House File 137 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to adoption, including access to adoption
2records for adult adoptees.
3BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
1   Section 1.  Section 600.4, subsection 2, Code 2019, is
2amended to read as follows:
   32.  Husband and wife Spouses together.
4   Sec. 2.  Section 600.4, subsection 3, Code 2019, is amended
5to read as follows:
   63.  A husband or wife spouse separately if the person to
7be adopted is not the other spouse and if the adopting spouse
 8meets any of the following conditions:
   9a.  Is the stepparent of the person to be adopted;.
   10b.  Has been separated from the other spouse by reason of the
11other spouse’s abandonment as prescribed in section 597.10; or.
   12c.  Is unable to petition with the other spouse because
13of the prolonged and unexplained absence, unavailability, or
14incapacity of the other spouse, or because of an unreasonable
15withholding of joinder by the other spouse, as determined by
16the juvenile court or court under section 600.5, subsection 7.
17   Sec. 3.  Section 600.16, subsection 1, paragraph b, Code
182019, is amended to read as follows:
   19b.  The adopted person, provided that person is an adult at
20the time the request for information is made. For the purposes
21of this paragraph “adult” means a person twenty-one years of age
22or older or a person who attains majority by marriage.

23   Sec. 4.  Section 600.16, subsection 2, Code 2019, is amended
24to read as follows:
   252.  Information regarding an adopted person’s existing
26medical and developmental history and family medical history,
27which meets the definition of background information in section
28600.8, subsection 1, paragraph “c”, shall be made available as
29provided in subsection 1. However, the identity of the adopted
30person’s biological parents shall not be disclosed to anyone
31other than the adopted person, provided the adopted person is
32an adult at the time the request for information is made
.
33   Sec. 5.  Section 600.16A, subsections 2, 3, and 4, Code 2019,
34are amended to read as follows:
   352.  All papers and records pertaining to a termination of
-1-1parental rights under chapter 600A and to an adoption shall
2not be open to inspection and the identity of the biological
3parents of an adopted person shall not be revealed except under
4any of the following circumstances:
   5a.  The department or an adoption service provider involved
6in placement shall contact the adopting parents or the adult
7adopted child regarding eligibility of the adopted child for
8benefits based on entitlement of benefits or inheritance from
9the terminated biological parents.
   10b.  The juvenile court or court, for good cause, shall order
11the opening of the permanent adoption record of the juvenile
12court or court for the adopted person who is an adult and
13reveal the names of either or both of the biological parents
14following consideration of both of the following:
   15(1)  A biological parent may file an affidavit requesting
16that the juvenile court or court reveal or not reveal the
17parent’s identity. The juvenile court or court shall consider
18any such affidavit in determining whether there is good cause
19to order opening of the records. To facilitate the biological
20parents in filing an affidavit, the department shall, upon
21request of a biological parent, provide the biological parent
22with an adoption information packet containing an affidavit for
23completion and filing with the juvenile court or court
 upon the
24filing of an affidavit by the adopted person who is an adult
25requesting that the record be opened
.
   26(2)  If the adopted person who applies for revelation of the
27biological parents’ identity has a sibling who is a minor and
28who has been adopted by the same parents, the juvenile court or
29court may deny the application on the grounds that revelation
30to the applicant may also indirectly and harmfully permit the
31same revelation to the applicant’s minor sibling.
   32c.  A biological sibling of an adopted person may file or may
33request that the department file an affidavit in the juvenile
34court or court in which the adopted person’s adoption records
35have been sealed requesting that the juvenile court or court
-2-1reveal or not reveal the sibling’s name to the adopted person.
2The juvenile court or court shall consider any such affidavit
3in determining whether there is good cause to order opening
4of the records upon application for revelation by the adopted
5person. However, the name of the biological sibling shall not
6be revealed until the biological sibling has attained majority.
   7d.  The juvenile court or court may, upon competent medical
8evidence, open termination or adoption records if opening
9is shown to be necessary to save the life of or prevent
10irreparable physical or mental harm to an adopted person or
11the person’s offspring. The juvenile court or court shall
12make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the
13biological parents from becoming revealed under this paragraph
14to the minor adopted person. The juvenile court or court may,
15however, permit revelation of the identity of the biological
16parents to medical personnel attending the adopted person
17or the person’s offspring. These medical personnel shall
18make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity of the
19biological parents from becoming revealed to the minor adopted
20person.
