What Is Adoption?

Adoption is the permanent, legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. To adopt a child, the birth parents’ parental rights must be legally terminated.  Birth parents can also voluntarily terminate their parental rights to allow another person to adopt their child.

There are two ways to adopt a child: through a private adoption or state custody adoption.  For more detailed information on adoption options click here:

A Step-by-Step Guide to AdoptionExploring Pathways to Adoption

MBCH Children and Family Ministries (MBCH CFM) can facilitate private adoption placements; however, it is a rare occurrence currently since most of the birth mothers we provide services choose to parent their babies.  When we do have biological parents who choose to place their babies privately, MBCH CFM provides adoptive homes that have been pre-approved.  The basic requirements for adoptive parents to adopt an infant privately through MBCH CFM are:

  • One of the couple must be 45 years of age or younger
  • Must be physically and emotionally healthy
  • Must have a stable marriage of at least two years
  • Must be professing Christians and active members of an evangelical church
  • Must have a home study approved by MBCH CFM.

What is much more common is for MBCH CFM to assist in facilitating a state-custody adoption of a child/youth.  Most often the child starts as a foster child in the family’s home.  If the child/youth becomes available for adoption, the foster parent may be eligible to adopt if there are no relatives available to adopt the child/youth.  Infant adoptions through foster care are not common.  The average age of a foster child needing to be adopted is 8 years old.


  • Adoptive parents don’t have to be perfect.
  • Adoptive parents don’t have to be rich; they only need to show they are financially able to add a child to their family without undue hardship.
  • Adoptive parents don’t have to own their own homes.
  • Adoptive parents don’t have to be of the same race or ethnic background as the child they adopt, but they do need to be willing to provide opportunities for their child to learn and participate in activities that nourish their child’s ethnic heritage.
  • Adoptive parents can be married or single.
  • Adoptive parents have a love of children and parenting.
  • Adoptive parents share a strong desire to help a child grow up to reach his/her potential and to be happy and fulfilled adults.
  • Adoptive parents may be first-time parents or may have already had children but feel they have room in their homes and hearts for more.
  • Adoptive parents understand that an adopted child is a “shared child” in the sense that the child/youth will always have a birth family even if that family is not actively involved in the child/youth’s life.
  • Adoptive parents do not keep secrets about their child/youth’s adoption and birth family and assist their child/youth in locating his/her birth family if and when their child/youth is ready to do so.
  • Adoptive parents have patience and perseverance.
  • Adoptive parents have a good sense of humor!
  • Adoptive parents love unconditionally.

  • Do I have a clear understanding of why I want to adopt?
  • If there are infertility issues, have I worked through this enough to understand that an adopted child cannot replace the child I could not have biologically?  Click here to take an adoption readiness assessment if you have infertility.
  • Do I understand the concept of the child being shared – that the child will always have birth parents too, even if he/she never has any contact with them?
  • If I am married, do my spouse and I work as a team? Are we BOTH committed to adoption?
  • If you will be adopting through state custody, MBCH CFM strongly recommends foster to adopt where a child would be placed with you as a foster parent, and then if the child becomes available to be adopted you may be available to adopt.  There are requirements by the State of Missouri to become a foster parent or adoptive parent of a state custody child including training and becoming licensed as a foster parent.

Open adoption is a child-centered process. MBCH Children & Family Ministries encourages open adoptions when the situation is appropriate. Not every situation is conducive to open adoption.

Obviously, in cases of severe abuse and/or neglect by the biological parents, it may not be in the best interest of children to have contact with their biological parents. In situations where contact would not be detrimental, open adoption is a way for the children to know their biological family.

It can be a healing process for children to learn the reasons their biological parents were unable to parent them and the choice of the parents to place them with a loving, adoptive family. Open adoption also becomes a way to stay abreast of the biological family’s medical history.

For private infant adoptions coordinated through MBCH Children & Family Ministries, the practice is for the birth mother and/or father to choose the family for their child. Non-identifying adoptive family profiles are presented to the birth parents. They will choose two or three families and receive more information about them. The life books for these families are then shared with the birth parents.

If the birth parents have decided to have an open adoption they have the choice of meeting with the adoptive parents if they wish to decide on the degree of openness. They can also choose to arrange the amount of openness through an intermediary.

The adoptive parents must be as honest about the extent of openness they are comfortable with as the plan is based on the good faith of the adoptive parents. Legally, there is no binding contract, and the decisions of contact rest solely on the adoptive parents after the finalization of the adoption. MBCH Children and Family Ministries expect its adoptive parents to honor the commitments they make with birth parents.

See further information about open adoption see this file.


Contact our Intake Department for more information.