Consent to Adoption - Missouri

Date: October 2021

Who Must Consent to an Adoption

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

The written consent of the following persons shall be required:

  • The mother of the child
  • The man who is presumed to be the father and who 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 mother and father

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.

In a case involving a child younger than age 14, the guardian ad litem shall ascertain the child's wishes and feelings about his or her adoption by conducting an interview or interviews with the child, if appropriate based on the child's age and maturity level. This information shall be considered by the court as a factor in determining if the adoption is in the child's best interests.

When the person sought to be adopted is age 18 or older, his or her written consent alone to his or her adoption shall be sufficient.

When Parental Consent is not Needed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.040

The consent to the adoption of a child is not required of the following:

  • 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 who, after proper service of process, fails to file an answer or make an appearance in a proceeding for adoption or for termination of parental rights at the time the case is heard
  • 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 abandoned a child, as described § 211.447
  • A parent whose rights to the child may be terminated for any of the grounds set forth in § 211.447

When Consent Can Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

The written consent of the presumed father or an adoptive mother or father may be executed before or after the birth of the child or before or after the commencement of the adoption proceedings. The written consent of the birth mother shall not be executed any time before the child is 48 hours old.

How Consent Must Be Executed

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

The written consent may be executed in front of a judge or acknowledged before a notary public. If consent is executed in front of a judge, it shall be the duty of the judge to advise the consenting birth parent of the consequences of the consent. 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 notary public or witnesses shall verify the identity of the party signing the consent.

The consent form must specify the following:

  • The birth parent understands the importance of identifying all possible fathers of the child and may provide the names of all such persons.
  • The birth father understands that if he denies paternity but consents to the adoption, he waives any future interest in the child.

The written consent to adoption shall be valid and effective even though the consenting parent was younger than age 18 if the parent was represented by a guardian ad litem at the time the consent was executed.

Revocation of Consent

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 453.030

Consent is final when executed unless the consenting party, prior to a final decree of adoption, alleges and proves by clear and convincing evidence that the consent was not freely and voluntarily given. The burden of proving the consent was not freely and voluntarily given shall rest with the consenting party. Consents in all cases shall have been executed not more than 6 months prior to the date the petition for adoption is filed.