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The Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Missouri

Do you want to parent? If so, you have two options if you’re unable to, or don’t want to, have a child yourself. The two options for family growth in Missouri are adoption and foster care. But what’s the difference between adoption and foster care in Missouri?

Missouri foster care vs. adoption provides two very different paths to caring for a child, and both are loving acts that provide a stable home for a child in need of one. But there are some key differences between becoming a foster parent and adoption in MO.  

If you’re not sure whether you want to foster or adopt a child in Missouri, it can help to speak with an adoption professional. We’re here to help, as we want to help you understand some of the differences between foster and adoption in Missouri. You can connect with one of our specialists by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our free online form.

For now, we’ll cover some of the key differences between foster care versus adoption in MO, domestic infant adoption vs. foster to adopt in Missouri, and why private infant adoption can help you reach your adoption dreams. 

What is the Difference Between Fostering and Adoption in Missouri?

The most obvious primary difference between adopting and fostering a child in Missouri is that fostering is a temporary situation while adoption is permanent.

When you foster a child, you agree to open your home to a child in the foster system to temporarily provide them with family support. The main goal of the foster system is to eventually reunite the child with their birth family when possible.

Adoption is meant to be a long-term way of building a family. When you adopt a child, that adoptee becomes your child fully in the eyes of the law. That’s not the case with fostering. That’s the main difference between foster and adopt in MO.

What are the 7 Points of Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption in Missouri?

Whether you foster or adopt in MO, you’ll be giving a deserving child the stable, loving home they need. There are still some key differences between these two forms of family growth, however. Let’s take a closer look at some of the important points of distinction between foster vs adopt in Missouri.  

1. Biological Parent Consent to Placement

An important difference between foster care vs. adoption in MO relates to the consent of the biological parents to the placement of a child in a foster or adoptive home.

In private infant adoption, the expectant birth mother voluntarily offers her consent to the adoption placement and relinquishes her parental rights. She controls her adoption plan, selects the perfect family for placement, and retains the right to change her mind at any time during the adoption process.

That’s not the case with foster care. When a child is placed under the care of the foster system, it’s usually because of a dangerous or unhealthy situation in the child’s biological family home. In those circumstances, the placement is considered involuntary.  

2. Choosing the Perfect Family

Another notable difference between foster care and adoption in MO deals with the selection of the family that will raise the child.

In private domestic adoption, the birth mother gets to choose the family where she wants to raise her child. She does this through her adoption plan, which she controls. In foster care, parents have no say in choosing the family that will care for their child. The state makes that choice and tries to match foster kids with foster families able to meet their needs.

3. Level of Openness

When comparing foster care vs. adoption in Missouri, it’s important to note that there is a difference in the amount of communication and openness between the involved parties.

In private domestic adoption, the parties in the adoption triad can agree to have an open adoption with free communication with one another. In fact, the best agencies, such as American Adoptions, require prospective parents to welcome open adoption. Open adoption benefits everyone involved and is the preferred type of contact arrangement.

While some level of openness may be possible when adopting from foster care, it’s much less likely than in infant adoption. It’s even less likely in a foster care situation. In fact, you may have no interaction or involvement with your child’s birth parents, depending on the situation that led to the child being placed under the care of the foster system.

4. Costs

A glaring difference between foster care and adoption in Missouri is the cost of each option.

Infant adoptions can be quite costly, with some adoptive parents paying around $50,000 before finalizing their adoption through a private adoption agency. Fostering and adopting from foster care are significantly cheaper. In Missouri, it’s nearly free. In fact, foster parents often get a stipend for fostering, and parents who adopt through foster care are reimbursed by the state for most of their expenses.

5. Wait Times Vary Greatly

Wait times are also a point of difference when weighing adoption versus foster care in MO. The wait times for an adoption opportunity with the best private domestic adoption agencies are usually around 9-12 months.

With foster care, wait times for placement are usually much shorter. Because foster homes are in demand, placement of a child in your home could happen almost immediately. If you plan to adopt from foster care, the wait may be much longer. It can take years for the parental rights of the birth parents to be terminated by the courts, and adoption isn’t possible until that happens. Some hopeful parents foster children for years without getting an adoption opportunity.

6. Degree of Uncertainty

If you’re considering getting licensed as a foster home vs. adoption in Missouri, you should probably consider your personal goals for family growth and the varying degrees of uncertainty between MO foster care versus adoption.

If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, it should be because you sincerely want to help deserving children waiting for a loving home in the foster system. Though you can adopt from foster care, it’s usually meant as a temporary solution to provide a safe, stable environment for a child. You may foster a child through their 18th birthday without even getting a chance to adopt them. If you’re okay with that, foster care adoption may be good for you.

However, private domestic adoption provides a certain path to growing your family through adoption. Because the birth parents voluntarily consent to the placement of their child in your home, there’s no need to wait for a court action, as is the case in foster care adoption. Once the adoption paperwork is signed, you can fully adopt your child.

7. Adoptee Age

One final difference between foster care and adoption in Missouri is the age of the children involved. In private domestic adoption, the adoptees are almost always infants. Birth parents usually sign paperwork immediately after birth to relinquish their parental rights and transfer them to their adoptive parents.

With foster care and foster care adoption, the children the vast majority involve older children. Infant adoption from foster care is possible but extremely rare. The median age of children in the foster system nationwide is 7.7 years old.

Why Many Prospective Parents Choose Adoption Versus Foster Care in Missouri

If you’re considering foster care vs. adoption in MO, you should give some thought to your ultimate goal. If you have your heart set on the permanent adoption of a child, there’s little doubt that private domestic adoption provides the most direct, certain path to permanent family growth.

While providing a home to a foster child in the Missouri foster care system is noble and loving, families who pursue private infant adoption often find it to be an amazing experience. Some of the benefits of private infant adoption include:

  • Opportunity to adopt an infant
  • No preexisting trauma or difficulties associated with childhood adversity
  • Ability to use your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) to specify your preference and guide you to the perfect adoption opportunity
  • Fewer steps than foster care adoption
  • Less uncertainty because birth parents provide consent before private adoption can proceed, and there is no need to wait for the court to terminate parental rights of biological parents
  • Open adoption allows open communication between you, your child, and the birth parents
  • And many more

If infant adoption seems to best suit your family, there’s no better agency to work with than American Adoptions. Over nearly three decades, we’ve helped more than 13,000 families bring their adoption dreams to life. We have an industry-leading 96% success rate and offer 800x more marketing than leading competitors to ensure you enjoy much shorter wait times (between 9-12 months) than other agencies.

Our staff of licensed social workers will bring compassion and experience to your adoption journey. Many of our staff members are themselves adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth mothers, so they know what you’re going through and know what it takes to create a successful adoption opportunity.

If you’re still pondering over foster care vs. adoption in MO, please reach out to our specialists. We’re here to help. To speak with someone today, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our online form

Closing Thoughts on Adoption Versus Foster Care in Missouri

Whether you choose to foster or adopt in Missouri, you should know that you’re making a loving decision to provide a deserving child with the stable home they need. Through both private adoption and foster care, you can build loving, supportive families.

Again, if you’re still processing the difference between foster care and adoption in MO, we’d love to help you find your best way forward. You can speak with one of our specialists today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or by completing our online form

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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