Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights from a child's birth parents to the adoptive parents. We encourage all families who are willing to open their homes to assist children in need to learn more about adoption in Missouri.

There are many Missouri children in foster care who are unable to return to their biological parents and are in need of adoptive parents to provide a permanent home and a family to help them move forward in their life. To meet a few of the children looking for a home, visit the MO Heart Gallery.

How do I become an adoptive parent?

Anyone can apply to become an adoptive parent in Missouri, as long as they are  21 years old and willing to go through the training and assessment process. That process includes background checks, health screenings, financial discussions and  home assessments.

Many people think you have to be married or own your own home, but that is not  the case. As long as your housing and income are stable and meet licensure  standards, and there is room in your home and heart for more family members,  you could potentially become an adoptive parent.

Families who are interested in opening their homes and offering a permanent, stable,  nurturing environment for children should contact their local Children's Division  office for more information.

To be an adoptive parent you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Complete a child abuse/neglect check and criminal record check including fingerprints
  • Be in good health, both physically and mentally
  • Have a stable income
  • Be willing to participate in and complete a free training and assessment process
  • Be part of a professional team willing to voice perspectives and concerns
  • Be willing to partner with the child's family

For more detailed information about the process required to become an adoptive parent in Missouri, please email

How much does it cost to become an adoptive parent?

There is little to no cost involved in becoming an adoptive parent. The home assessment and training is provided by the state free of charge, and the majority of adoption expenses are covered by the state.

Training Requirements

The first step toward becoming an adoptive parent in Missouri is completing our Specialized Training, Assessment, Resources, Support and Skills (STARS) program.