Stepparents play extremely important roles in children’s lives. Although they may never take the actual place of the parent, they may want to adopt the stepchild. Adoption may act as a way to fill the missing gap in a family that may be present from having a parent who does not play an active role in the child’s life. Whether you are a stepparent and are interested in adopting your stepchild or you are a parent and want to find out more information on how your spouse can adopt your son or daughter, it is important to understand how stepparent adoption works.

Before the stepparent can file for adoption, he or she must have the consent of both biological parents. If the child’s parent cannot be located and has not played an active role in the child’s life for a significant amount of time, this rule may be waived in certain cases. According to Iowa statutes, the child must also consent to the adoption if he or she is over 14-years-old.

Once the papers have been filed, the Department of Human Services may set up a home study, in which a representative will come into the home and determine whether it is suitable for the child. A representative will conduct a full criminal background check on the stepparent and ensure that he or she has not been convicted of a crime. The representative will also determine the stepparent’s motivation for adoption, the emotional stability of the parent, medical conditions, income, disciplinary practices and if there is any history of abuse.

There is no question that stepparent can offer completion to a family.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.