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Missouri

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption [1]

  • 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 Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

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.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.040

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 Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

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

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

The written consent of the father or other parents may be executed before or after the commencement of the adoption proceedings and shall be acknowledged before a notary public. 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 a notary public. 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 written consents shall be reviewed and, if found to be in compliance with this section, approved by the court within 3 business days of such consents being presented to the court.

Revocation of Consent Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

Written consent may be withdrawn anytime until it has been reviewed and accepted by a judge.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Rev. Stat. § 210.487; Code of State Reg. Tit. 13, § 40-59.030

A fingerprint-based FBI and State criminal records check is required for any person over age 17 in the prospective foster parent’s household and for any child younger than age 17 residing in the prospective foster parent’s household who the Family Support Division has determined has been certified as an adult for the commission of a crime.

The investigation also shall determine whether any person over age 17 residing in the home is listed on the child abuse and neglect registry.

The total cost of fingerprinting required by this section may be paid by the State, including reimbursement of persons incurring fingerprinting costs under this section.

In regulation: All foster and relative care providers, prior to being granted licensure, approval, or certification status, shall submit to the division an application for background screening and investigation.

The division shall conduct the background screening and investigation. Information obtained regarding harmful acts to a child is provided to local division staff that are responsible for 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.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Rev. Stat. § 453.070(3); Code of State Reg. Tit. 13, § 40-59.030

A criminal background check is required for a prospective adoptive parent.

In regulation: All adoptive parents, prior to being granted approval status, shall submit to the division an application for background screening and investigation.

The division shall conduct the background screening and investigation. Information obtained regarding harmful acts to a child is provided to local division staff that are responsible for 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.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. § 211.447

A petition to terminate parental rights shall be filed when:

  • The child has been in foster care for at least 15 of the most recent 22 months.
  • A court has determined the child to be an abandoned infant.
  • The parent has:
    • Committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter
    • Committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent
  • The child has been abandoned.
  • The parent has abused or neglected the child, based on any of the following:
    • A mental condition or chemical dependency that renders the parent unable to care for the child
    • Chemical dependency that prevents the parent from consistently providing the necessary care, custody, and control of the child and that cannot be treated so as to enable the parent to consistently provide such care, custody, and control
    • A severe act or recurrent acts of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse toward the child or any child in the family, including an act of incest
    • Repeated or continuous failure by the parent, although physically or financially able, to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or education
  • The child has been in out-of-home care for 1 year, and the parent has failed to comply with the terms of a case plan designed to reunify the parent with the child.
  • The parent has been found guilty of a sexual offense or incest, and the victim was the child or any child in the family.
  • The child was conceived and born as a result of an act of forcible rape by a biological parent.
  • The parent is unfit because of a consistent pattern of committing a specific abuse, including, but not limited to, domestic abuse, child abuse, or drug abuse before the child.
  • The parent’s parental rights to one or more other children were involuntarily terminated within the immediately preceding 3 years.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. § 211.447

Even when grounds exist for termination of parental rights, the juvenile officer or the Children’s Division is not required to file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child’s parent or parents if:

  • The child is being cared for by a relative.
  • There exists a compelling reason for determining that filing such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child, as documented in the permanency plan.
  • The family of the child has not been provided the services required for making reasonable efforts to preserve the family.

The disability or disease of a parent shall not constitute a basis for a determination that a child is a child in need of care, for the removal of custody of a child from the parent, or for the termination of parental rights without a specific showing that there is a causal relation between the disability or disease and harm to the child.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-73.080

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

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-73.080

The adoption home study may be completed by a child-placing agency or adoption intermediary.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-73.080

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 Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-59.030

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 Citation: Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-73.080

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.077; Code of Regs. Tit. 13, § 40-73.080

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.070

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.620; 210.622

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 210.566; 453.070

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.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

A child who is no more than 1 year old may be relinquished.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

The child may be relinquished by his or her biological parent.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

The child may be released to the physical custody of any of the following persons:

  • An employee, agent, or member of the staff of any hospital, in a health-care provider position, or on duty in a nonmedical paid or volunteer position
  • A firefighter or emergency medical technician on duty in a paid position or on duty in a volunteer position
  • A law enforcement officer

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

A safe haven provider shall, without a court order, take physical custody of a child the person reasonably believes to be no more than age 1 and is delivered in accordance with this section by a person purporting to be the child’s parent. If delivery of a newborn is made in any place other than a hospital, the person taking physical custody of the child shall arrange for the immediate transportation of the child to the nearest hospital.

The hospital shall perform treatment in accordance with the prevailing standard of care as necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the child.

The hospital shall notify the Division of Family Services and the local juvenile officer upon receipt of a child. The local juvenile officer shall immediately begin protective custody proceedings and request the child be made a ward of the court during the child’s stay in the medical facility. Upon discharge of the child from the medical facility and pursuant to a protective custody order ordering custody of the child to the division, the Division of Family Services shall take physical custody of the child.