   213.  a.  In addition to other procedures by which adoption
22records may be opened under this section, if both of the
23following conditions are met, the department, the clerk of
24court, or the adoption service provider that made the placement
25shall open the adoption record for inspection and shall reveal
26the identity of the biological parents to the adult adopted
27child or the identity of the adult adopted child to the
28biological parents:
   29(1)  A biological parent has placed in the adoption record
30written consent to revelation of the biological parent’s
31identity to the adopted child at an age specified by the
32biological parent, upon request of the adopted child.
   33(2)  An adult adopted child has placed in the adoption record
34written consent to revelation of the identity of the adult
35adopted child to a biological parent.
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   1b.  A person who has placed in the adoption record written
2consent pursuant to paragraph “a”, subparagraph (1) or (2)
3may withdraw the consent at any time by placing a written
4withdrawal of consent statement in the adoption record.
   5c.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if
6the adult adopted person has a sibling who is a minor and who
7has also been adopted by the same parents, the department,
8the clerk of court, or the adoption service provider that
9made the placement may deny the request of either the adult
10adopted person or the biological parent to open the adoption
11records and to reveal the identities of the parties pending
12determination by the juvenile court or court that there is good
13cause to open the records pursuant to subsection 2.
   14d.  Nothing in this subsection shall be interpreted to
15preclude the opening of an adoption record upon the filing of
16an affidavit by an adopted person who is an adult as provided
17in subsection 2, paragraph “b”.
   184.  An adopted person whose adoption became final prior to
19July 4, 1941, and whose adoption record was not required to
20be sealed at the time when the adoption record was completed,
21shall not be required to show good cause for file an affidavit
22to request
an order opening the adoption record under this
23subsection, provided that the juvenile court or court shall
24consider any affidavit filed under this subsection
 section.
25EXPLANATION
26The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
27the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   28This bill relates to adoption.
   29The bill replaces references to “husband” and “wife” with
30“spouse” in provisions relating to qualifications to file an
31adoption petition.
   32Under Code chapter 600 (adoption), “adult” is defined as
33a person who is married or 18 years of age or older. Under
34current law, however, Code section 600.16 provides that for
35the purposes of making available medical and developmental
-4-1history information that was collected during the preplacement
2investigation for an adoption, “adult” is defined as a person
321 years of age or older or a person who attains majority by
4marriage. The bill eliminates this definition of “adult”,
5thereby defining adult as a person who is married or 18 years
6of age or older consistently throughout the chapter.
   7The bill also provides additional means of allowing a
8permanent adoption record to be open to an adopted person who
9is an adult.
   10Current law provides that the court shall, for good cause,
11order the opening of the permanent adoption record for an
12adopted person who is an adult and reveal the names of either
13or both of the biological parents following consideration of
14the affidavit of a biological parent requesting that the court
15reveal or not reveal the parent’s identity and consideration of
16the fact that the adopted person who files the application has
17a sibling who is a minor and who has been adopted by the same
18parents. Under the bill, the court would no longer require
19good cause based upon these considerations, but instead, upon
20the filing of an affidavit by the adopted person who is an
21adult, the court would open the permanent adoption records
22for the adopted person. The bill also amends the provisions
23relating to the court opening termination or adoption records
24if the opening is shown to be necessary to save the life of
25or prevent irreparable physical or mental harm to an adopted
26person or the person’s offspring. Current law requires the
27court to make every reasonable effort to prevent the identity
28of the biological parents from becoming revealed to the adopted
29person when such opening of the record is allowed. The bill
30would only require the court to make every reasonable effort to
31prevent the identity of the biological parents from becoming
32revealed to the adopted person when the adopted person is a
33minor, but not when the adopted person is an adult.
   34Current law also includes a mutual consent provision under
35which a permanent adoption record may be opened and reveal
-5-1the names of either or both of the biological parents if
2a biological parent places in the adoption record written
3consent to revelation of the biological parent’s identity
4to the adopted child at an age specified by the biological
5parent upon request of the adopted child, and the adult
6adopted child in turn has placed in the adoption record
7written consent to revelation of the identity of the adult
8adopted child to a biological parent. The bill retains the
9mutual consent opportunity but provides that the requirements
10of the mutual consent process to request the opening of the
11permanent adoption records shall not preclude the opening of
12the permanent adoption record if requested by an adopted person
13who is an adult.
   14Under current law, an adopted person whose adoption became
15final prior to July 4, 1941, and whose adoption record was
16not required to be sealed at the time when the adoption
17record was completed, is not required to show good cause for
18an order opening the adoption record. The bill amends this
19provision to be consistent with the provisions of the bill so
20that the requirement for showing good cause is stricken, and
21additionally the person is not required as other adults under
22the bill to file an affidavit to request an order to open the
23adoption record.
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