Termination of Parental Rights
In Iowa, the adoption process under the law is actually a two-step process. It begins with the ‘termination of parental rights’ of the biological parents and ends with ‘finalization’ of the adoption by the adoptive parents. Here is how termination works:
- Termination of parental rights is a completely voluntary and private legal process, based on the adoption plan made by the expectant or birth parents. Iowa law requires that the rights of both birth parents be terminated before the adoption can occur later on. In Iowa, it is against the law to intentionally misidentify the other biological parent. Obtaining medical and social history information from each biological parent is also required whenever possible. This information is vital to the child later on.
- After the child is born, Iowa has a short waiting period before birth parents can sign a voluntary release of their parental rights. Once the release is signed, the law allows limited periods of time after the process is started in which birth parents can change their minds.
- In Iowa, birth parents who have completed all the necessary legal documents never have to appear in court to terminate their rights. The court records of the termination are confidential and sealed after the termination hearing. Adoption Connection records are also confidential and no identifying information can be shared outside the agency without consent.
- At Adoption Connection, we believe it is very important for expectant and birth parents to understand the entire termination process from beginning to end. We walk with them every step of the way. We also provide post-placement support for birth parents after the termination is completed, for as long as they need us.
Out of state placement: The law of the state where the child is born governs the termination of parental rights process. Laws of other states vary greatly. If an expectant or birth parent resides outside of Iowa or a child is placed into another state, Adoption Connection works with a licensed adoption agency or adoption attorney in that state to complete the processes required there. Interstate placements are also governed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (known as the ICPC.) The approvals of both states are required before the child can cross state lines with the adoptive parents. We make sure that all these “i’s” are dotted and “t’s” are crossed so that the adoption moves forward as planned!
If you are considering adoption, it’s important to understand and make sure the correct legal steps for termination of parental rights are taken so the adoption can actually occur. At Adoption Connection, we strive to make this process as uncomplicated, understandable and as comfortable as possible! We want to ensure that every adoption plan is carried out according to our birthparents’ wishes in doing what is best for their child.