In this article we explain the adoption process in Iowa. Adoption in Iowa is governed by Iowa Code Chapter 600. We address the following:
An adoption is a process that establishes a legally recognized parent-child relationship. In Iowa, there are three basic types of adoption.
Every adoption process in Iowa will vary based on the type of adoption taking place. However, the following steps are typical, though not necessarily in this order:
Every state has unique requirements to adopt and/or be adopted. The adoption requirements in Iowa are as follows.
Iowa law requires adopters, married or unmarried, to be over 18 years of age. Most adults are eligible to adopt if they have a current approved home study on file. A home study includes interviews with all members of a potential adopting family, a home visit, fingerprinting, record checks, criminal background checks, and child abuse registry checks.
Any person may be adopted in Iowa, including those over the age of 18. Any person 14 years or older must provide consent to be adopted.
Before the adoption process for a minor can move forward, the biological parents’ parental rights must be terminated. Only a judge can terminate these rights.
In the case of a foster care adoption of an infant, Iowa requires a waiting period before birth parents can sign a voluntary release of their parental rights after the child is born. Once the release has been signed, there is another waiting period in which the biological parents can change their mind. But with a signed voluntary release and the proper legal documents, the motion to terminate parental rights can be brought before a judge.
Once the birth parents’ parental rights have been legally terminated, a child can be placed with the adoptive family. The next step in the finalization process is to file an adoption petition with the court.
The adoptive family must pass three post-placement visits with an agency or certified investigator. Once a child has been with their adoptive family for at least 180 days, a finalization hearing can take place. The legal adoption process is complete once a judge has reviewed the case and confirms the adoption compliant with all applicable laws.
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