Adoptions in Clay County

General Information

Bringing a child into a family through adoption is a wonderful experience. Thousands of children are adopted each year and remain happily with their new families without any legal problems.

The procedures may vary slightly depending on where you reside in the state so it is always best to consult an attorney who is familiar with the local court rules when considering any type of adoption.

Definition of Adoption

Adoption is a legal means by which a person becomes a member of a family different from that person's birth family. Once a Decree of Adoption has been entered, the adoptive parents gain the same rights and responsibilities as parents whose children are born to them. The adoptive parents must provide, nurture, care and support the child. The adopted child has all the same rights as any biological child to inherit from the adoptive parents.

Please Note: Regardless of the type of adoption, the overall process is generally the same. Also, the following is for information purposes only. It is not to be taken in substitution for any type of legal counsel.

Types of Adoptions

Adult adoption - The person being adopted is eighteen years or older and being adopted by someone eighteen years or older (Petitioner). The person being adopted must sign a written consent.

Agency adoption - When birth parents and adoptive families (Petitioners) are matched through a child placement agency that has been licensed by the Department of Social Services. These adoptions may include a family from another county or state.

Independent adoption - Birth parents and adoptive families (Petitioners) find each other on their own or through an adoption intermediary such as a pastor, lawyer, or doctor. The adoption intermediary or adoptive family's attorney facilitates the placement. Thereafter, an agency or deputy juvenile officer conducts interviews and visits for a six month period (or more). An assessment may be filed with the court when the petition is filed or when the adoption is finalized. The deputy juvenile officer, at the direction of the court, oversees the agency and files a summary with the court when the adoption is finalized. The deputy juvenile officer may also visit the home of the adoptive family prior to the finalization (as well as the Guardian ad Litem (G.A.L.)).

Relative adoption - The adoptive family (Petitioners) consists of one or both persons being biologically related to the child. They are seeking the adoption because the child needs someone to assume the responsibility of caring for them for any one of a number of possible reasons.

Stepparent adoption - The adoptive family (Petitioners) consists of one biological parent and a new spouse or "one step parent". For various reasons the "parents" have decided to pursue an adoption.

Regardless of the type of adoption three things must happen: (1) the parent or parents' rights must be terminated, (2) a home study of the prospective adoptive family must be successfully completed, and (3) lawful custody must be obtained.

Please note: if the person being adopted is 14 years or older they must sign a written consent.

Whatever type of adoption your family chooses it should be a situation that is right for everyone involved. It will be the new beginning for the child, the parent(s) and the new family.

Legal Counsel

As adoption is a legal action, prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to and sometimes ordered by the Court to work closely with an attorney. The lawyer should not only be well versed in Missouri's adoption laws and rules, but also be knowledgeable about local Court practices. Failure to comply with certain laws or rules may jeopardize the adoption.

Clay County Bar Association 816-455-2700
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association 816-221-9472
Missouri Bar (Adoption) 573-636-3635

List of forms needed to file for an adoption

Contact Information

R. Kenneth Elliott Children's Justice Center
351 East Kansas Street
Liberty, Missouri 64068

Angie Luellen
Deputy Juvenile Officer / Adoption Specialist

Division of Family Services - Children's Division
7000 West Liberty Drive
Liberty, Missouri 64068