Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Iowa

Date:

Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.3; 600.15; 600.5; 600.10; 600.12; 600.13

A consent to adopt recognized by the courts of another jurisdiction in the United States and obtained from a resident of that jurisdiction shall be accepted in this State in lieu of a termination of parental rights proceeding.

For an adoption within the United States that is based on a decree issued by a foreign jurisdiction, an investigator shall conduct a postplacement investigation and issue a postplacement report, as provided in §600.8.

An adoption petition shall be filed with the court and shall state the following:

  • The name, as it appears on the birth certificate or in a verified birth record, and the residence or domicile of the person to be adopted
  • The date and place of birth of the person to be adopted
  • Any new name requested to be given the person to be adopted
  • The name, residence, and domicile of any guardian or custodian of the person to be adopted
  • The name, residence, and domicile of the petitioner, if this is not the same as the guardian or custodian, and the date or expected date on which the person to be adopted, if a minor, began or will begin living with the petitioner
  • The name, residence, and domicile of any parent of the person to be adopted
  • Any name by which the petitioner is known or has been known
  • The existence of any criminal conviction or deferred judgment for an offense other than a simple misdemeanor under a law of any State against the petitioner and the existence of any founded child abuse report in which the petitioner is named
  • A description and estimate of the value of any property owned by or held for the person to be adopted

The adoption of a minor person shall not be decreed until that person has lived with the adoption petitioner for a minimum of 180 days. However, the court may shorten this period upon good cause shown when the court is satisfied that the adoption petitioner and the person to be adopted are suited to each other.

An adoption hearing shall be conducted informally as a hearing in equity. The adoption petitioner and the person to be adopted shall be present at the hearing, unless the presence of either is excused by the juvenile court or court.

At the conclusion of the adoption hearing, the court shall issue a final adoption decree or an interlocutory adoption decree. An interlocutory adoption decree automatically becomes a final adoption decree at a date specified by the court in the interlocutory adoption decree, which date shall be no less than 180 days nor more than 360 days from the date the interlocutory decree is issued.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.6

An adoption petition shall have attached to it the following:

  • A certified copy of the birth certificate showing parentage of the person to be adopted or, if such certificate is not available, a verified birth record
  • A copy of any order terminating parental rights with respect to the person to be adopted
  • Any written consent and verified statement required under § 600.7
  • Any preplacement investigation report that has been prepared at the time of filing pursuant to § 600.8

Background Studies

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.8

A preplacement investigation shall answer the following:

  • Whether the home of the prospective adoption petitioner is a suitable one for the placement of a minor person to be adopted
  • How the prospective adoption petitioner's emotional maturity, finances, health, relationships, and any other relevant factors may affect the petitioner's ability to accept, care, and provide a minor person to be adopted with an adequate environment as that person matures
  • Whether the prospective adoption petitioner has been convicted of a crime under a law of any State or has a record of founded child abuse, as revealed by an examination of all of the following:
    • Criminal, child abuse, and sex offender registries maintained by the State
    • Child abuse registries maintained by any other State in which the prospective adoption petitioner has resided during the previous 5 years
    • National biometric identification-based criminal records

For the purposes of international adoption preplacement investigations, the national biometric identification-based criminal records check results obtained pursuant to the standards of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shall satisfy the requirement of this section.

A background information investigation of the medical and social history of the birth parents of the minor person to be adopted and a report of the investigation shall be made by the adoption service provider, the department, or a certified adoption investigator prior to the placement of the minor person to be adopted with any prospective adoption petitioner.

A preplacement investigation and report of the investigation shall be completed and the prospective adoption petitioner approved for a placement by the person making the investigation prior to any adoption service provider or department placement of a minor person in the petitioner's home in anticipation of an ensuing adoption.

The person making the investigation shall not approve a prospective adoption petitioner if the petitioner has been convicted of any of the following felony offenses:

  • A drug-related offense within the 5-year period preceding the petition date
  • Child endangerment or neglect or abandonment of a dependent person
  • Domestic abuse
  • A crime against a child, including, but not limited to, sexual exploitation of a minor
  • A forcible felony

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.15; 600.13; 600.8

For an adoption based on a decree issued by a jurisdiction outside the United States, an investigator shall conduct a postplacement investigation that consists of a minimum of three face-to-face visits with the minor person and the adoptive parents during the first year after the placement, with the first such visit to be conducted within 60 days of the placement of the minor person in the adoptive home. Additional visits shall be conducted if required by the jurisdiction that issued the decree.

The postplacement investigation and report under this section shall include documentation that any unique needs of the minor person are being appropriately met through the placement.

In the interlocutory adoption decree, the court may provide for further observation, investigation, and report of the conditions of and the relationships between the adoption petitioner and the person petitioned to be adopted.

A postplacement investigation and a report of this investigation shall include the following:

  • No fewer than three face-to-face visits with the minor person to be adopted and the adoption petitioner to be conducted within 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days following the placement and during completion of the minimum residence period specified in § 600.10
  • Verification of the allegations of the adoption petition and its attachments and of the report of expenditures required under § 600.9
  • An evaluation of the progress of the placement of the minor person to be adopted
  • A determination of whether adoption by the adoption petitioner may be in the best interests of the minor person to be adopted
  • Documentation verifying that any unique needs of the minor person to be adopted are being appropriately met in the placement before the investigator recommends finalization of the adoption

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 600.13

A final adoption decree terminates any parental rights, except those of a spouse of the adoption petitioner, existing at the time of its issuance and establishes the parent-child relationship between the adoption petitioner and the person petitioned to be adopted. Unless otherwise specified by law, such parent-child relationship shall be deemed to have been created at the birth of the child.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 600.13; 144.19; 144.25A; Admin. Code § 641-96.11

An interlocutory or a final adoption decree shall be entered with the clerk of court. The decree shall set forth any facts of the adoption petition that have been proven to the satisfaction of the juvenile court or court and any other facts considered to be relevant by the juvenile court or court and shall grant the adoption petition. If so designated in the adoption decree, the name of the adopted person shall be changed by issuance of that decree.

For each adoption decreed by any court in this State, the court shall require the preparation of a certificate of adoption on a form prescribed and furnished by the State registrar. The certificate shall include a report of the facts necessary to locate and identify the certificate of birth of the person adopted, provide information necessary to establish a new certificate of birth of the person adopted, identify the order of adoption, and be certified by the clerk of the court.

The Department of Health shall adopt rules to establish a procedure for the issuance of a certificate of birth for children adopted pursuant to § 600.15.

In regulation: A certificate of foreign birth shall be established by the State registrar for a child born in a foreign nation upon the State registrar's receipt of a completed Certificate of Adoption Report form from an Iowa court of competent jurisdiction or upon request of the resident adoptive parent or parents and the State registrar's receipt of all the following documents:

  • A certified copy of an adoption decree from an Iowa court of competent jurisdiction
  • If the decree does not contain information to establish the certificate of foreign birth, the adoptee's authenticated birth certificate in both the foreign language and the English translation
  • Evidence of the adoptee's permanent residence, such as a passport or citizenship papers
  • A certified copy of the certificate of live birth of each adoptive parent
  • A notarized statement that is on letterhead from the licensed adoption agency or certified adoption investigator that establishes the parent or parents were residents of Iowa at the time the adoption was finalized (not required if the parents' Iowa address is shown in the adoption documents)

The certificate of foreign birth shall not constitute U.S. citizenship.