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Iowa Adoption Frequently Asked Questions

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
December 6, 2019

In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions about adoption in Iowa. Including: 

  • Who can adopt a child in Iowa?
  • What are the different types of adoption in Iowa?
  • How long does adoption take in Iowa?
  • How much does adoption cost in Iowa?
  • What information is available for adoptive parents in Iowa?
  • Do all adoptions require a home study in Iowa?
  • What kind of training is required for adoptive parents in Iowa?
  • Will an adopted child’s biological parents have legal rights?

Adoption is a process in which an adult becomes the legal parent of a child (or a younger adult in some circumstances) who is not biologically their own. If adopting a minor, the adult is legally responsible to support and care for the child. For more information on the Iowa adoption process, please read, “The Iowa Adoption Process Explained.”

Who can adopt a child in Iowa?

Nearly any person 18 or older in Iowa can adopt a child. An unmarried individual can adopt independently. Married couples must adopt jointly.

Before the adoption process can begin, the hopeful adoptive family must pass an in-home study to make sure that an adopted child will be placed in a safe and supportive environment.

What are the different types of adoption in Iowa?

There are three different types of adoption in Iowa:

  • A private domestic adoption takes place through a private agency within the United States. In most cases, the adopted child is an infant.
  • A foster care adoption takes place through the foster care system in the United States. Children in the foster care system are often older compared to children adopted through private agencies. A child 14 or older must consent to being adopted in Iowa.
  • An international adoption takes place when a family adopts a child from a country other than the United States.

How long does adoption take in Iowa?

Every adoption is unique. It’s impossible to guarantee a time frame as a variety of factors influence the pace at which an adoption is processed. But on average, it takes between six and nine months for an adoption to be finalized. 

Keep in mind that a child must be in their adoptive home for at least 180 days before a judge will consider finalization.

How much does adoption cost in Iowa?

A foster care adoption rarely costs more than $2,500. In some cases, adopting through the foster care system is free of any fees or processing charges.

When it comes to calculating the costs of private or international adoptions, the costs can quickly add up. Between agency fees, social work services, immigration processing, and court costs, it’s not impossible for the cost of an adoption to soar past $30,000. However, there are federal tax credits and subsidies that can absorb a portion of an adoptive family’s costs.

What information is available for adoptive parents in Iowa?

There is a surplus of information available for adoptive parents in Iowa. A great place to start is the Department of Human Resources. The website offers detailed information about fostering and adopting in Iowa.

Do all adoptions require a home study in Iowa?

In most cases, a home study will be required for an adoption in Iowa. However, if a child is being adopted by a stepparent or close relative, a home study may not be required.

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Do all adoptions require a home study in Iowa?

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