveling. Adoption tax credits and employer assistance can help offset the cost.

There is a great need for parents to adopt sibling groups and older children overseas. There are also, however, many toddlers and preschool-aged children who need families. Be sure to specify what child you think you would be best suited to adopt during the home study process.

Some popular countries to adopt from include China, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

There is a variation in the amount of travel time, depending upon the country you choose. You may need to stay overseas for a week, or you may have to travel for two months. Be sure that your employer knows you are planning on taking leave so that they are ready for your departure when the time comes.

You may accept your referral before you travel, or you may choose a child once you are in-country. Many countries include a bonding period, where you get to know your child in their home country before the adoption is finalized. You may also have to spend some time overseas after your child becomes legally yours. It is important to represent your home country well in your dress, actions, and manners.

After you return home, the state of Mississippi will issue you a new birth record disclosing the child’s name, race, gender, and place of birth. You will need to obtain a social security number and might have to register your child for school. Either way, it is time to begin an exciting adventure!

Adoption in Mississippi

Whether you adopt through foster care, a domestic agency, or internationally, adoption in Mississippi will change your life forever. A little preparedness and a lot of flexibility will leave you ready for an exciting journey of love and fulfillment.

 


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Can I Adopt in Mississippi?

You must be at least 21 years old to adopt in Mississippi. Applicants can be single, married, or divorced. You can own or rent a home. Medical records from a physician showing the parents are in good physical and mental health are required. All adult members of the home must pass a criminal background check. Children must be covered by health insurance and a plan to care for the adopted child must be implemented. Character and employee references are required. The home itself must be safe, and the water must be approved if not on an approved system. Additionally, the home must have an active telephone line, smoke detectors, and an ABC fire extinguisher. The child must have their own bed, and no child can share a room with someone of the opposite sex. Parents must have access to reliable transportation at all times. For more information please visit the Mississippi Department of Human Resources website.

 

What Adoption Regulations Exist in Mississippi?

Advertising: Only licensed adoption agencies may advertise that they are seeking birth mothers for adoption. Any agency, attorney, or physician who publishes an advertisement for adoption is required to include their physical address in the advertisement. No person, agency, firm, corporation, or children’s group home, may advertise for adoption or receive money for services provided without a valid license. § 43-15-117

 

Relinquishment: Birth parents must wait at least 72 hours after the birth of their child to give consent to an adoption. Parents have 6 months from the date of the final adoption decree to revoke consent. § 93-17-15

 

Birth parent expenses: The payment following expenses are permitted in Mississippi: court approved legal fees, adoption related attorney fees, birth related medical/hospital fees, living expenses for the mother, and counseling for the parents and/or child. § 43-15-23(4); 43-15-117(4)

 

Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements in Mississippi are not legally enforceable.

 

Birth father rights: Unmarried father’s wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings may file a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form with the Mississippi Department of Human Health. The form creates a relationship between the father and mother as if both had been married at the time of birth. § 93-9-28

 

Finalization: Out of 313 adoptions completed in 2014, the average time between TPR and adoption finalization was 10.1 months. (acf.hhs.gov)

 

Review Mississippi adoption laws in detail.

 

Is Adoption Assistance Available in Mississippi?

Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Mississippi have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In Mississippi, the maximum monthly amount ranges from $325-500. For more information please visit NACAC.org.

 

Can I adopt a Child from another country?

It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the United States. Children under 18 adopted from a Hague Convention country entering the U.S. with an IH-3 visa may automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

 

Children adopted from a non convention country must qualify as orphans before receiving U.S. citizenship. When U.S. citizens finalize an adoption abroad, they must apply to the USCIS for an IR-3 visa for the child. An IR-3 visa classifies the child as an immigrant and provides the child with citizenship upon arrival in the States.

 

Parents wishing to receive a State birth certificate for their child must submit a validation or readoption of a foreign adoption to a State court.

 

State Contacts

 

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=region&range=UnitedStates

 

State subsidy contact person:

Mike Gallarno

Department of Human Services

Family and Children Services

750 North State Street

Jackson, MS 39202

601-359-4999; 800-345-6347 (in state);

800-553-7545 (out of state)

Fax: 601-359-4363

Summary

Adoptions in Mississippi can be completed through the Department of Human Services.

 

You must be at least 21 years old to adopt. Applicants can be single, married, or divorced. You can own or rent a home. You must pass physical background checks, your home must pass a safety inspection, and you must complete an adoption home study.

Only licensed adoption agencies may advertise that they are seeking birth mothers for adoption.  Birth parents must wait at least 72 hours after the birth to execute consent. Parents have 6 months from the date of the final adoption decree to revoke consent.

 

The payment following expenses are permitted: legal fees, birth related medical/hospital fees, living expenses, and counseling for the parents and/or child.

 

Contact agreements are not legally enforceable. A paternity registry exists for unmarried fathers.

 

The average time between TPR and adoption finalization in 2014 was 10.1 months.

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