Becoming an
Adoptive Parent

What is Adoption?

Adoption means taking a child into your home as a permanent family member. It means caring for and guiding children through their growing years and giving them the love and understanding they need to develop their full potential.  It is a process that transfers all rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to the adoptive parents.

How To Become an Adoptive Parent

Adoptive parents are the child’s parents as if they were born to them, following adoption proceedings including the termination of the child’s biological parents’ rights.

There are, of course, a few important steps we’d like to help guide you through as you learn more about becoming an adoptive parent and determine whether it’s the right decision for you and your family.

Contact the local Children’s Division office.

A local worker will schedule a time to meet in your home to share information about our services, talk about the rewards and challenges of adopting a child, and answer all of your questions about the adoption program.

Submit an application to become an approved adoptive parent.

This step also includes a child/abuse and criminal background check which our agency conducts free of charge.

Enroll in a STARS training class.

We’ll assist you in joining the STARS program, which introduces prospective foster and adoptive families to the rewards and challenges involved in caring for Missouri’s most vulnerable children. The STARS program is important for even the most experienced parents; because fostering and adopting is very different from parenting your own biological children.

The STARS program includes an in-home assessment consisting of at least four visits to your home by the Family Development Specialist to ensure that your home meets licensing requirements. The specialist will also be able to answer any additional questions you may have, as well as continue to share information about our agency and the children in our care.

STARS: Making the Commitment to Adoption training for prospective adoptive parents includes: understanding how adoptive families are different; anticipating the effects of separation, loss and grief in adoption; understanding the need to maintain a emotional connections to those who matter to the child; and exploring the lifelong commitment that adoption requires.

In addition to the STARS training….

families must complete an additional 12 hours of training to become adoptive parents.  This training in the Spaulding training. Spaulding training offers families the tools and information that they need to: explain how adoptive families are in different, importance of separation, loss, and grief in adoption, understand attachment and its importance in adoption, anticipate challenges and be able to identify strategies for managing challenges as an adoptive family, and to explore the lifelong commitment to a child that adoption brings.

Receive your foster parent license.

Licensed foster parents are then placed on our confidential database. When a child or children come into state custody, local caseworkers coordinate with licensed foster parents in their area to see if the foster family is able to temporarily care for the child or children.

We understand that every situation is different, and that sometimes even licensed foster parents may choose to decline taking a child into care. What’s important to us is that more families are licensed and ready so that we have as many placement options as possible.