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Illinois adoption lawyersAdoption can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for all involved, but it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. By going through this legal process, you are taking on all of the financial, medical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child. The following are five things you need to know and consider before embarking on your adoption journey.

1. You Need Stability, Not Perfection

Families considering adoption often allow themselves to become overwhelmed with all the tasks and changes involved. They may also become nervous about their shortcomings during the interview or home study process. Rest assured that you do not need to be perfect to complete an adoption. You are not required to have a “traditional” household. All you really need is to prove that you can provide a stable, loving environment for a child and that you will do everything possible to ensure the child’s needs are met.

2. Adoption is a Life-Long Journey

While the legal adoption process only lasts for a short time, adoption itself is a life-long journey. For the rest of your life, you will be a parent. You and your child may also face serious challenges, such as questions about a birth parent or feelings of sadness when you tell them about the adoption. It is often beneficial when adoptive parents consider the journey and how they may face the challenges, prior to completing the process.

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DuPage County adoption attorneysAdoption can be a rewarding way to grow your family. Unfortunately, there are many would-be parents who worry that they are not “good enough” to adopt. Perhaps they struggle to balance their work and home life, or maybe they do not have the best upbringing. Rest assured that these issues may be less relevant than you think when trying to adopt. Learn more about what adoption agencies are looking for in an adoptive parent, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can help you skillfully navigate the emotionally trying and legally complex process. 

Adoption Agencies Want Loving and Committed Parents

Raising a child is hard work that takes a lot of love and dedication. Adoption agencies understand this, which is why they are less focused on perfection and more concerned with finding loving and committed parents. If you are willing to go the distance for your child, be it financially or by simply ensuring that they have a happy, stable childhood, then adoption may very well be the right path for growing your family. 

Adoption Agencies Want Children to Live in a Safe Environment 

Safety is a critical element in a child’s home - for both obvious and not so obvious reasons. Little kids move quickly, and they are often unable to recognize just how dangerous a situation or object can be. That is why they need attentive, loving parents to watch over them. If you can offer this, then you may be exactly the kinds of parent that the agencies are hoping will apply.

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Wheaton adoption lawyersAdoption can be one of the most rewarding paths to parenting - but there are some challenges involved. In particular, international adoptions (also known as intercountry adoptions) can be difficult and costly to complete. These issues, paired with increasingly strict regulations and even bans on international adoptions have caused a significant decline in the rate of successful intercountry adoptions in the United States. 

Thankfully, prospective parents can ease the process by ensuring they are informed about their steps and numerous obstacles. Aid from a seasoned adoption lawyer can also make the process more seamless. If you are considering international adoption, the following information can help you prepare for the upcoming challenges and discover how to mitigate against some of them.

Newborn Adoptions Are a Rare Occurrence

While there are prospective parents who prefer older children, most are hoping to adopt an infant. Unfortunately, babies can be extremely difficult to come by. Many international countries have laws that restrict the age at which a child may be adopted. The complexity of the process, which can take a great deal of time to navigate, may also hinder a party’s ability to adopt a child during infancy. So, if your heart is absolutely set on a newborn, you may want to consider other adoption options that may be more suitable for you (i.e. private domestic adoption). 

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Wheaton adoption lawyersAdoption can be a rewarding way to grow one’s family - and in some situations, the only option. With a surplus of children awaiting safe and loving homes, one would think that adoption agencies would want to provide their services to every prospective parent, regardless of their gender, marital status, sexual orientation, or religion. 

Sadly, this is not always the case. 

Discrimination against marginalized persons in adoption is still a major issue in some states, and it does not appear to be changing any time soon. In fact, the White House recently voiced their support for faith-based organizations, stating that their denial of certain families falls under their protected right to exercise and practice their faith. They also granted an exemption for a faith-based adoption agency in South Carolina, which recently came under fire after it was revealed that they only place children in “Christian” households. 

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DuPage County stepparent adoption lawyersAdoption is usually thought of as the process in which a single- or two-parent household brings a new child into their home, but not all adoptions happen this way. In fact, some adoptions involve a child that is already known and loved by the adopting parent.

One such example is the stepparent adoption.

In such cases, the stepparent is usually already a part of the family unit, and the biological parent in question may be out of the picture, no longer interested in being in the child’s life, or detrimental to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional development. Learn more about pursuing a stepparent adoption in Illinois, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can help to ease the process for your family. 

