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Fostering Before Adoption in Missouri

Have you ever wondered if you should foster to adopt in Missouri as a way of starting the family you’ve always wanted? If you’ve considered fostering before adoption in MO, you probably have a lot of questions. There’s a wealth of information on adoption and fostering to adopt in MO that you’ll need to process.

When thinking about fostering with a view to adoption in Missouri, you should consider: 

  •  The time it takes to adopt
  • The pros and cons of adopting a child you are fostering in MO
  • Whether it’s right for your family before you begin your journey.

While Missouri foster parents adopting children can find the experience satisfying, there are also some distinct challenges that may mean private domestic adoption is a better choice for you.

It can be helpful to talk through your situation with an adoption professional, and we’re here to help with that. To speak with one of our experienced, compassionate specialists, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our free online form today. Meanwhile, you can review this guide designed to help you make the best decision for your family. You’ll find a general overview of adopting a child you’re fostering in MO.

What Does It Mean to Foster to Adopt in Missouri?

If you’re early in your adoption journey, you may have questions like:

  • What is foster care adoption, exactly?
  • How does it work?
  • Does foster care adoption include adopting your foster child in MO?
  • Is fostering before adoption in MO a possibility?
  • In Missouri, can you foster only to adopt a child?

Let’s begin by defining foster care adoption in general. It’s the adoption of a child in foster care whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated by a court. The child may be adopted by either their foster parents or another adoptive family that has met the state’s eligibility requirements. Usually, children are under the care of the foster care system because they’ve experienced some adversity in the home of their biological parents.

Some families pursue a straight adoption from foster care without first becoming a foster parent before adoption in MO.  Others are foster parents who want to adopt in MO once the child is eligible for permanent placement. That scenario is another form of foster parent adoption called foster to adopt in Missouri.

Of the different types of adoption, the state foster care system is currently the most popular way of growing one’s family, either through foster parenting or foster care adoption. Each year, more than 13,000 children are in foster care in Missouri. In 2021, 6426 children left the Missouri foster care system.  Of that number, 1,512 were adopted.

How Does the Missouri Fostering to Adoption Process Work?

First and foremost, the primary goal of the foster care system is to provide a safe, stable home environment for children in its care until they can safely be reunified with their biological family. Usually, reunification comes after birth parents complete a reunification plan ordered by a family court judge.

However, reunification is not always possible, and at that point, permanent adoption through foster care becomes an option. That can only happen after parental rights are terminated.

Once the parental rights of the biological parents are exhausted, a permanent family can be identified for the child. First, relatives are sought who are open to adoption. If there are none able or willing, Missouri foster parents planning to adopt can adopt the child they’ve been fostering.

What Kinds of Kids Are in Pre-Adoption Foster Care in Missouri?

The children available for fostering before adoption in MO vary widely. Though adopting an infant from foster care is possible, it’s highly uncommon because the child is usually beyond infancy when their parent’s rights are terminated. The vast majority of children in foster care are over the age of 2, and many are older than 8 years.

There are also variances in characteristics, such as:

  • Race  
  • Gender  
  • Medical background
  • Age
  • Special needs

It’s common for foster children to have attachment and developmental issues due to abuse and neglect from their biological parents and from their experience in the state foster care adoption system. Foster parents planning to adopt in MO must prepare to help kids dealing with this kind of trauma.

It’s also not unusual for sibling groups in need of foster parents considering adoption in MO. The state always looks for opportunities to place siblings together, which can make such placements difficult.  

What Kind of People Become Foster to Adopt Parents in Missouri?

Though the benefits of private domestic adoption are compelling for many hopeful parents seeking to adopt, others decide that fostering before adoption in Missouri is right for them. That includes the following kinds of families:

  • Parents who have been fostering a child who cannot be reunited with his or her birth family
  • Families who want to adopt a waiting child in need, regardless of age, race, gender or special needs
  • Families who want to help a deserving child in need of a stable, loving home, even though there’s a chance of reunification with the biological family
  • People who want to adopt but don’t have the funds for more costly adoption methods

What is the Missouri Adoption and Fostering to Adopt Requirements?

