At Janssen Law, we understand that, for Iowa families seeking to adopt a child, the process can involve a maelstrom of emotions, including excitement and confusion. To further complicate the matter, depending on the type of adoption that you are seeking, the steps of the process will look slightly different. For example, some of the steps in the process of adopting a child previously unknown to you are not required if you are adopting a stepchild or a close relative. In other cases, the court may combine some of the steps that would ordinarily happen separately.

Two of the most important steps in the traditional adoption process include the home study and the termination of parental rights of the biological parent(s). The purpose of the home study is to evaluate the home environment where the child will be living, as well as to gauge whether you and your spouse, if applicable, will be suitable parents. The home study is typically one of the first steps taken to adopt a child, although it is usually not required in cases where the adoptee is a close relative.

In order to prevent the court from reversing the adoption and returning the child to his or her birth family, termination of the parental rights of one or both of the biological parents must take place before you can adopt the child. The biological parents may contest the termination of their parental rights, complicating the process.

Just as there is a home study at the beginning of the adoption process, there is usually a home study after the adoption as well in order to evaluate the success of the placement. When adoption finalization has occurred, there is a an adoption hearing, during which the termination of parental rights may also take place if it has not already occurred. To complete the adoption process, you will receive a certified copy of the final adoption decree.

Building a family through adoption makes the emotional process all worthwhile. More information about the different types of adoption is available on our website.