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Posted on in Adoption

Wheaton adoption attorneysAdoption is one of the most rewarding decisions that a person can make. Of course, that single decision soon becomes just one of many. Some of the decisions you have to make will be fun or simple: coming up with a theme for the nursery, figuring out where the child will go to school, etc. Others will be more complex, and some might even feel like taxing, multilayered decisions, such as knowing if you are comfortable with the child knowing his or her birth parents. 

You must also decide when and how you would like to adopt, as there are several avenues that one can pursue on this journey. Some prospective parents choose to adopt through an agency, while others decide to go through the state. There are those who would prefer an international adoption and others that would rather adopt a child in foster care. Whatever your path, know that you do not have to travel it alone. The following information, along with the assistance of a seasoned family law attorney, can make all the difference in the weeks and months ahead. 

Why Hire an Attorney Now? 

Adopting parents often wait until legal proceedings to hire an attorney, but this decision can negatively impact your situation. First, you must research the adoption process in your state and hope you are given accurate information. Then you must decide which adoption path to pursue, perhaps without fully understanding the potential benefits and challenges to expect from each option. You might even find yourself going through unnecessary heartache if a birth mother changes her mind and you were not fully prepared for the possibility. 

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Illinois adoption lawyersThe lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) community has experienced some major victories in the past few years, including the requirement that all states allow and recognize same-sex marriages. Their most recent win came when Congress rejected a discriminatory amendment that would have negatively impacted their ability to adopt a child. Sadly, the very presence of that amendment proves that the battle for equality is still far from over. Learn how you can protect your rights as an adopting LGBTQ parent, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can assist you with the process. 

Addition and Rejection of Discriminatory Amendment - What it All Means

Discrimination is far from a new experience for members of the LGBTQ community, but when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could no longer ban same-sex marriages, many hoped the worst would be over. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. In fact, an alarming number of LGBTQ couples have been denied the right to end their marriage in divorce. Even when successful in obtaining a divorce, parties may be at risk of losing their parental rights to a child if they did not establish legal guardianship during their marriage. A total of 10 states also have laws with language that is similar to the recently rejected amendment. 

Added to an appropriations package for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Defense, the amendment would have allowed state workers to deny foster placements and adoptions to persons that identify as LGBTQ, even if they passed all other requirements. In short, the decision to deny them as adoptive or foster parents would have been based solely on their sexual orientation or identity, even if state laws did not reflect the same level of discrimination. 

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Wheaton adoption lawyersWhile growing your family through adoption can be a positive and exciting life experience, there are many hurdles and obstacles that prospective parents must overcome. Some are exceedingly difficult to navigate on your own. As such, it is highly recommended that adopting families hire an attorney during the process. Learn more about why in the following sections. 

Adoptive and Birth Parents Have More Control Over the Process

Although adoption agencies are a wonderful resource for prospective parents, they tend to pair birth and adoptive parents based on an algorithm, or what they call “the best match.” Sadly, these matches are not always “the best” for the involved parties. There could be issues that you were not made privy to, or you may find that your personalities are incompatible. Unfortunately, you may have little to no other options if you go strictly through the agency. An attorney can serve as a mediator and assist with the decision process, which could allow you to have more control over who the prospective birth parents will be. Your attorney can also help to ensure the birth parents understand the legalities of their choice, which may give them more confidence as they move forward through the process. 

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Illinois adoption lawyersAlthough adoption is usually a positive experience for families, it can take an emotional toll on the prospective parents. Sadly, few are aware of the challenges that they are likely to face, and so they may not be fully prepared for the process. Learn more in the following sections, including where you can find support during the adoption process. 

Understanding the Challenges of Adoption

Adoption, in and of itself, can be a stressful process. There are many forms to complete, and parents often worry whether they will be considered a “suitable” parent by the adoption agency. In addition, there may be challenges that are specific to the type of adoption that a parent is pursuing. For example, a mother may change her mind in an infant adoption, and the prospective parents may have to start the process over - and that can be painful if they have developed an attachment to the child. 

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Illinois adoption lawyersFamilies choose adoption for a variety of reasons. Whatever your family’s reasons may be, it is critical that you take the time to adequately prepare for the mental and emotional toll it can have on all involved parties. Learn more in the following sections, including how the aid of a seasoned family law attorney can help ease the process and improve the overall outcome. 

