Adoption is the transfer of all parental rights from the biological parents of a child to one or two adoptive parents. Ideally, adoption is a blessing to both the child and the adoptive parents. Although many adoptions are mediated by licensed adoption agencies, private placements are also common. Step-parent adoptions are quite common, and I quite often handle these types of adoptions. Adoptions are “closed” adoptions, in which the adoptive parents and the biological parents are unaware of each other’s identities. The government may provide subsidies to encourage people to adopt children.
Adoption is a legal process and there are many legal issues that may be involved, depending on the circumstances, including:
- Termination of parental rights (TPR)
- Filing notice on the Iowa Paternity Registry
- The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (for interstate adoptions)
Who May Adopt?
In recent years, restrictions on adoptive parents have been liberalized. If you are single, an unmarried couple or an LGBT couple, you are no longer ineligible to adopt. Preferably, however, an adoptive parent should have no criminal record, good health, and stable long-term finances. If you have a problem in one of these areas, however, an Iowa adoption attorney may be able to help.
My name is Jonathan D. Schmidt, and I am an experienced Iowa adoption attorney. I can assist you with adoption proceedings regardless of whether you are a prospective adoptive parent, a biological parent seeking to terminate parental rights or are seeking an attorney to represent the child in TPR proceedings (as required by law).
One of My Satisfied Clients
“Jonathan was approachable and listened to my concerns and fears. He always gave me all the options of ways I could proceed along with possible outcomes whether they were in my favor or not just so I could make the best decision going forward in my case. I appreciated that honesty. I still call on Jonathan to get his opinion on certain situations and value his knowledge. I am beyond pleased with the outcome of my case! Thank you, Jonathan!”
Some of My Practice Areas
I practice in many other sub-specialties of family law, including:
- Parental rights
- Visitation rights
- Child support
- Domestic violence
- Prenuptial agreements
- Property division
- Spousal support (alimony)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between fostering and adopting?
As a foster parent, you will provide temporary care to a child with the anticipation that the child will someday be reunited with his parents. In an adoption, the parental rights of one or both parents are terminated and you become the child’s permanent parents. Some foster parents later become adoptive parents when the child’s birth parents lose their parental rights.
Can I adopt from overseas?
Yes, although I do not handle international adoptions. If the child is from a Hague Convention country and enters the U.S. on an IH-3 visa, he can receive automatic U.S. citizenship. If the child is not from a Hague Convention country:
- He must qualify as an orphan;
- He must receive an IR-3 visa; and
The adopted child will receive automatic U.S. citizenship upon entry to the U.S.
What are some of the requirements of an Iowa adoption?
The adoption process is inherently subjective. Nevertheless, some of the most clear-cut requirements are:
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- Your marital status is not necessarily relevant – single people can adopt, for example. In the case of a stepparent adoption, only one parent’s rights are terminated, and such termination will only be granted by a court if you are married.
- You must pass a home safety inspection.
- Your adoptive child must live with you for at least six months before the adoption is finalized.
The Most Important Decision in Your Case
The most important decision you make in your entire case might be who you choose as your lawyer. Of course, self-promotion is relatively easy. What’s not so easy, however, is to win the respect of your peers in the legal profession, even among your competitors. I have managed to do just that:
- In 2017 I was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers, an honor awarded to only 2.5 percent of all lawyers.
- I am rated “Distinguished” in both 2016 and 2017 by Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s top lawyer directory.
- I have been rated 10/10 (“Superb”) in both 2016 and 2017 by the prominent Avvo legal rating service.
Time Matters – Act Today
It is common for a new lawyer to hang up a shingle and offer to practice in just about any area of law, or for a lawyer to take cases in areas where he has no particular expertise or experience. This sobering reality calls for caution, because who you choose to represent you can make all the difference in the results. Fortunately, my peers in the legal profession have already spoken on my behalf:
- I am rated “Distinguished” by Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s top lawyer directory.
- I am rated “Superb” by the Avvo legal rating service.
- I was only one in 40 Iowa lawyers to be named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyer.
If you live in the Cedar Rapids area, or if you are seeking to adopt or terminate parental rights here, contact me online or call my office at (319) 774-6078, so that we can schedule a free initial consultation.