Questions and Answers About Adoption


What do I need to do to put my baby up for adoption?
The mother will need to use an adoption agency or attorney in order to give the child up for adoption. The agency or attorney will try to contact the father before putting the child up for adoption.

If the mother of the baby chooses adoption, can the father stop her?
The father of the child has rights. Before the child is put up for adoption, there will be a court hearing about whether to terminate the parents' rights. The agency or attorney involved must notify the father of the hearing. The father can attend a court hearing. The father can tell the court that he does not want the child to be put up for adoption.

How can a father let the agencies know where he is?
Fathers can register their name and information with the Iowa Declaration of Paternity Registry. The agency or attorney involved in adoptions will check the registry and contact the father.

To place your name on the the Registry, contact:

Vital Records Bureau
Iowa Department of Health and Human Services
Lucas Building
321 East 12th
Des Moines, IA, 50319-0075

If the baby is adopted and my situation improves, can I ask for custody?
This depends on when you gave the baby up for adoption. You cannot give up the child until 72 hours after the child is born. After you sign the papers, you have 96 hours to change your mind. If you do not tell the agency during those four days, you may not get the child back.

After I give my baby up for adoption, can I have visitation?
Possibly, if you work this out before the adoption.

There are three types of relationships you can have with the adopting family: closed, open, and semi-open.

  1. The closed relationship involves no communication between you and the adopting family.
  2. The open relationship allows more contact and may even allow face to face interaction.
  3. A semi-open adoption is a relationship where you contact the child and adopting family through an agency or other third party. You will basically send letters and other forms of communication to the agency and they will send them to the family.

You and the adopting family can agree to the level of contact you have with the child, including visitation rights.

If you are working with an agency, please discuss your needs with them. They will try to pair you with a family who will work with you.

Do I have to pay child support if I give my baby up for adoption?
No, the adoption process terminates your parental rights to the child. This means you will not have any financial responsibility for the child.

What information about myself do I have to give the adoptive parents of my baby?
This will depend on the type of agency you work with. Typically, an agency will request your medical history information. They may also request the medical history of your immediate family. They may also request other information about your social life and hobbies.

I was adopted, can I find out who my birth parents are?
At age 18, you can go to court and request the judge to open your adoption record. If the court accepts your request, you can discover who your birth parents are if that information is contained in the records.

For more information, please contact:

Bureau of Vital Records
Adoption Registry Program
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
(515) 281-4174

I was adopted, but can I inherit money from my birth parents when they die?
If the birth parents have your name and contact information, they can name you as an heir in their will and you can receive any money or property that they designate to you.

However, if the birth parents die with no will, you will not be able to receive any inheritance.

Last Review and Update: Sep 18, 2023
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