Educate Yourself on the Process

Prospective parents are not always prepared for the mentally and emotionally taxing adoption process, which often exacerbates matters even further. Thankfully, the risk of excessive and unnecessary stress can be reduced if prospective parents take the time to familiarize themselves with the adoption process, as well as any potential obstacles that may arise (i.e. a birth mother changing her mind). Parties are also encouraged to research the various types of adoption (i.e. foster adoption, international adoption, closed adoption, etc.) and the associated costs and requirements to help them in determining which avenue may be most suitable for their situation.

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DuPage County stepparent adoption lawyersAmerican families look quite different today than they did just a few short decades ago. In fact, recent studies have determined that approximately half of all families are blended, meaning there may be step-parents, step- or half-siblings, or any combination of the three. Some of these blended families co-parent with the biological parent (and perhaps the biological parent’s partner), but others find that a stepparent adoption is more appropriate for their situation. Learn more about the process, including how to determine if this may be an option for your family, and discover what an experienced attorney can do to help in the following sections.

Is Stepparent Adoption a Viable Option for Your Family?

Illinois state law does not allow a child to have three legal parents, so stepparent adoption may not be appropriate in every situation. Typically, they are reserved for situations in which one of the biological parents is deemed unfit or unsafe, but a stepparent adoption can also be pursued if the biological parent is uninterested in maintaining a relationship with the child. In the latter situation, parents and adopting step-parents must understand that consent—usually from the biological parent that would be relinquishing or losing their rights, but also sometimes the child, depending on the circumstances—is a critical element in stepparent adoption cases.

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Wheaton adoption attorneysWith more than 1.3 million employees nationwide, Walmart is America’s largest employer. In the past, it has been criticized for its lack of benefits, but the company has started to respond to the concerns, needs, and desires of its employees. Raising its hourly wage to $11 an hour was just a start; they have also added more benefits for parents – including those who are considering adoption. Learn more, including how an experienced attorney can help you successfully navigate your way through the complex and nuanced process of adoption.

Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave

Although some Walmart employees may be covered for maternity or paternity leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), their time away from work under this program is unpaid. To obtain compensation, new parents would have to request maternity or paternity leave. Starting in February, the company will extend the amount of time that parents can request – going from eight weeks of paid maternity leave to ten and two weeks of paternity leave to six. It is not clear if the company will continue to compensate full-time employees at a half-time rate when the changes go into effect, or if they will be able to also receive the full compensation benefit as salaried employees.

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DuPage County adoption attorneysThere are many ways to start or grow a family. Adoption, though often a complex process, can also be extremely rewarding. Learn more about which adoption options may be available to you, and discover how an experienced family law attorney can assist you and your family through the process with less stress and more time for your growing family.

Foster Child Adoption

There are more than 100,000 children awaiting adoption in the U.S. foster care system. Those who are not adopted will simply terminate out of the system, with no family to call their own. If you are not against adopting an older child, perhaps one with a troubled background that needs a loving, patient, and compassionate family, foster adoption may be the appropriate path for you.

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Illinois adoption lawyersWelcoming a child into the home, either by birth or through adoption, is a joyous experience. Unfortunately, when it comes to adoption, that joy can be overshadowed by the concept of a home study. A process that requires transparency, honesty, and a willingness to work as a team, the home study ensures that a placement is safe and stable. It also helps to build a relationship between the prospective parents and adoption social worker. Learn more about preparing for the adoption home study process, and discover how an attorney can help.

The Anatomy of a Home Study

On average, it takes anywhere from three to six months to complete the home study process. During that time, information and several documents will be collected. Most will include:

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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County adoption attorneys, benefits of second adoptionA second parent adoption is a way for a non-biological parent to adopt a child while the biological parent’s rights stay intact. There are many reasons why a second parent adoption may make sense for a wide variety of families.

Second Parent Adoptions

When most people think about adoptions they think about a traditional adoption scenario where the biological parent or parents give up all rights to the child and another person or couple are given parental rights. A second parent adoption is a very different scenario. With a second parent adoption, a biological parent keeps his or her parental rights and the “second” parent is also given parental rights through the adoption process. At the end of the process, another person has all the rights and responsibilities that come with being the legal parent of the child.

