Iowa

Adoption Laws

Consent to Adoption

Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.7

The following persons must consent to an adoption:

  • Any guardian
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is a stepparent
  • The spouse of a petitioner who is separately petitioning to adopt an adult person

Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.7

A child age 14 or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.8 Consent may be unnecessary if:

  • Any person required to consent refuses to or cannot be located.
  • A parent has signed a release of custody and the release has not been revoked.
  • A parent has petitioned for termination of parental rights.
  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • A parent has been ordered to contribute to the support of the child or financially aid in the child’s birth and has failed to do so without good cause.
  • A parent does not object to the termination after having been given proper notice and the opportunity to object.
  • A parent does not object to the termination, although every reasonable effort has been made to identify, locate, and give notice to that parent.
  • 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 the person entitled to custody 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 the child, the child’s sibling, or another child in the household, or 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 that is a criminal offense against a minor, the parent is divorced from or was never married to the minor’s other parent, and the parent is serving a minimum sentence of confinement of at least 5 years for that offense.

When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600A.4(2)(g)

Parental release of custody may not be executed until at least 72 hours after the child’s birth.

How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.4

A consent to the adoption shall be in writing, shall name the child and the petitioner, shall be signed by the person consenting, and shall 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

A release of custody shall:

  • Be accepted only by an agency or a person making an independent placement
  • Not be accepted by a person who in any way intends to adopt the child
  • Be in writing
  • Contain the written acknowledgment from the birth parents that 3 hours of counseling have been offered to the birth parents to take place after the birth of the child
  • Be witnessed by two persons familiar with the parent-child relationship
  • Name the person accepting the release
  • Be followed, within a reasonable time, by the filing of a petition for termination of parental rights under § 600A.5

Revocation of Consent Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600A.4

A consent to the adoption may be withdrawn prior to the issuance of an adoption decree by the filing of an affidavit of consent withdrawal with the court.

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

If such request is by a signing parent, and is within 96 hours of the time such parent signed a release of custody, the court shall order the release revoked. Otherwise, the juvenile court shall order the release or releases revoked only upon clear and convincing evidence that good cause exists for revocation.

Good cause for revocation includes but is not limited to a showing that the release was obtained by fraud, coercion, or misrepresentation of law or fact that was material to its execution. In determining whether good cause exists for revocation, the juvenile court shall give paramount consideration to the best interests of the child, including avoidance of a disruption of an existing relationship between a parent and child.

Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents

Requirements for Foster Parents Ann. Code § 237.8(2); Admin. Code § 441-113.13

A records check for whether a prospective foster parent and foster care personnel were convicted of any crimes or child abuse is required as a part of the foster care licensure. In addition to the record checks, the individual’s fingerprints shall be provided to the Department of Public Safety for submission to the FBI for a national criminal history check.

A prospective foster parent will not be licensed if he or she was convicted of any of the following felony offenses:

  • A drug-related offense, if committed within the 5-year period preceding the application 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

In regulation:Each foster parent applicant and anyone who is age 14 or older living in the home of the applicant shall be checked for records with:

  • The Iowa Central Abuse Registry
  • The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
  • The Iowa Sex Offender Registry
  • Other records

Each foster parent applicant and any other adult living in the household also shall be checked for records on the child abuse registry of any State where the person has lived during the past 5 years. Each foster parent applicant also shall be fingerprinted for a national criminal history check. Other adults living in the home may be fingerprinted if the department determines that a national criminal history check is warranted.

If the applicant or anyone living in the home has a record of founded child abuse, a criminal conviction, or placement on the sex offender registry, the department shall not license the applicant as a foster family unless an evaluation determines that the abuse or criminal conviction does not warrant prohibition of license.

Requirements for Adoptive Parents Ann. Code § 600.8; Admin. Code § 441-107.8

A records check for whether a prospective adoptive parent was convicted of any crimes or child abuse is required as a part of the preadoptive investigation.

A prospective adoptive parent will not be approved if he or she was convicted of any of the following felony offenses:

  • A drug-related offense, if committed 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

In regulation:The certified adoption investigator shall submit record checks for each applicant and for any other adults living in the home of the applicant to determine whether they have founded child abuse reports or criminal convictions.

