Adoption By City

How to Adopt in Iowa

Iowa is home to many families seeking adoption opportunities and resources to begin their journey. Whether you are looking to adopt, looking to place your child for adoption, or searching for information about home studies and where to begin the process, the following information will be your guide to all things adoption in Iowa.

What you need to know about adopting a baby in Iowa

To get started on your adoption journey, it is important to understand some of the fundamental aspects and frequently asked question about the process. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption in Iowa.

What are the laws and requirements for adopting a baby in Iowa?

An unmarried person or husband and wife together can petition to adopt a child in Iowa.

How much does it cost to adopt a baby in Iowa?

Expenses related to adoption in Iowa range widely depending on the type of adoption you decide to pursue. Are you looking to adopt internationally or domestically? Through a private agency or the foster care system? Depending on what you decide, Adoptive Parents may be asked to cover adoption-related expenses such as:

  • The cost of the child’s birth
  • Reasonable living expenses for the Birth Mom up to 30 days after the child’s birth
  • Legal and agency fees
  • Counseling for the Birth Mom up to 60 days after the child’s birth
  • Medical care during and after the Birth Mom’s pregnancy

How do you become a Foster Parent in Iowa?

Foster Parents in Iowa can come from all different ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds; be single or married; any sexual orientation; and do not need parenting experience.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, able to meet the home safety requirements, be able to financially support the child, pass criminal background checks and complete preservice training.

What you need to know about placing your baby for adoption in Iowa

If you are considering placing your child for adoption, understanding how the adoption process works as well as knowing your rights may relieve some of your worry. Here are a few things to know when considering adoption for your child in Iowa.

Who must consent to an adoption in Iowa?

Consent to an Iowa adoption must be given by the following:

  • The adoptee, if they are at least 14 years old
  • The child’s legal guardian
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is a stepparent
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is separately petitioning to adopt an adult person

When is consent not necessary for adoption in Iowa?

Consent to adoption is not necessary for the following instances

  • A person whose consent is required cannot be located
  • A parent who has abandoned the child
  • A parent has signed a release of custody
  • A parent has been required to financially support the child and failed to do so without good cause
  • A parent does not object to the termination of their rights after being given notice
  • An adoptive parent requests termination of parental rights and the parent-child relationship based upon a showing that the adoption was fraudulently induced
  • The parent has been determined to be a chronic substance abuser and the parent has committed a second or subsequent domestic abuse assault
  • The parent has abducted the child, has improperly removed the child from the physical custody of their legal guardian without the consent of that person, or has improperly retained the child after a visit or other temporary relinquishment of physical custody
  • The parent has been imprisoned for a crime against a child
  • The parent has been imprisoned and it is unlikely that the parent will be released from prison for a period of 5 or more years
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony offense against a minor, the parent is divorced from or was never married to the minor's other parent, and the parent is incarcerated for at least 5 years for that offense
  • The parent if they are the perpetrator and the child was a result of sexual abuse

How and when can Birth Parents consent to adoption in Iowa?

Consent to adoption is not necessary for the following instances

A consent to the adoption must be in writing, name the child and the petitioner, be signed by the person consenting, and be made in the following manner:

  • Any minor adopted person who is age 14 or older, in the presence of the juvenile court or court in which the adoption petition is filed
  • By any other person, either in the presence of the court or before a notary public

Can a Birth Parent revoke their consent to adoption in Iowa?

Consent may be revoked by the Birth Parents before the issuance of the final adoption decree by filing an affidavit of consent withdrawal in court.

A parent who has signed a release of custody, at any time prior to the entry of an order terminating parental rights, may request the court to order the revocation of release of custody previously executed by either parent.

If the request is by a signing parent and is within 96 hours of when the parent signed a release of custody, the court will order the revocation. Otherwise, the juvenile court will order the release revoked only upon evidence that good cause, such a fraud, duress, coercion, or misrepresentation of the law, exists for revocation.

What rights do Birth Fathers have in the adoption process in Iowa?

A ‘Father’ means the male, biological parent of a child.

A ‘Putative Father’ is a man who is alleged to be or who claims to be the biological father of a child born to a woman he was not married to at the time of the child’s birth.

