Imagine the heartbreak of an Iowa family longing for children, when they spend their time, energy and hard-earned money to adopt, only to find out there is no baby.
Adoption fraud is a growing problem in Iowa. A woman may claim to be pregnant and planning to put her child up for adoption. A family will make up-front payments for adoption-related expenses—sometimes many thousands of dollars—only to learn they’ve been scammed because there never was a pregnancy.
These experiences are emotionally and financially devastating for families, but there is little they can do under current law. In addition, certain adoption providers—entities that are unlicensed and unsupervised—provide minimal services to families but charge them exorbitant prices for “arranging” an adoption.
Senate File 433 closes loopholes in Iowa law for deceitful and damaging adoption practices that harm Iowa’s families and children by:
- Toughening the penalties for scamming prospective adoptive parents.
- Limiting adoption services to state licensed adoption agencies and lawyers, which are strictly regulated.
- Capping the allowable expenses payable to expectant parents making an adoption plan.
- Requiring that expenses paid to expectant parents be documented and reported to the court during termination of parental rights proceedings.
This bill has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now eligible for debate on the Senate floor.