If there is a record of founded child abuse or a criminal conviction for the applicant or any other adults living in the home of the applicant, the applicant shall not be approved as an adoptive family, unless an evaluation determines that the abuse or criminal conviction does not warrant prohibition of approval.

Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. §§ 232.102; 232.111; 232.116

The court may waive the requirement for making reasonable efforts when it determines that aggravated circumstances exist, as indicated by any of the following:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • Grounds for terminating parental rights apply to the child.
  • The parent’s rights have been terminated in this or another State with respect to another child who is a member of the same family, and there is clear and convincing evidence to show that the offer or receipt of services would not be likely within a reasonable period of time to correct the conditions that led to the child’s removal.
  • The parent has been convicted of the murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring in, or soliciting the commission of the murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury of the child or of another child of the parent.

A petition shall be filed under any of the following circumstances:

  • The child has been placed in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months.
  • A court has determined aggravated circumstances exist and has waived the requirement for making reasonable efforts.
  • The child is younger than 12 months of age and has been judicially determined to have been abandoned, or the child is a newborn infant whose parent has voluntarily released custody of the child in accordance with chapter 233.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring in, or soliciting the commission of murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent.

The court may terminate a parent’s rights on any of the grounds listed above. The court also may terminate parental rights for any of the following:

  • Services offered to the parent have failed to correct conditions that led to the child’s abuse or neglect.
  • The child has been in out-of-home care for at least 6 months, and the parents have not maintained significant and meaningful contact with the child
  • A child who is age 4 or older has been in out-of home care for at least 12 of the past 18 months and cannot safely be returned home.
  • A child who is age 3 or younger has been in out-of-home care for at least 6 of the past 12 months and cannot safely be returned home.
  • The parent is incarcerated for a crime against a child or is unlikely to be released from prison for 5 or more years.
  • The parent has a chronic mental illness, has been repeatedly institutionalized for mental illness, and presents a danger to self or others.
  • The parent has a severe substance-related disorder and presents a danger to self or others.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony and imprisoned for physically or sexually abusing or neglecting any child in the household.
  • The parent has been convicted of child endangerment resulting in death or serious injury of any child in the household.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony sex offense against a minor, the parent is divorced from or was never married to the minor’s other parent, and the parent is serving a minimum sentence of confinement of at least 5 years for that offense.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. § 232.111

A petition to terminate parental rights is not required when:

  • At the option of the Department of Human Services or by order of the court, the child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The department has documented a compelling reason for determining that termination would not be in the best interests of the child. A compelling reason can include evidence that the family may achieve reunification within 6 months.
  • The department has not provided services within the timeframes indicated in the case plan.

The court need not terminate parental rights when:

  • A relative has legal custody of the child.
  • The child is over age 10 and objects to the termination.
  • There is clear and convincing evidence that termination would be detrimental to the child due to closeness of the parent-child relationship.
  • It is necessary to place the child in a hospital or other facility for care and treatment, and the continuation of the parent-child relationship is not preventing a permanent family placement for the child.
  • The absence of the parent is due to the parent’s admission or commitment to any institution or health facility or due to active service in the State or Federal armed forces.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights Ann. Stat. § 232.117(10)

If a termination of parental rights order is issued on the grounds that the child is a newborn infant whose parent has voluntarily released custody of the child under § 232.116(1)(c), the court shall retain jurisdiction to change a guardian or custodian and to allow a parent whose rights have been terminated to request vacation or appeal of the termination order. Such request must be made within 30 days of issuance of the granting of the termination order. The period for request for vacation or appeal by a parent whose rights have been terminated shall not be waived or extended, and a vacation or appeal shall not be granted for a request made after the expiration of this period. The court shall grant the vacation request only if it is in the best interests of the child.

Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption

Who Must Be Studied Citation: Admin. Code § 441-107.8(600)

The preplacement investigation shall include the applicants for adoption and each member of the applicants’ household.

Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8

The background investigation shall be made by the agency, the person making an independent placement, or an investigator. The Department of Human Services, an agency, or an investigator shall complete the postplacement investigations and reports.

Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.5

A petition to adopt a child may be filed by any unmarried adult or a husband and wife together.

