Adoption is a common practice in Iowa and throughout the United States. Adoption involves an adult assuming the role of parent for a child who is not biologically their own. The adoption process makes the adult the legal guardian of a child as they incur the rights and responsibilities of a parent.
If you are considering adoption in Cedar Rapids or elsewhere in Iowa, Arenson Law Group, PC is here to help. Our skilled lawyers will guide you through every step of the adoption process, providing all of the legal services and referring you to any additional adoption professionals you may need along the way. Our attorneys will help your Iowa adoption go as smoothly as possible.
Call (319) 363-8199 today to schedule an initial consultation with Arenson Law Group, PC. During your consultation, you will learn more about the Iowa adoption laws and the adoption process from our knowledgeable attorneys. No two adoptions are exactly alike, and our lawyers can provide you a better understanding of the steps involved in the process.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer?
The adoption process is not as simple as one may think. Complex issues often arise. Necessary paperwork must be completed correctly and submitted promptly. Adoption laws vary from state to state. If you are adopting a child in Iowa, it is in your best interest to seek the help of an Iowa adoption lawyer from the outset of the process
In Iowa, specific regulations govern adoptions. Adoptions could involve the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), or the Hague Convention. An attorney is well-versed on these laws and what they mean for your adoption. Other issues related to adoption can include the termination of parental rights (TPR) proceedings, filing notice on the Iowa Paternity Registry, and the possibility of adoption subsidies. An experienced Iowa adoption lawyer has experience handling these complicated adoption-related issues and can skillfully guide you through the entire process.
In general, an adoption service or agency will assist with setting up the documentation that a court will need to see to approve the adoption. However, when adoption is done between private individuals, a lawyer can make sure that everything is done correctly. Even if you plan on using an adoption service or agency, it is imperative that you hire a lawyer to review all the agreements you sign with that service or agency, in addition to any court documents that get filed. Adoption agency agreements or court filings typically have specific terms that can affect your parenting, such as terms regarding a birth mother’s rights following the adoption.
Our Adoption Practice Areas
At Arenson Law Group, PC, we handle all types of adoptions in Iowa. We are ready to guide you through the often-complicated adoption process. Our skilled and compassionate Cedar Rapids adoption attorneys will work with you to develop an adoption plan and gain the formal approval of each party involved, including both biological parents. If a biological parent objects to adoption, we will do everything we can to overcome that and bring everyone to an agreement. The Iowa adoption attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC have over 30 years of experience and are proud to be affiliated with the Iowa State Bar Association. Our mission from Day 1 has been to be one of the most trusted names in Cedar Rapids and throughout Iowa.
Our Cedar Rapids adoption lawyers have earned a reputation for doing exceptional work on behalf of Iowa families. Our firm has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. James “Jim” Arenson, our founding attorney, has a 4.5 Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™ and is a member of the Linn County Bar Association and the American Bar Association. At Arenson Law Group, PC, we understand the importance of bringing a child into your home. Working with a Cedar Rapids adoption attorney can help you complete the adoption you desire.
Types of Adoption Cases We Handle
We assist Iowa families in all types of adoption, including:
- Stepparent adoptions
- Grandparent and relative adoptions
- Adoptions by foster parents
- Single-parent adoptions
- Two-parent adoptions
- Same-sex adoptions
- Agency adoptions
- Private adoptions
- Interstate adoptions
- International adoptions
Depending on the kind of adoption you are seeking, various complex issues may arise, from financial obligations to protect the interests of the child being adopted. Be sure to consult with a skilled and experienced lawyer at Arenson Law Group, PC before making decisions or signing anything to make the adoption process run as smoothly as possible.
Adoption Facts and Statistics
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), of the 4,054 children exiting out-of-home care in 2014 in Iowa, 62% were reunited with their parents or primary caretakers.
In Iowa, in 2015, 1,017 children were legally adopted through a public child welfare agency, according to HHS. This was an increase of 15.8% from 878 the previous year.
Of the 5,918 children in out-of-home care in 2015, there were 1,003 or 16.9% waiting to be adopted, according to HHS.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, approximately 16,210 grandparents in Iowa had the primary responsibility of caring for their grandchildren.
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), in 2012, the average age of Iowa’s adopted children was 5.8 years. Children waiting to be adopted were, on average, 7.1 years. For children age nine or older, the likelihood of being adopted drops considerably.
Foster parents adopt the majority of children adopted from foster care in Iowa. According to AFCARS, 74.2% of children adopted from care in 2012 were adopted by their foster parents.
While foster care is designed to be temporary, many children in Iowa remain in foster care for years. According to AFCARS, in 2012, for children waiting to be adopted in Iowa, the average stay in foster care was 2.5 years. Children who were adopted spent, on average, 2.2 years (26.3 months) in foster care before the adoption was finalized.
Frequently Asked Questions about Adoption
At Arenson Law Group, PC, we get many questions from clients regarding the Iowa adoption process. Below are a few of the most commonly asked questions. We hope you find our answers useful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at (319) 363-8199 if you have further questions about adoption in Iowa.
What are the steps I need to take if I want to adopt in Iowa?
In Iowa, prospective adoptive parents generally have three adoption process options available to them: private domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption, and international adoption. If you are considering adoption, you may need to work a professional adoption agency, depending on your chosen adoption process. In general, a prospective adoptive parent will need to take the following steps to adopt in Iowa:
- Confirm that adoption is right for you and identify the best adoption process for your goals.
- Find an adoption agency or prepare for an independent adoption.
- Find the right adoption opportunity for you.
- Complete the legal requirements for pre- and post-placement.
- Finalize the adoption in court with a lawyer.
What is the termination of parental rights?
Before you can adopt a child in Iowa, the parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. In the case of a stepparent adoption, the rights of only one parent must be terminated.
Under the law, a biological parent may contest the termination of their parental rights. If the rights of a birth parent are not fully terminated, a court may reverse the adoption and return the child to their birth parent.
What is open adoption?
Open adoption is where biological family members maintain contact with the child after adoption. Examples of contact include sending letters or photographs or having in-person visits.
Iowa courts don’t recognize open adoptions, even if there is a written agreement permitting contact. After the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents have the final say as to whether there will be contact between the child and their birth parents or other biological family members.
What is a closed adoption?
A closed adoption means the adopted child does not know who their birth parents are. Iowa courts do, however, require certain genetic and medical information to be provided to the child.
Adoption Resources in Cedar Rapids
If you are an expectant mother or an adoptive parent, we’ve provided the following resources to connect you with the services and support you’ll need:
Foster Care Agencies and Organizations
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, the following agencies and organizations can help provide additional information and get you started:
- Iowa Foster Care and Adoption
- Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parents Association
- Iowa Department of Human Services
Because home study is a significant component of every foster placement and adoption, we’ve provided the following resources so you can familiarize yourself with the home study requirements:
- Children & Families of Iowa
This organization is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for international home studies.
- Adoption Associates of Iowa
Provides adoption home studies for potential foster or adoptive parents in Cedar Rapids and across the state
- William Pearce Adoption Services
Provides both domestic and international home study and post-placement services for families in Cedar Rapids
Contact an Adoption Lawyer in Cedar Rapids
If you are considering adding to your family through the adoption process, or if you have questions regarding parental rights and other adoption issues, the Cedar Rapids adoption lawyers at Arenson Law Group, PC can help. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys will explain all of the steps required of you with the Iowa adoption process, and we will be by your side every step of the way. To schedule a consultation, call us now at (319) 363-8199.
Written by James H. ArensonLast Updated : February 28, 2024