Iowa Adoption Laws and Policies

Who Can Adopt in Iowa?

A single or married couple jointly. A married individual without his or her spouse if the adopting spouse is the stepparent, separated from his or her spouse, or unable to consent to the adoption by reason of a prolonged or unexplained absence, incapacity, or circumstances constituting an unreasonable unwillingness to consent.

Domestic Adoption Laws in Iowa

Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? Yes.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? Not addressed in state statutes.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? Pregnancy-related medical care, living expenses for the mother in an amount not to exceed the cost of room and board and transportation for medical purposes, and counseling. Living expenses, no longer than 30 days after birth. Counseling expenses, no longer than 60 days after birth.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? The Release of Custody can’t be signed less than 72 hours after birth.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? After signing, the birth parent has 96 hours to change his/her mind for any reason. If the birth parent wishes to object after the 96 hour period, he/she must appear at the final termination hearing and prove that signing was under duress, misrepresentation and/or fraud. If the consent is revoked within the 96 hour period, return automatic. If the birth parent objects after the 96 hour deadline, child could remain with the guardian/custodian until the Court determines whether parental rights are terminated.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Not addressed in state statutes.

International Adoption Laws in Iowa

Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, if the decree is by a court following due process of law.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Not addressed in state statutes.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? Determined by the Dept. of Public Health.

Adoption from Foster Care in Iowa

Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child as defined by one of the following: 8 years or older if white, 2 years or older if of minority race, ethnic group, or multiracial parentage, member of a sibling group of 3 or more, medical needs that require special treatment, professional diagnosis or at risk of an impairing psychiatric, behavioral, or emotional condition. Child must be in the custody of the state of Iowa or a Iowa-licensed child-placing agency. Starts upon placement or finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Iowa?

Iowa Adoption Unit

Program Manager: Tracey Parker

Iowa Department of Human Services
1305 East Walnut Street
Hoover State Office Building, 5th Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0114
Phone: (515) 281-8799
Fax: (515) 281-6248

DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.