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Many elements of the adoption process can seem intimidating. As an expectant mother experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you are already likely feeling an overwhelming rush of emotions — both positive and negative.

Of all the things expectant mothers wonder about, there is one question about adoption that almost everyone asks:

When you give a baby up for adoption, do you have to go to court?

There are plenty of reasons why, as an expectant mother considering adoption, you wouldn’t want to go to court. It can be a scary prospect. It can feel like an invasion of privacy, which is especially unwelcome during this difficult time. If you’re wondering if you have to go to court when you place a baby for adoption, we have good news for you.

In nearly every case, you do not have to appear before a court when you are placing a baby for adoption.

To unpack this a little bit, it’s helpful to understand the Iowa adoption laws that impact you as an expectant mother, and how those laws do not require you to go to court when placing a child for adoption. Throughout the whole adoption process, Ken Nelson and the team at the Nelson Law Firm will be there to support you. He’ll answer any legal questions that come up, and he’ll make sure all steps are complete correctly. You can call Ken at 319-291-6161 to learn more.

Consent to Adoption in Iowa

It’s a common misunderstanding to assume that consent for the adoption is given before a court. But that’s not the case.

Consent for adoption is not given by a prospective birth mother until very near the end of a process. If you are considering adoption in Iowa, you don’t go to court or sign any documents at the beginning of the process that legally bind you to your decision. This is intentional on the part of Iowa’s adoption law. As an expectant mother, you always have the right to change your mind during pregnancy before you consent to adoption.

Once the time comes to give birth, you will follow your hospital plan. After your baby is born, you are still required to wait 72 hours before giving your consent to the adoption. You’ll be offered legal and emotional counseling services and other maternity care during this waiting period. These several days in between delivery and consent to adoption are also meant to give you the time to mentally and emotionally recover from childbirth. Depending on how you set the guidelines for your hospital plan, this is time you can spend with your baby before placement. You do still have full parental rights at this time, and many mothers who choose adoption cherish these moments.

Once the 72 hours is passed and you are ready to give consent, you will sign a written statement before two witnesses, typically the attorney and his or her assistant. You will need to acknowledge that counseling has been offered to you, and your consent will need to be acknowledged by two witnesses who are familiar with you. Ken will help you through giving consent and make sure it is done correctly. All of your rights will be explained to you, so you can sure you’ll understand exactly what is happening.

This whole process can take place at the hospital. When you give a baby up for adoption in Iowa, you don’t have to go to court to give consent.

After you’ve given consent for adoption, your attorney will file a petition for termination of parental rights, according to Iowa law.

If all of this sounds a little confusing or complex, don’t get too worried. It’s not the responsibility of the expectant mother to handle all the legal intricacies of adoption. That’s what a good adoption attorney is for. The Nelson Law Firm has helped many mothers complete a successful consent to adoption and termination of parental rights, and we can help you, too.

So, What is Adoption Finalization?

You may still be wondering about “adoption finalization,” a phrase you’ve likely encountered in your research about adoption. Adoption finalization is a legal step required of the adoptive family — not the birth mother.

After you have given your consent to the adoption, the child will be placed with the adoptive family. Over the next several months, a series of post-placement visits will be conducted by a social worker to make sure everyone is adjusting well to the adoption and the child is being appropriately cared for. After these visits, the adoptive family will go before a judge to receive a final decree of adoption.

You do not have to attend this adoption finalization hearing. Your involvement in the legal adoption process will end once you give your adoption consent.

Who Can Help Me With All This Legal Work for My Adoption?

Now that you have a better understanding of adoption consent and the reasons you don’t have to go to court when you place a baby for adoption, you may be wondering who can help you with all this. It’s a lot of information. With everything else you have going on, and all the important decisions you’ll have to make, you don’t need to spend time and energy trying to understand the specifics of Iowa adoption law.

The team at the Nelson Law Firm can guide you through the adoption process from start to finish, filing paperwork and providing all the other necessary legal services to complete a successful adoption. To get started, you can contact attorney Ken Nelson for free adoption information today. Ken and the rest of the team at the Nelson Law Firm will never pressure you into choosing adoption but are always happy to help you understand all of your legal options and guide you through your adoption process, should you choose this path.

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