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adoption birth parentsAdoption can be extremely positive for all parties involved in the process, from the adoptive parents seeking to add a child to their family, to the child looking for a permanent home. While the situation may be most emotional for the birth parents, adoption can also ultimately be a positive thing for them, too, particularly in cases where they are not capable or equipped to care for the child. Likely recognizing the positions of the these different parties, Illinois law generally provides for the protection of all parties involved in the adoption process.

Rights of Birth Parents

Birth parents who decide to place their child up for adoption in the state of Illinois have certain rights about which they should be aware. Birth parents can go through the process with either an adoption agency or a licensed Illinois attorney who represents them in the case. Attorneys are generally used in private adoptions in the state. It is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney when going through a legal process to ensure wishes are being met.

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Posted on in Child Custody

safe haven lawsMany people across the country take advantage of the adoption process to fulfill their dreams of having a family or to complete their family. Families in Illinois are certainly no exception. In light of this, there are a number of laws in place in the state regarding not only the adoption process, but also laws relevant to related situations and occurrences. Some of these laws may be well known, while others seemingly are not.

Safe Haven Law

According to a recent news article, events that have unfolded in Illinois over the last couple of weeks have alerted officials to problems with the state’s safe haven law. Mainly, the issue is that not enough people are aware of it. This became evident, in part, by the apparent abandonment over Labor Day Weekend of a newborn in a dumpster in Jacksonville.

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Posted on in Child Custody

adoption, Illinois family lawyer, DuPage County adoption attorney, childrenThere are many people who dream their entire lives of becoming parents. For those who are not able to have their own biological children, this dream might never become a reality if it was not for the option to adopt. Others may choose to adopt outright and provide a loving home to a child in need. Whatever the motivation, adoption is a noble cause that can prove to be a fulfilling life decision for all of those involved.

Questions About Adoption

Many who consider adoption likely have a variety of questions and concerns about the adoption process. While it is advisable to discuss specific situations with a licensed attorney, here are some common questions asked by many prospective adoptive parents, taken from the National Adoption Center website:

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birth record, birth certificate, adoption, adoptee, your rights, illinois adoption lawyer, DuPage County adoptionThe adoption process is different for almost everyone, parents and children included. While some adoptees may never wish to find out more information regarding their birth parents, others are eager to connect on some level with their biological family. As a recent news article reported, the Illinois law giving adoptees the right to view their birth records makes all the difference to the latter group.

Illinois Law

Several years ago, Illinois law changed to give adopted persons the right to view birth records including their birth certificates, documents that were previously unavailable to them, since they were sealed in connection with adoption proceedings. Those adoptees are voicing their appreciation for the law change this week in Springfield. Their appearance also serves another purpose: to encourage states who have not changed their laws in viewing such documents to do so. Many plan on telling their stories at the state capitol.

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International Adoption bill IMAGEThe current lawmakers in Washington DC have been historically slow in creating new laws.  There has been too much conflict between the liberals and conservatives on the hill.  But a new law that has been proposed looks to unite both sides of the aisle with an issue that is beyond politics.  That bill is called the Children in Families First or CHIFF Act. The bill was introduced by State Representatives Kay Granger(R-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA).  Granger said that “every child deserves a family. Parents looking to adopt internationally are already at the mercy of complicated adoption bureaucracies abroad.  They shouldn’t have to deal with similar costs and delays here at home.  Without increasing spending, the Children in Families First Act helps loving families navigate the adoption process and welcome new additions to their homes.” Overall, foreign adoptions have declined over the years. Almost 23,000 children were adopted internationally in 2004.  That decreased steadily to below 9,000 in 2012.  There are certain reasons for the decrease as some countries do not allow children to be adopted by Americans. In other countries, the rate of domestic adoptions has increased which also means that fewer children are able to be adopted by Americans. One of the proposed results of this bill is the creation of a new bureau in the State Department whose would work with other countries to place children with families.  This would be accomplished with adoption, or family reunification or kinship care. Instead of allowing children to languish without the love of a family, CHIFF hopes to support an increase in international adoptions.  There are plenty of children that need loving families.  If you have decided that your family is prepared to love a child in need, then you should contact a family law professional who has experience in this process.  Contact a knowledgeable family law attorney in DuPage County who can help you add more love to your family.

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