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Helping Parents Who Wish To Adopt
Adoption is more than a legal process. It is also an emotional process — one that can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Janssen Law, PLC, is here to help you navigate the legal process so you can focus on building your new family. From our law office in Des Moines, we represent families throughout central Iowa. Call us at 515-421-9068 for a free initial consultation.
Attorney Jeffrey M. Janssen has personally gone through the adoption process. As a result, he understands how important your adoption is to you. He will guide you through the technical and legal steps to make the process as smooth as possible.
We handle all types of adoption, including:
- Stepparent adoptions
- Grandparent and relative adoptions
- Adoptions by foster parents
- One-parent adoptions
- Agency adoptions
- Private adoptions
- Interstate adoptions
- International adoptions
What Is The Typical Adoption Process?
The steps of adoption will vary depending on the type of adoption you are seeking. For a traditional adoption or a child who is not a relative, the following steps will occur, though not always in this order:
- Completing a home study
- Locating a child
- Terminating the rights of the biological parents
- Placing the child in your home
- Finalizing the adoption
- Completing a post-placement home study
- Holding an adoption hearing, after which you will receive a certified copy of the final adoption decree
Certain steps are not required for some adoptions. For example, in a stepparent adoption, the child will already be living with you and a home study may not be needed. In some cases, termination of the birth parents’ rights and the adoption hearing can take place at the same time.
Navigating the steps of adoption can be confusing. Therefore, it is important to speak with a lawyer who has personally gone through the adoption process and has walked in your shoes.
What Is Termination Of Parental Rights?
Before you can adopt a child, the parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. In a stepparent adoption, the rights of only one parent must be terminated.
A biological parent may contest termination of his or her parental rights. If the rights of a biological parent are not fully and finally terminated, a court may reverse the adoption and return the child to his or her birth parent.
What Is The Home Study?
A home study is usually the first step in the adoption process. It is required in all adoptions except in cases of adoption by a close relative. A social worker licensed in the state you live in will evaluate you, your spouse, your home and your surrounding environment.
What Is An Open Adoption?
An open adoption is one where biological family members maintain contact with the child after adoption. Examples of contact may include sending pictures or letters or having face-to-face visits.
Iowa courts do not recognize open adoptions, even if there is a written agreement allowing contact. Once the adoption is final, the adoptive parents will have the final say on whether there will be any contact between the child and biological family members.
What Is A Closed Adoption?
A closed adoption is one where the child does not know the identities of his or her birth parents. However, Iowa courts do require certain medical and genetic information to be provided to the child.