When a nonrelinquishing parent inquires at a hospital regarding the child, such facility shall refer the nonrelinquishing parent to the Division of Family Services and the juvenile court exercising jurisdiction over the child.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

A safe haven provider shall be immune from civil, criminal, and administrative liability for accepting physical custody of a child pursuant to this section if such persons accept custody in good faith. Such immunity shall not extend to any acts or omissions, including negligent or intentional acts or omissions, occurring after the acceptance of such child.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

A parent shall not be prosecuted for child abandonment or endangering the welfare of a child for actions related to the voluntary relinquishment of a child up to 5 days old. It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution for child abandonment or endangering the welfare of a child that a parent who is a defendant voluntarily relinquished a child no more than age 1 if:

  • Expressing intent not to return for the child, the parent voluntarily delivered the child safely to the physical custody of any safe haven provider.
  • The child was no more than age 1 when delivered by the parent to a safe haven provider.
  • The child had not been abused or neglected by the parent prior to such voluntary delivery.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Stat. § 210.950

The parent’s voluntary delivery of the child in accordance with this section shall constitute the parent’s implied consent to any such act and a voluntary relinquishment of such parent’s parental rights.

In any termination of parental rights proceeding initiated after the relinquishment of a child, the juvenile officer shall make public notice that a child has been relinquished, including the sex of the child, and the date and location of such relinquishment. Within 30 days of such public notice, the nonrelinquishing parent wishing to establish parental rights shall identify him or herself to the court and state his or her intentions regarding the child.

The court shall initiate proceedings to establish paternity, or if no person identifies himself as the father within 30 days, maternity. The juvenile officer shall make examination of the putative father registry to determine whether attempts have previously been made to preserve parental rights to the child. If such attempts have been made, the juvenile officer shall make reasonable efforts to provide notice of the abandonment of the child to such putative father.

If a parent of a child has relinquished custody of the child to a safe haven provider, the nonrelinquishing parent shall take such steps necessary to establish parentage within 30 days after notice has been provided. If a nonrelinquishing parent fails to establish parentage within the 30-day period, the nonrelinquishing parent may have all of his or her rights terminated with respect to the child.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.075(1)

Payment of the following expenses is permitted:

  • 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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.075(2)

The court may disallow:

  • 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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 568.175

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 568.175

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.070(6)

In the case of an investigation and report made by the Division of Family Services 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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.075(1)

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.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Rev. Stat. §§ 210.817; 210.822

The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and his 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 Rev. Stat. § 192.016

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 Rev. Stat. § 210.826

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 Division of Child Support Enforcement

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 Division of Child Support Enforcement
  • 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

Required Information Rev. Stat. § 192.016

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 United States Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 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 Rev. Stat. § 192.016

A person who has filed a notice of intent to claim paternity may at any time revoke a notice of intent to claim paternity previously filed therewith and, upon receipt of such notification by the registry, the revoked notice of intent to claim paternity shall be deemed a nullity nunc pro tunc.

Access to Information Rev. Stat. §§ 192.016; 453.014(1)

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 Division of Family Services 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.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 568.175; 453.014

A person, agency, 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 a child for adoption, or for the execution of a consent to future adoption. 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?

Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.010

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.010

Any child may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.014

A child may be placed by any of the following:

  • The Division of Family Services 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 clergyman

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121

Nonidentifying information is available to:

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. § 193.125

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

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 453.090; 474.060

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 453.090; 453.150

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 Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 474.240; 474.435

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

What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. § 453.080(4)

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? Ann. Stat. § 453.080(4)

The parties to the adoption may participate in the agreement.

What is the role of the court in postadoption contact agreements? Ann. Stat. § 453.080(4)

The court shall not have jurisdiction to deny continuing contact between the adoptee 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.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Rev. Stat. § 453.170(2)

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<nowiki> State shall recognize the adoption. ''[<nowiki>*As of<nowiki> 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== Rev. Stat. § 453.170(3) The [[Adoptive Parent|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|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|adoptive parent]], if such a request has been made. ==Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate== Rev. Stat. §§ 453.170(2); 193.125(9) 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 adoptee as decreed by the court of such country. If such proof contains the surname of either [[Adoptive Parent|adoptive parent]], the department shall prepare a birth certificate as requested by the [[Adoptive Parents|adoptive parents]]. Any subsequent change of the name of the adoptee 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|adoption decree]] *An English translation of the birth certificate and [[Adoption Decree|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|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|adoptive parents]] or the adoptee 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. ==Source== Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/laws/domestic.cfm#sss] ==References== <references> [[Category: U.S. Adoption Laws]]
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