In Iowa, the State Registrar of Vital Statistics has established a Paternity Registry for a Putative Father to declare their interest in being involved in the child’s life. For the registry to be valid, the Putative Father must register before the birth of the child and no later than the petition to terminate his parental rights.

Home study and Post Placement Requirements in Iowa

Prospective Adoptive Parents in Iowa are required to complete a home study before beginning the adoption process and a postplacement assessment after the adoption takes place. Both will assess your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child you wish to adopt.

What is a home study and what happens during the process?

A home study is a critical component to the adoption process. While it is to ensure your home will provide a child with stability, safety, and support, it is also a resource for Prospective Adoptive Parents to asks questions and prepare for the adoption. A home study is ultimately a recommendation as to the fitness of the applicants to become Adoptive Parents.

In Iowa, the home study assessment will include:

  • A face-to-face interview with each member of the household
  • At least one home visit
  • The reason and motivation for choosing adoption
  • Proof of income
  • Disciplinary practices
  • Record of substance use and or abuse by family members
  • History of abuse of family members
  • Three related or non-related references
  • Assessment of ability to maintain significant relationships
  • Adjustment of previous adopted children
  • Capacity to give and receive affection
  • Ability to provide for the child’s emotional and physical needs
  • Ability to cope with problems, stress, frustrations, crises, separation, and loss
  • Medical conditions that would affect the applicant’s ability to parent a child
  • Marital history
  • The family’s attitude toward adoption
  • Criminal background checks
  • Child abuse and neglect registry check

Who oversees a home study in Iowa and who is included in it?

A home study will be conducted by a licensed agency or person assisting in the adoption and will include all members of the household being assessed.

Why would my home study not be approved in Iowa?

A home study will be denied approval if a Prospective Parent is convicted of a felony for the following offenses:

  • A drug-related offense within the 5-year period preceding the petition date
  • Child endangerment or neglect or abandonment of a dependent person
  • Domestic abuse
  • A crime against a child, including but not limited to, sexual exploitation of a minor
  • A forcible felony

Is a home study different for stepparent or relative adoptions in Iowa?

In the case of a stepparent of relative adoption, the court may waive the required adoption home study. If the stepparent or relative wanting to adopt has been convicted of a crime other than a simple misdemeanor or a report of child abuse has been documented, the court will decide if an investigation is necessary.

What is a post placement requirement and what happens during the process?

Before the adoption has been finalized, a post placement assessment will take place to ensure the transition into adoption is going well and that the Adoptive Family's circumstances have not changed to no longer fit the child's best interest.

In Iowa, a minimum of 3 visits should take place to assess the following:

  • The social, emotional, and school adjustment of the child
  • Integration of the child into the family
  • The family’s disciplinary methods
  • Changes that have occurred in the family since the child’s placement

The 3 home visits should be completed at a minimum as follows:

  • One no later than 30 days after placement
  • One no later than 90 days after placement
  • A final visit prior to requesting a consent to adopt, no later than 180 days after placement

Iowa Adoption Agencies and Professionals

Iowa is home to some amazing adoption professionals who are ready to get your journey started. Whether you are interested in adopting a child or seeking resources to place your child for adoption, these professionals will guide you through the legal pathways and offer you support throughout your journey:

Avalon Center Adoption Agency

641-422-0070

Bethany Christian Services

712-737-4831

Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions

515-987-0565

Things to do in Iowa

If you find yourself in Iowa awaiting to meet your new child or finalize the adoption process, spend your free time visiting some of the States most popular attractions:

Capitol Building in Des Moines

Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott

National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque

Eagle Point Park in Dubuque

A Note from Adoption Network Law Center

No matter your decision, we appreciate the time you have taken to read about how to adopt in Iowa. Adoption Network Law Center wishes you the best of luck and is available to answer any further questions you may have about the adoption process. Call 1-866-602-9541 to speak with one of our amazing team members or visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/ to read more about our services. Whether you’re a soon-to-be Birth Parent or Prospective Adoptive Parent, ANLC wishes you the best on your adoption journey.