Elements of a Home Study Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8; Admin. Code § 441-107.8(600)

A preplacement investigation shall answer the following:

  • Whether the home of the petitioner is suitable for the placement of a child
  • How the petitioner’s emotional maturity, finances, health, relationships, and any other relevant factor may affect his or her ability to accept, care, and provide a child with an adequate environment as that child matures
  • Whether the petitioner has been convicted of a crime under a law of any State or has a record of founded child abuse

In regulation:The preplacement investigation shall include at a minimum two contacts, one face-to-face interview with the applicants and each member of the household, and at least one home visit. The assessment shall include the following:

  • Motivation for adoption and whether the family has other children
  • The family’s attitude toward accepting an adopted child and plans for discussing adoption with the child
  • Emotional stability and marital history
  • Ability to cope with problems, stress, frustrations, crises, separation, and loss
  • Medical conditions that would affect the applicant’s ability to parent a child
  • Ability to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Adjustment of birth children and previously adopted children
  • Capacity to give and receive affection
  • Statements from at least three references provided by the family and other unsolicited references
  • Income information
  • Disciplinary practices that will be used
  • History of abuse by family members and treatment
  • Assessment of commitment to and capacity to maintain other significant relationships
  • Substance use or abuse by family members and treatment

The adoption investigator shall submit records checks for each applicant and for any other adult living in the home of the applicant to determine whether they have founded child abuse reports or criminal convictions.

Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8; Admin. Code § 441-107.8(600)

A prospective adoption petitioner shall not be approved if the petitioner has been convicted of any of the following felony 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

The person making the investigation shall not approve a prospective adoption petitioner unless an evaluation has been made that considers the nature and seriousness of the crime or founded abuse in relation to the adoption, the time elapsed since the commission of the crime or founded abuse, the circumstances under which the crime or founded abuse was committed, the degree of rehabilitation, and the number of crimes or founded abuse committed by the person involved.

In regulation: If there is a record of founded child abuse or a criminal conviction for the applicant, or any other adult living in the home of the applicant, the applicant shall not be approved as an adoptive family unless an evaluation determines that the abuse or criminal conviction does not warrant prohibition of approval.

When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8

The postplacement report shall be completed and filed with the court prior to the holding of the adoption hearing. A copy of the background information investigation report shall be furnished to the adoption petitioners within 30 days after the filing of the adoption petition.

The preplacement investigation and report shall be completed and the prospective adoption petitioner approved for a placement by the person making the investigation prior to any agency or independent placement of a child in the petitioner’s home in anticipation of an ensuing adoption. A report of a preplacement investigation that has approved a prospective adoption petitioner for a placement shall not authorize placement of a minor person with that petitioner after 1 year from the date of the report’s issuance.

Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8; Admin. Code § 441-107.8(600)

A postplacement investigation and a report of this investigation shall:

  • Verify the allegations of the adoption petition and its attachments and of the report of expenditures required by § 600.9
  • Evaluate the progress of the placement of the adopted child
  • Determine whether adoption by the adoption petitioner is in the best interests of the adopted child

In regulation: When an adoption investigator completes postplacement supervision, at least three visits to the adoptive family’s home and personal observation of the child are required. Postplacement reports are to be written after each postplacement visit and copies kept in the permanent family file retained by the investigator. Postplacement supervision should assess the placement in the following areas:

  • Integration and interaction of the child with the family
  • Changes in the family functioning that may be due to the child’s placement
  • Social, emotional, and school adjustment of the child
  • Changes that have occurred in the family since placement of the child
  • The family’s method of dealing with testing behaviors and discipline

Home visits shall 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

Home visits shall be completed as often as necessary if the adoptive family is experiencing problems. A report based on the postplacement visits with recommendations regarding the finalization of the adoption shall be submitted to the court.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8

Any investigation or report required under this section shall not apply when the adopted person is an adult or when the adoption petitioner is a stepparent of the adopted person. However, in the case of a stepparent adoption, the court may order an investigation. Additionally, if an adoption petitioner discloses a criminal conviction or deferred judgment for an offense other than a simple misdemeanor or founded child abuse report, the petitioner shall notify the court of the inclusion of this information in the petition prior to the final adoption hearing, and the court shall make a specific ruling regarding whether to waive any investigation.

