Baby Safe Haven or Adoption Plan: Choosing a Path for Adoption in Missouri that Works for You
By Zoë Bowlus
If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, you might be thinking about Giving a child up for adoption. Maybe you aren’t able to care for a baby. You might not feel ready to be a parent. Maybe you don’t want to be a parent (right now or ever). Whatever the reason, you are not alone: Birth mothers choose adoption for a variety of reasons.
When it comes to adoption in Missouri, you have a couple of options to ensure that your baby ends up in a safe and caring home: a baby safe haven or an adoption plan.
Here’s what you need to know about these two different paths to adoption:
What is a Baby Safe Haven?
A baby safe haven is a location where you can safely and legally leave your baby. Baby safe havens include hospitals, fire stations, police stations, ambulance stations, maternity homes and pregnancy centers. You must give your baby to a baby safe haven provider, which is a person who works or volunteers at one of these locations.
The baby safe haven provider will accept physical custody of your baby and ensure that your baby receives care. The baby safe haven provider will then notify the child welfare department, which will arrange for the adoption of your baby.
How the Baby Safe Haven Option Works in Missouri
Here’s what you need to know about the Safe Place for Newborns Law in Missouri:
- Your baby must be 45 days old (1.5 months) or younger.
- Your baby must be unharmed and show no signs of abuse.
- As a birth parent, you are guaranteed anonymity. You do not need to provide any identifying information about yourself or your baby. If you wish, you may disclose helpful health information.
- When you leave your child with a baby safe haven provider, you permanently relinquish your parental rights and you consent to adoption.
- If you safely and voluntarily leave your baby with a designated professional at a baby safe haven, you are protected from prosecution for child abandonment or child endangerment.
Here is the list of baby safe haven providers in Missouri:
- Law enforcement officer
- EMT (Emergency Medical Technician)
- Hospital staff member or volunteer
- Maternity home or pregnancy center staff member or volunteer
If you bring your baby to a location other than a hospital, the provider will take your baby to the nearest hospital for medical treatment and care.
The Children’s Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services will ensure that your baby is placed with a loving and caring family.
Adoption Choices of Missouri is a baby safe haven. You can leave your baby with us at our agency located at: 4435 Main St. #920, Kansas City, MO.
Pros of the Baby Safe Haven Option in Missouri
- You can safely leave your baby knowing that he or she will be protected and cared for.
- You are protected from liability for child abandonment, neglect or endangerment.
- You do not need to reveal your identity yourself or provide any information to anyone. No questions asked. No paperwork or contracts necessary.
- Your baby will be safe and placed in a permanent home.
Creating Your Adoption Plan
An adoption plan involves figuring out your preferences for your baby’s adoption. You get to choose the family who adopts your baby. You get to choose how much you stay in touch with your child and the adoptive family.
Choosing an Adoption Arrangement
It is up to you how involved you’ll be in your child’s life post-adoption. You decide how much contact you’ll have with your child and the adoptive parents. There are three types of adoption to choose from that vary in level of privacy and communication: closed, semi-open, and open. There are pros and cons to each type. There’s no right or wrong decision. You get to decide what works best for you.
Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you want to keep your birth mother’s identity confidential?
- Do you prefer to have no contact with the family who adopts your child? Or do you want to meet the adoptive family and communicate with them directly?
- Do you want to receive updates about how your child is doing post-adoption? If so, how frequently?
Choosing the Adoptive Family
As the Birth Parent, you can think about what you want in an adoptive family. These are some characteristics to consider when choosing the family you think can provide the best life for your baby:
- Family form and size: Do you want your baby to be adopted by a single parent? An LGBTQ family? A transracial family? Does it matter to you if the adoptive family already has children?
- Lifestyle, culture, and values: Where does the adoptive family live? What is their employment? What hobbies and interests do they have? What are their values and beliefs?
Your adoption caseworker will show you profiles of families hoping to adopt. All adoptive parents have passed screening tests, interviews, and background checks. Additionally, they’ve received adoption and parenting training.
- You will look at pictures of the families and learn all about them. Then you will choose a family that matches what you’re looking for.
Remember, your Birth Parent Counselor will be there to help you make these choices.
Pros of an Adoption Plan
- An adoption plan involves you throughout the entire adoption process.
- You select the family that will adopt your baby.
- You can control how much contact you have with the adoptive family and your child.
- An adoption plan ensures your baby will be loved and cared for in a permanent home.
Baby Safe Haven or Adoption Plan?
Whatever adoption choice you make, your baby will be safe and end up in a stable and loving family. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here for you as you make decisions about your unplanned pregnancy, whether you want to bring your newborn to a baby safe haven or develop an adoption plan.