What Is the Process for Adopting a Child?

Adoption makes it possible for individuals and couples to accept children who need a home, provide them with adequate care, and build bonds of consistent love and attachment. In Iowa, a child may be adopted through the foster care system (foster adoption), through a private adoption agency (private adoption), or from another country (international adoption). An experienced Iowa adoption attorney can explore your possible options and help you understand the adoption process.

At Olberding Law Office, I have devoted my career to offering knowledgeable guidance and advocacy to clients in family law and adoption matters, including private, step-parent, state-sponsored, and LGBT adoptions. I'm available to discuss your unique circumstances and enlighten you about the process of adopting a child in Iowa. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Nevada, Story County, Hardin County, Boone County, Marshall County, and Hamilton County, Iowa.

Overview of the Adoption Process

Adoption can be described as an emotional and legal process whereby an individual assumes the parenting of another person's child. Legal adoptions permanently transfer all parental rights and responsibilities from the biological parents to the adoptive parents. Here are the steps involved in the adoption process.

Consider Your Options for Adopting

When considering adoption in Iowa, your available options include:

  • Private Domestic Adoption — Adopting a child through a private agency in the United States
  • Foster Care Adoption — Adopting a child through the foster care system in the United States
  • International Adoption — Adopting a child from another country
  • Step-Parent Adoption — Adopting your stepchild or the child of your spouse from another relationship

Analyze the Costs

The cost of adopting a child in Iowa usually depends on the type of adoption you want to pursue. Here is the average cost for the three popular adoption options in the Hawkeye State:

  • Private Domestic Adoption: $37,000
  • Foster Care Adoption: $2,622
  • International Adoption: $42,000

Choose an Agency

In Iowa, adoption agencies provide virtually all the services required to complete an adoption. However, ensure that you choose a reputable, licensed adoption agency. Here are a few tips to help guide you:

  • Decide on the type of adoption you are pursuing.
  • Determine the adoption services you need: matching, legal, financial, mediation, screening, and counseling.
  • Research about adoption agencies across the state.
  • Determine your budget and work with that.
  • Decide whether to work with a national or local adoption agency.
  • Consider the agency's requirements.

Depending on the type of adoption you intend to pursue and other factors, choosing the right agency can make a significant difference.

Begin Your Home Study Process

Under Iowa laws, potential adoptive parents must complete a home study before starting the adoption process. The purpose of the home study is to determine the preparedness of the family to adopt a child. The home study typically includes a documentation phase, in-depth home inspection, as well as interviews with each family member. In order to be allowed to adopt a child, you must have a valid, approved home study.

Discover Your Child

After finding a child and once you have been identified as their potential adoptive family, get to know him or her. Talk to parents, guardians, and adoption professionals to learn as much as possible about the child. Taking time to discover your child can help make the transition smoother.

Make Ready for Your Child

Put all the required documents in order and prepare for your child to be placed in your care. Notify your insurance company of a new addition to your family. Obtain copies of the child's original birth certificate. Obtain the necessary IDs for your child. Line up services, such as child care, counseling, therapy, school, and support groups for both of you as needed. Above all, make your home as friendly as possible for the child.

Bring Your Child Home

Once you have completed all necessary pre-placement visits, you may bring your child home. The adoption agency will monitor the placement and keep in touch with your family for a period, usually six months. This is to ensure a successful placement. You can always express concerns about the placement.

Finish Up the Adoption Process

The finalization process begins once the parental rights of the biological parents have been terminated and the child has been placed under your care. To finalize the adoption, you will:

  • File an adoption petition in court to start the legal finalization process.
  • Complete three post-placement visits with a certified investigator.
  • Attend a finalization hearing.

During the finalization hearing, the presiding judge will evaluate the adoption and attest that it is in compliance with applicable Iowa adoption laws and statutory requirements. An experienced attorney can offer you the detailed legal counsel, support, and reliable representation you need to navigate important decisions in your adoption process.

Reach Out to a Family Law Attorney for Assistance

Adopting a child in Iowa often involves a lot of complex processes. Understanding your adoption options and statutory requirements, determining your eligibility, filing legal paperwork, and finalizing the adoption requires the assistance and guidance of a legal representative. An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the adoption process and help you make informed decisions.

At Olberding Law Office, I have the diligence, expertise, and resources to help individuals, couples, and families navigate the complexities of Iowa adoption. As your legal counsel, I will explore your available legal options and determine the best course of action. I can also enlighten you about how to initiate the adoption process in Iowa and help determine your eligibility.

Additionally, I will help complete and submit the legal paperwork and necessary documentation and prepare your family for the home study interview. Using my in-depth legal understanding, I will guide you through every legal phase of the adoption process from start to finish and ensure that the adoption is legal, seamless, and successful.

Contact my firm – Olberding Law Office – today to schedule a simple consultation with a knowledgeable adoption attorney. I can offer you the detailed legal counsel and reliable advocacy you need to navigate important decisions in the adoption. My firm proudly serves clients throughout Nevada, Story County, Hardin County, Boone County, Marshall County, and Hamilton County, Iowa.


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