The preplacement investigation and report may be waived by the court if the adoption petitioner is related within the fourth degree of consanguinity to the adopted person. However, if an adoption petitioner discloses a criminal conviction or deferred judgment for an offense other than a simple misdemeanor or founded child abuse report, the petitioner shall notify the court of the inclusion of this information in the petition prior to the final adoption hearing, and the court shall make a specific ruling regarding whether to waive any investigation or report.

Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8

In the case of the adoption of a child by a person domiciled or residing in any other jurisdiction of the United States, any investigation or report required under this section that has been conducted pursuant to the standards of that other jurisdiction shall be recognized in this State.

The department or an agency or investigator may conduct any investigations required for an interstate or interagency placement. Any interstate investigations or placements shall follow the procedures and regulations under the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Such investigations and placements shall comply with the laws of the States involved.

Foster to Adopt Placements

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.

Infant Safe Haven Laws

Infant’s Age Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.1

A newborn infant may be relinquished. The term ‘newborn infant’ means a child who is, or who appears to be, 14 days old or younger.

Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.2

A parent of a newborn infant may voluntarily release custody of the newborn infant by relinquishing physical custody of the newborn infant, without expressing an intent to again assume physical custody, at an institutional health facility or by authorizing another person to relinquish physical custody on the parent’s behalf.

Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.1

The child be may relinquished to an institutional health facility. The term ‘institutional health facility’ means a hospital, including a facility providing medical or health services that is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, and is a hospital emergency room or a health-care facility.

Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.2

Unless the parent or other person relinquishing physical custody of a newborn infant clearly expresses an intent to return to again assume physical custody of the newborn infant, an individual on duty at the facility at which physical custody of the newborn infant was relinquished shall take physical custody of the newborn infant.

The individual on duty may request the parent or other person to provide the name of the parent or parents and information on the medical history of the newborn infant and the newborn infant’s parent or parents. The individual on duty may perform reasonable acts necessary to protect the physical health or safety of the newborn infant.

As soon as possible after the individual on duty assumes physical custody of a newborn infant, the individual shall notify the Department of Human Services, and the department shall take the actions necessary to assume the care, control, and custody of the newborn infant. Within 24 hours of taking custody of the newborn infant, the department shall notify the juvenile court and the county attorney in writing of the department’s action and the circumstances surrounding the action.

Immunity for the Provider Citation: Ann. Stat. § 233.2

The individual on duty and the institutional health facility in which the individual was on duty are immune from criminal or civil liability for any acts or omissions made in good faith to comply with this section.

Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 233.2; 233.3; 233.5

The parent or other person is not required to provide his or her name or medical history information.

Any person authorized by the parent to assist with release of custody by relinquishing physical custody of the newborn infant or to otherwise act on the parent’s behalf is immune from criminal prosecution for abandonment or neglect of the newborn infant and civil liability for any reasonable acts or omissions made in good faith in assisting with the release.

In addition to any other privacy protection established in law, a record that is developed, acquired, or held in connection with an individual’s good-faith effort to voluntarily release a newborn infant in accordance with this chapter and any identifying information concerning the individual shall be kept confidential. Such record shall not be inspected or the contents disclosed except as provided in this section.

Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 233.2; 233.4

Upon being notified in writing by the department, the county attorney shall file a petition alleging the newborn infant to be a child in need of assistance and a petition for termination of parental rights. A hearing on a termination of parental rights petition shall be held no later than 30 days after the day the physical custody of the newborn child was relinquished.

Notice of a petition shall be provided to any known parent and shall be served upon any putative father registered with the State Registrar of Vital Statistics.

Either parent of a relinquished newborn infant may intervene in the child in need of assistance or termination of parental rights proceedings held regarding the newborn infant and request that the juvenile court grant custody of the newborn infant to the parent. The requester must show by clear and convincing evidence that the requester is the parent of the newborn infant. If the court determines that the requester is the parent of the newborn infant and that granting custody of the newborn infant to the parent is in the newborn infant’s best interest, the court shall issue an order granting custody of the newborn infant to the parent. In addition to such order, the court may order services for the newborn infant and the parent as are in the best interest of the newborn infant.

Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses

Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.9(2)

Only expenses incurred in connection with the following and any other expenses approved by the juvenile court or court are allowable:

  • The birth of the child to be adopted
  • Placement of the child with the adoption petitioner and legal expenses related to the termination of parental rights and adoption processes
  • Pregnancy-related medical care received by the birth parents or the child during the pregnancy or delivery of the child and for medically necessary postpartum care for the birth parent and the child
  • Living expenses of the mother
  • Costs of the counseling provided to the birth parents prior to the birth of the child, prior to the release of custody, and any counseling provided to the birth parents after the birth of the child
  • Living expenses of the child if the child is placed in foster care during the pendency of the termination of parental rights proceedings

All payments for allowable expenses shall be made to the provider, if applicable, and not directly to the birth parents.

Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.9(2)

Payment is not permitted for living expenses in excess of the cost of room and board; rent; food; transportation for other than medical purposes, on a common carrier of persons or an ambulance; or for longer than 30 days after the birth of the child. Payment is not permitted for any counseling provided to the birth parents for more than 60 days after the birth of the child.

Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.9(1)(b)

Any person assisting in the placement or adoption of a child shall not charge a fee that is more than usual, necessary, and commensurate with the services rendered.

Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.9(1)(a)

Except for an allowable expense, a birth parent shall not receive anything of value for placing a child for adoption.

Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8(6)

Any person conducting an investigation may charge a fee that does not exceed the reasonable cost of the services rendered and is based on a sliding scale relating to the investigated person’s ability to pay.

Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.9(2)

An adoption petitioner shall file with the court, prior to the adoption hearing, a full accounting of all disbursements of anything of value paid or agreed to be paid by or on behalf of the petitioner in connection with the petitioned adoption. This accounting shall be made by a report prescribed by the juvenile court or court and shall be signed and verified by the petitioner.

The Rights of Unmarried Fathers

Legal Definition of Father Ann. Stat. § 144.12A

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 to whom the man is not married at the time of the birth of the child.

Paternity Registry Ann. Stat. § 144.12A

The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall establish a declaration of paternity registry to record the name, address, Social Security number, and any other identifying information required by rule of the department of a putative father who wishes to register prior to the birth of a child and no later than the date of the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights.

A declaration of paternity filed with the registry may be used as evidence of paternity in an action to establish paternity or to determine a support obligation with respect to the putative father. Failure or refusal to file a declaration of paternity shall not be used as evidence to avoid a legally established obligation of financial support for a child.

Alternate Means to Establish Paternity

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Required Information Ann. Stat. § 144.12A

A person who files a declaration of paternity with the registrar shall include in the declaration all of the following:

  • His name, current address, Social Security number, and any other identifying information requested by the department
  • The name, last known address, and Social Security number, if known, of the mother of the child, or any other identifying information requested by the department
  • The name of the child, if known, and the date and location of the birth of the child, if known

The registrar shall accept a declaration of paternity filed in accordance with this section and forward a copy of the declaration to the mother as notification that the person has registered with the registry.

Revocation of Claim to Paternity Ann. Stat. § 144.12A

Information provided to the registry may be revoked by the registrant by submission of a written statement signed and acknowledged by the registrant before a notary public.

The statement shall include a declaration that to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, the registrant is not the father of the named child or that paternity of the true father has been established.

Revocation nullifies the registration and the information provided by the registrant shall be expunged. Revocation is effective only following the birth of the child.

Access to Information Ann. Stat. § 144.12A

The department shall, upon request, provide the name, address, Social Security number, and any other identifying information of a registrant to:

  • The biological mother of the child
  • A court
  • The Department of Human Services
  • The attorney of any party to an adoption, termination of parental rights, or establishment of paternity or support action
  • The child support recovery unit for an action to establish paternity or support

The information shall not be divulged to any other person and shall be considered a confidential record as to any other person, except upon order of the court for good cause shown. If the registry has not received a declaration of paternity, the department shall provide a written statement to that effect to the person making the inquiry.

Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements

Use of Advertisement

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?

