The Home Study. All potential adoptive families must by law be evaluated before they can receive a child – this is called “The Home Study.” No child can legally be placed with any family for adoption without a completed Home Study Report. The background investigation includes child abuse and criminal history record checks, national (fingerprint) record checks, and checks of records in other states or nations you have lived in during the last five years. The law requires recommendation letters, a financial review, proof of acceptable physical health, and an examination of your residence. In Iowa, either single or married persons may adopt. People who already have children may also adopt. Iowa law sets no restrictions on age.
Post-Placement Reports. After a family receives a child, there is a Post-Placement period. Families are supervised for (in Iowa) a minimum period of six months involving three visits by a certified adoption professional before the adoption can be finalized. This post-placement time, and the number of post-placement visits required, can vary from state to state – and from nation to nation if you are adopting internationally. All this is done to assure that the child and their new family adjust to each other and bond in mutual love.
Continuing Contact With Birth Parents. An agreement is often reached as to any on-going exchange of photos or other information. Adoptions may be “closed” or “open” depending on the mutual wishes of the birth and adopting parents.
Allowed Expenses of the birth parent. Any expenses paid to birth parents by the adoptive parents must be reported to the court at the time of the final adoption proceeding. Laws all around the nation and the world restrict what birthparent expenses can be paid during an adoption process. Laws allow medical and legal expenses, some transportation costs, adoption-related counseling and in some cases limited living expenses.
Interstate Compact. If a child is placed for adoption across state lines, the rules of the state where the child is born control the termination process. The states have joined in a legal system called the Interstate Compact on Children that handles legal documentation regarding interstate adoption.
International Adoption is increasing in recent years. We have provided home study and post-placement services for over fifty international adoptions from over twenty nations, using many international agencies. (See our “Links” for a list of these agencies). Our agency works with the international agencies that have offices in the various countries children may be adopted from. Our home studies are designed to meet the requirements of these agencies, the nations they work in, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), and the Hague International Adoptions Treaty. You are urged to explore the USCIS and the Hague Treaty sites on line.