Updated. Originally published Apr 12, 2019.
Iowa has four types of adoption: International, private domestic, foster care and step parent adoption. The type of adoption you choose depends on how you want to adopt and the age of the child. While children of all ages are available via all three methods of adoption, one type of adoption agency may not have a child of the age you wish. For example, if you want to adopt a newborn, you may have better luck with a domestic private adoption agency instead of foster adoption.
Step parent adoption differs greatly from the other three types of adoptions in Iowa. Because of this, we will just be focusing on international, private domestic and foster care adoption in this article. If you would like to learn more about step-parent adoption, please refer to our article Step Parent Adoption in Iowa.
International adoption is the most difficult type of adoption because the adoption is governed by the country where the child currently lives. The adoption is also finalized in that country. Additionally, if the country is part of The Hague Adoption Convention, its laws will govern the adoption. When you choose to adopt internationally, you should always have an adoption lawyer to help you through the process so as not to incur delays.
Foster adoption has many children of all ages and races that need a good family. Often, the children are in foster care with siblings. While you could adopt just one of the siblings, it is better to keep the kids together. If you want to adopt just one child, private domestic adoption might be a better choice for you.
Private Domestic Adoption
Private adoptions are handled through private adoption agencies. As with any type of adoption, you have to follow the rules that govern adoptions for Iowa. You have a better chance of finding an only child through private domestic adoption since the foster adoption program often has siblings from families that have had their children removed by the state.
The Adoption Process
Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, you will have to be “checked out” before you will be eligible to apply to adopt a child. You may have to:
- Complete an initial application to get entered into the system.
- Attend orientation. If you and a spouse or partner are adopting, you both will be required to attend.
- Submit to background and fingerprint checks to ensure that you don’t have a criminal history.
- Attend training classes. These may be of various lengths. If you are adopting through the foster program, the training classes are 10 weeks.
- Obtain additional training including but not limited to CPR training and medication management. Adopting through the foster system requires you to have additional training including mandatory reporter training, universal precautions booklet and the RPPS video training.
- A home study may be required.
- A psychological evaluation may be required.
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
The process could take up to a year. It depends on how soon you are able to get through the requirements and the speed of the adoption agency in processing the requirements. Once you do get through the process, it may take some time to find a child that “fits” with your family. You may choose the first child you meet or you may not meet “the one” even after you’ve met several children. This applies more to those who want to adopt an older child.
Adopting a child is not just bringing someone home to take care of him or her. If you like outdoor activities and want to adopt a child who is 8 or 9 years old, the child you choose should also be interested in outdoor activities. Likewise, if you are the type to stay home and hold get-togethers at home, you won’t want to choose a child who is very active and likes outdoor activities or sports.
Contact Willems Law
Going through the adoption process is not something that should be taken lightly. The process could be difficult, especially if you are adopting a not-yet-born baby or if you are adopting someone from out of the country. Contact Willems Law if you are considering adopting a child to discuss your preferences and the process for your preferences.