Who May Adopt Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.4

The following persons may adopt:

  • An unmarried adult
  • A husband and wife together
  • A husband or wife separately if the person to be adopted is not the spouse and if the adopting spouse is:
    • The stepparent
    • Separated from his or her spouse
    • Unable to obtain consent from his or her spouse due to prolonged absence, an unexplained absence, unavailability, incapacity of the spouse, or an unreasonable unwillingness to consent

Who May Be Adopted Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.10; 600.3

The following persons may be adopted:

  • A minor who has resided with the adoptive parent for a minimum of 180 days, but this requirement may be waived for a stepparent or relative
  • An adult

Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.7; 600.7A

A child may be placed by or consent may be given by any of the following:

  • The guardian of the person to be adopted
  • The Department of Human Services
  • A licensed child-placing agency

Post-Adoption Laws

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 144.43A

The following persons may register with the mutual consent voluntary adoption registry:

  • The adult adopted person
  • An adult sibling
  • The birth parents

Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.16

Any information compiled relating to medical history, medical and developmental history, and social history of the person to be adopted shall be made available at any time by the clerk of court, the department, or any agency that made the placement to:

  • The adopting parents
  • The adopted person who is age 21 or older
  • Any person approved by the department if the person uses this information solely for the purposes of conducting a legitimate medical research project or of treating a patient in a medical facility
  • A descendant of an adopted person

The identity of the adopted person’s birth parents shall not be disclosed.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Ann. Stat. § 144.43A

The State Registrar shall reveal the identity of the birth parent to the adult adopted person or the identity of the adult adopted person to the birth parent, shall notify the parties that the requests have been matched, and shall disclose the identifying information to those parties if all of the following conditions are met:

  • A birth parent has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to the adult adopted person upon request of the adult adopted person.
  • An adult adopted person has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to a birth parent upon request of the birth parent.
  • The State Registrar has been provided sufficient information to make the requested match.

If the adult adopted person has a sibling who is a minor and who also has been adopted, the request will be denied.

The State Registrar shall reveal the identity of the adult adopted person to an adult sibling if the following conditions are met:

  • An adult adopted person has filed a request and provided consent to the disclosure of his or her identity to an adult sibling.
  • The adult sibling has filed a request and provided consent to the revelation of his or her identity to the adult adopted person.
  • The State Registrar has been provided with sufficient information to make the requested match.

A person who has filed a request or provided consent may withdraw the consent at any time prior to the release of any information by filing a written withdrawal-of-consent statement with the State Registrar. The adult adopted person, adult sibling, and birth parent shall notify the State Registrar of any change in the information contained in a filed request or consent.

Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Ann. Stat. § 144.24

The original birth certificate may not be inspected except under order of a court. The State Registrar shall, upon the application of an adult adopted person, a birth parent, an adoptive parent, or the legal representative of the any of the former, inspect the original birth certificate and reveal to the applicant the date of the adoption and the name and address of the court that issued the adoption decree.

Where the Information Can Be Located

Iowa Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. § 633.223

A lawful adoption extinguishes the right of intestate succession of an adopted person from and through the adopted person’s birth parents and vice versa.

An adoption of a person by the spouse or surviving spouse of a birth parent has no effect on the relationship for inheritance purposes between the adopted person and that birth parent or birth parent’s heirs. An adoption of a person by the spouse or surviving spouse of a birth parent after the death of the other birth parent has no effect on the relationship for inheritance purposes between the adopted person and the deceased birth parent’s heirs.

Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Ann. Stat. § 633.223

The adopted person inherits from and through the adoptive parent(s) and vice versa.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will Citation: Ann. Stat. § 633.267

If a testator fails to provide in his or her will for any of his or her children who were adopted by the testator after the execution of his or her last will, the child shall receive a share in the estate equal in value to that which the child would have received under Iowa law if the testator had died intestate, unless it appears from the will that such omission was intentional.

Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families

These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree

Ann. Stat. § 600.15

A decree establishing a parent-child relationship by adoption that is issued pursuant to due process of law by a juvenile court or court of any other jurisdiction within or outside the United States shall be recognized in this State.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate

Ann. Stat. § 144.25A

The Department of Public Health shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 17A to establish a procedure for the issuance of a certificate of birth for children adopted pursuant to § 600.15.

Source

Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. [1]

References