Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption - Missouri

Date: January 2020

Who May Adopt

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.010

Any person, regardless of residence, may adopt. If that person is married, his or her spouse may join in the petition. If the spouse does not join in, the court may order joinder, and, if the order is not complied with, the court may dismiss the petition.

Who May Be Adopted

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.010

Any child may be adopted.

Who May Place a Child for Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 453.014; 453.110

A child may be placed by any of the following:

  • The Children's Division of the Department of Social Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency
  • The child's parent(s) without the direct or indirect assistance of an intermediary, in the home of a relative of the child within the third degree
  • An intermediary, including an attorney, physician, or clergy member

No person, agency, organization, or institution shall surrender custody of a minor child or transfer the custody of such a child to another, and no person, agency, organization, or institution shall take possession of a minor child so transferred, without first having filed a petition with the court and obtaining an order from the court approving or ordering a transfer of custody.

If a transfer of custody is made without first obtaining a court order, the court shall, on petition of any public official or interested person, agency, organization, or institution, order an investigation and report as described in § 453.070 to be completed by the division and shall make a custody order that is in the best interests of the child.