The requirements to adopt from foster care in Missouri are:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Have a stable income
  • Complete background checks
  • Be willing to complete and participate in a free training and assessment process
  • Be willing to be partnered with the child’s family
  • Live in a home that meets licensing standards

As is the case with every adoption, you’re required to undergo an adoption home study before you can foster to adopt in MO. Your home study will include interviews and background checks for each family member residing in your home. To learn more about what’s included in your home study for a Missouri foster-to-adopt scenario, please check out

American Adoptions doesn’t work on foster care adoptions, but we support any family pursuing this path. Because we’re fully licensed in Missouri, we can complete your home study from start to finish. To learn more about working with us for this part of your MO foster-to-adopt placement process, you can complete our free info form at any time.

How Much Does Adopting Your Foster Child in Missouri Cost?

A significant benefit of fostering before adoption in Missouri is the low cost compared to other ways of building a family. Fostering with a view to adoption in Missouri costs between $0 to $2,500. While there are often no costs associated with foster care adoption, a few of the fees you could incur stem from:

  • Home Study – The adoption home study is mandatory, and you may be required to pay a fee for it. Many states pay for the home study for families fostering before adoption, though.
  • Home Preparations – If the home visit reveals any deficiencies or safety concerns in your home that must be addressed, there may be a cost for those amendments.
  • Minimal Legal Costs –If the adoptive family is required to pay legal fees, they are oftentimes negligible. Some states even cover those costs for families fostering before adoption.

In fact, in addition to the negligible cost of the MO foster-to-adopt process, you could even get a monthly stipend to help cover the costs of raising a kid.  How much you’re eligible for will depend on the special needs of your foster child.

Private Infant Adoption vs. Fostering Before Adoption in MO [Processing the Differences]

Though both can be excellent ways to build your family, private domestic adoption and fostering before adoption in MO have some distinct differences that you should consider.

The biggest difference between foster-to-adopt placement in MO and private adoption is the age of the children. Most MO foster-to-adopt scenarios involve older kids rather than infants. There’s also the potential for greater uncertainty when fostering before adoption in MO. You never know when or if the parental rights of the child’s birth parents will be terminated, so an adoption opportunity may never materialize.  

If you think that Missouri's foster-to-adopt drawback could be an issue for you, working with American Adoptions to find a private infant adoption opportunity may be the better choice. There’s little uncertainty involved because the birth parents are voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights to the child. Once adoption papers are signed, and legal procedures are followed, finalization can occur.

If you want to learn more about the advantages of pursuing private domestic infant adoption with American Adoption, simply call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our free information form.

Below, you can learn a little more about the similarities and differences between private infant adoption and fostering before adoption in MO.


  • You get to provide a home for a child who needs one.
  • You get full parental rights to your child.
  • You get to decide which adoption situations you are equipped to handle.
  • You’re required to undergo a home study to establish eligibility to adopt a child.


  • If you want to adopt an infant, you’ll need to pursue private domestic adoption. Children in MO foster-to-adopt scenarios are usually older, and some may have siblings or special needs.
  • Fostering before adoption in MO is inexpensive, whereas domestic infant adoption costs include agency fees, advertising and matching services, medical fees, and other expenses.
  • In many domestic infant adoptions, ties to the birth parents are retained through open or semi-open adoption. That’s not the case in fostering before adoption in MO. The amount of ongoing contact with the birth parents varies.
  • The children in most MO foster-to-adopt situations have a history of abuse, neglect, or attachment issues. In private infant adoption, that’s not usually the case because you’re adopting an infant.

Where Can I Find Missouri Foster to adopt Agencies?

Although American Adoptions doesn’t work on foster-to-adopt placements in Missouri, there are some dedicated agencies that do. Please see the below agencies for more information:

Final Thoughts on Fostering Before Adoption in Missouri

Fostering before adoption in MO is rewarding and challenging, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons to make determine whether private adoption or foster-to-adopt placement in MO is right for you. If you’re still unsure which way to go, it may help to speak with an adoption professional. You can connect with one of our experienced, compassionate professionals today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing our free 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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