Thank you for your interest in adoption and becoming a forever family for a child!
You probably have lots of questions! Let’s start with what kinds of adoption exist.
Types of adoption
There are three basic types of adoption—international adoption (adopting from another country), private domestic adoption (usually adopting an infant through a private agency in the U.S.) and foster care adoption (adopting a child from the foster care system in the U.S.)
If you would like to adopt an infant or a young child with no older siblings, foster care adoption may not be the best path for you. A good place to explore private adoption would be through the Iowa Association of Adoption Agencies. Children adopted from foster care are often older or part of a sibling group.
Foster care adoption
The goal for many children in foster care is to safely reunite with their birth families. This is not always possible, and through a series of legal hearings, a judge may terminate the parents’ legal rights to their child. If both parents have parental rights terminated, then the child becomes legally available for adoption. As mentioned, many children waiting to be adopted from foster care are older, part of a sibling group, have behaviors or special needs. And they’re amazing kids!
By adopting from foster care, you not only make a difference for a child who may have experienced abuse or neglect, but you can impact a whole family. Children in foster care often thrive when they are able to maintain relationships with biological family members. Foster care adoption typically has less upfront cost than private or international adoption. (However, adopting from foster care does require a great time commitment.) You’ll also have support available to you when you adopt from foster care.
You should be aware that approximately 70% of children in foster care are reunited with birth parents or adopted by relatives.
Start the Process
To adopt a child from foster care in Iowa, you must be a licensed foster or approved adoptive family. You can choose between becoming licensed for foster care; licensed for foster care and approved for adoption; or approved for adoption only. See the licensing process here. (It’s the same process for all three options)